Construction worker shaking hands with foreman on job site

Prepare for a fresh start

Having a criminal record can be a barrier to employment, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t real opportunities out there for you. We want you to have what you need to achieve a successful fresh start. Here is some helpful information to support your career search.

Learn what’s legal and what’s not

Minnesota law requires employers to wait to ask about a person’s criminal record until after he or she has been selected for an interview or a conditional job offer has been extended. This means you shouldn’t be asked about your criminal record on an application form. If you are asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime on an application, then that application is in violation of Minnesota law. You are asked to report such violations to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

You may also want to visit the Minnesota State Law Library to learn more about laws affecting employment of people with felony convictions. A CareerForce specialist can help you work through this important information.

Be well prepared for your interviews

During an interview, prospective employers can ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. We suggest working with a CareerForce specialist to help you prepare your response, get ready for the interview and create a path to successful employment. If you’re not able to meet with a CareerForce specialist, consider the following advice:

  • Don’t provide too many details about your crime
  • Use simple terms to describe your crime
  • Clearly point out the soft skills and technical skills you’ve learned during your rehabilitation
  • Emphasize how you’ve stayed out of trouble and are making good decisions for yourself and your family
  • Practice your responses in advance so you’re prepared with the right language and can stay on message during the interview
  • Remind the interviewer why your skills are a good match for the position
  • End the interview on a positive and enthusiastic note

Understand what’s available to employers

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with special resources available to employers who hire people with criminal records, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Federal Bonding. A CareerForce specialist can guide you through this information and show you how these resources might improve your chances of getting hired.