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Give Yourself a Voice in the Hiring Process with a Statement of Facts

Give Yourself a Voice in the Hiring Process with a Statement of Facts

Even if you have done everything you can to turn your life around after being convicted of a crime – even a relatively minor offense – it can be very difficult to get a job, because whether it is fair or not that criminal record will often hold you back.

In ‘the old days’ it was a common practice for job applicants with a criminal record to ‘take a chance’ and lie on their application form, as they were fairly secure in the knowledge that they would not be found out. Times, however, have changed, and with approximately 80% of employers now conducting formal background checks before making a hire such tactics are no longer an option. And it was never a good idea anyway because were the applicant found to have lied after they were hired, then that lie was certainly grounds for dismissal.

So what is the answer? Anyone with a criminal record has likely experienced rejection because of their criminal record, no matter how much they have changed or how qualified they are for the position they apply. While there is no guarantee it will work every time is one effective way to address the situation is with a well-prepared statement of facts, or SOF as it is often called.

What is a Statement of Facts?

No doubt whenever you apply for a job you include a cover letter along with your resume. It’s standard practice to do so and even in the age of email and Internet-based applications that’s still the case.

In that cover letter, you no doubt highlight all the things that make you especially suited for the job, and offer a short and concise ‘argument’ for hiring you versus other candidates. A Statement of Facts does a similar thing and is used in a similar way.

The difference between a standard cover letter and an SOF is that it offers an honest and accurate accounting of the crime that the prospective employer is inevitably going to discover as a part of a background check. That background check will only reveal the record, not the story behind it or your behavior since. A Statement of Facts gives you the chance to do that, giving you a voice in the hiring process that you really never had before.

What Makes for an Effective Statement of Facts?

When explaining your criminal past it is easy to get a little carried away and sound resentful and angry, which you very well may be. Losing a chance to secure a great job just because of something that happened twenty years ago is not fair, but it’s also often the reality of the situation.

To be effective, an SOF needs to be concise and well-written, presenting the facts in a positive light while also highlighting the reasons why you would make the best hire. This, for many people, will call for the services of a professional, someone who is experienced in creating these kinds of statements. It’s an extra expense sure, but one that is well worth making, and will certainly be more effective in helping you get the job you want than a fancy colored resume, an expensive new interview outfit or one of the many other ‘tricks’ job applicants are often advised to use today.

Reasons Why Any Well-Prepared Job Hunter Should Run a ‘Self Background Check’

Reasons why any well prepared Job hunter should run a Self background Check

According to a number of research studies, most employers ‘Google check’ applicants they interview these days. So, you know the drill. Before applying for a job, because social media is everywhere – including in Google search results, you should take a few minutes to clean up your Facebook profile (or better still make it private) delete that slightly misguided late-night Twitter post and make sure that your Linkedin profile matches your resume so that when an employer Googles your name they won’t be shocked or disappointed.

If only it were that easy though. Googling names is something employers do at the early stages of the interview process. Once they have decided upon their ‘final five’ (or whatever number they choose) 80% will then order a formal background check.

While most job seekers spend hours polishing their resumes and a small fortune on just the right ‘interview outfit’ most don’t give too much thought to what might come up on a background check. But what you don’t know can hurt you, or, more specifically, your chances of getting the job you want.

Do You Have a Broken Record?

Did you know that one in four American adults have a conviction or arrest record in their past? Or that almost all employers will decide not to offer a position to a candidate with a felony on their record, even a relatively minor, non-violent one? It’s often very unfair, as the person in question has often made serious efforts to get their life back on track, but the fact is that less than half of US employers will give a candidate a chance to explain that.

Then there are arrest records. Maybe you were arrested but never convicted. Many corporate background checks only list the arrest, not the outcome of the case. The problem here is that many job seekers forget those arrests (they may be decades old) but unlike your credit report, where bad things ‘fall off’ after seven years, your criminal history is there for good, unless you take active steps to change that.

And speaking of credit reports, most of us know that those can be inaccurate. The same holds true of background checks. Even the criminal records held in the closest thing the US has to a national ‘crime database’ – the FBI Criminal Database – can, and often do contain inaccuracies. That’s because those reports are created using records pulled from thousands of sources across the US, and when you are dealing with numbers that big, even the FBI makes mistakes.

So, even if you think your record is squeaky clean, there’s a chance it might not be. Here’s an example to consider. You have lived in Florida most of your life. Your name is Sam Smith. Did you know that, according to National Geographic survey Smith is the most common surname in the Sunshine State? And with over 125,000 adult Smiths, there are going to be lots of Sam’s in there too. So, becoming a ‘victim’ of mistaken identity is more likely than you might imagine as well.

With all of this in mind, what can you do, except hope that an employer does not run a background check (which they almost certainly will) Run one yourself, on yourself, before you start applying for jobs. With the right help getting a copy of your own criminal record report from the FBI is simpler than you think.

Once you have that record, you do have a chance to begin to control the narrative. You can talk to a lawyer about getting a conviction or arrest record expunged. If that’s not possible you can at least be prepared with a formal statement that you can present to a prospective employer that explains the record. And if there is information on your FBI criminal record that does not even pertain to you, you can take steps to get that mistake rectified.

But you can’t do any of this until you know what is ‘on file’ about you. So, as wacky as it might sound, running a ‘self-background check’ is simply common sense. And a great way to help ensure that you have the best possible chance of getting the job you want.

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