Occasionally we have students who have felony convictions. How do they handle that on a resume? Thanks. – A college career counselor
I don’t have any experience working directly with ex-felons; however, I’ve spoken to several job placement counselors who work with them. There seem to be two schools of thought:
1. Explain the gap in employment in such a way as to conceal that the person was in prison, understanding that the conviction should be declared on the job application form. For example:
2003-present, Woodworker, State of California, Vacaville, CA
2003-2006, Student, Solano State College
(the latter representing a correspondence course)
2. Declare the actual situation in a straightforward way. For example:
2003-present, Resident, California State Prison, Vacaville, CA
or with the sense of “honorable discharge”:
2003-present (early parole), Inmate and Woodworker, California State Prison, Vacaville, CA
or with the demonstration of rehabilitation:
2003-present, Student, Solano State College while serving time at California State Prison
I don’t think there’s a universally accepted RIGHT way to do this.
Of course, if the job seeker is applying for work through an agency that openly matches ex-felons with employers, then the second option would be advised.
As an advocate for a client who’s looking for work without the help of an ex-felon agency, you may lean toward the first approach if you have a sense your client will not re-offend and you believe he or she deserves a new start.
However, as an employer, I would want to know the truth about his or her prison time BEFORE calling the person in for an interview, rather than having it sprung on me when I read the job application while the applicant is sitting outside my office waiting for the interview, or when I’m sitting face-to-face with him or her in the interview. Maybe what I’d REALLY want to know beforehand is whether the applicant had committed a violent or nonviolent crime.
Here are some sites on the topic, which I found interesting:
Ex-felons find it hard to rebuild their lives
Employed ex-felons free to succeed
Ex-felons are people too (I especially liked the comment, Not wanting to be an apologist, posted 4/23/06)
So readers, what do YOU think?