So, if you’re like me, and have a felony on your record, you’re probably noticing that employers are not as willing to see you and work with you. Half the time you can almost watch them as they review the application, see a note about your record and promptly chuck it into the trash can.
Well, maybe not quite that way, but it certainly feels that way. However, there is a shred of hope for us, especially if you’re also like me and have been behaving and staying out of trouble with the court system, you might have a chance at earning something called a Certificate of Good Conduct. Now, I know for sure that Illinois has this available, you may have to search for your state information to be entirely certain for your situation. The legal beagles like to have variations on things between states as many people can testify.
In Illinois, if you have just a single felony and have been behaved for at least 3 years (along with a couple other requirements that are dependent on the type of conviction), you qualify to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. Now, what this certificate does is take away liability from the hiring company for hiring someone with a record. It won’t erase your record, but it will help people see that you’ve turned a new leaf, taken a new path, and generally have played nicely with society for a while. This helps give employers a reason to hire you and it helps protect them.
For my Certificate of Good Conduct, I took myself to the doctor and ordered a drug test on myself (The receptionist was rather confused at first, but was happy to schedule it for me). Then I got a copy of my criminal record, available at the local courthouse (and state police, or federal records can work as well, I’m sure). With these papers combined, along with the filing papers for the application for Certificate of Good Conduct, I got myself a court date.
I actually had a major advantage with the court, as no one in my county had ever attempted to earn this certificate before to the judge’s recollection, and I knew more about the Certificate than they did (Didn’t stop them from having a mini-conference about it and checking their law books). They didn’t even have a nice official paper that looks like a degree and portrays what the Certificate is. I only managed to get an updated note on my court file, but I print it out for consideration when I need to prove to an employer that I have it.
Best part is, this is only one of the possible ways to get a leg-up in the employment world. There is far more to come, and I look forward to sharing it with you!