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Getting a Second Chance – How to Find Work as a Former Felon

Finding a stable job as an ex-felon isn’t easy, and millions of Americans are in the same boat. It might seem like an insurmountable task, but there are opportunities. You may have to be persistent and thorough in your applications, but they are out there. Many companies are willing to give those with a record a second chance.

Skip the Strict Ones

First things first, there’s no point in applying to jobs that are strict on background checks. For example, it’s unlikely someone with a criminal record will be accepted for a teaching position. Instead of wasting time applying to something unlikely to pan out, look for smaller local companies.

They’re usually less strict when it comes to hiring procedures. Additionally, search for companies that look to use the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. These companies are incentivized to hire ex-felons by receiving a tax credit of up to $2400.

Skill Related, Technical and Online Jobs

Some of the best jobs for ex-felons are those that require specialized training such as programmers or jobs in IT. You will have to invest some time learning the ropes, but even an entry-level job can pay well.

Fortunately, for most of these jobs – and particularly the online ones – criminal background is less relevant than your skills. However, you may have difficulty landing an IT job if your criminal record involves theft or computer-related crimes.

Other jobs to look out for are those that you can obtain through apprenticeships. These include being a plumber, electrician or carpenter. Some might require a couple of years of education, but others require no experience.

Offer Your Services Through Freelancing

Through sites like Fiverr or, you can use any skills you may have developed to offer services online. There are always people looking for creative and writing work as well as many other things. You likely will never have to mention your criminal background to bid or advertise on a freelancing site.

Get Help if Necessary

There are organizations that exist solely to help ex-felons get back on their feet and find a stable job. If you’re struggling to find something to pay the bills, look at the social services available in your city. There are also resources for ex-felons online, such as databases full of employers and properties that accept ex-felons.

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