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Disclosing a criminal record

You do not need to disclose anything to a potential employer until they ask. Some employers wait until making a job offer before asking, whereas others will have a tick box on their application forms.

The only exception to this is when the work involves contact with disabled, elderly, mentally ill people or under 18s. The same applies to certain professions including lawyers, teachers, medics, nurses and social workers. In these cases you must disclose any convictions even if they are ‘spent’.

Often, you will be asked to apply for a job with a CV and covering letter. Submitting a CV gives you an opportunity to sell yourself by writing about your experience, knowledge and skills and why you are the best person for the job.

Top tips

  • Don’t mention convictions on your CV, save this for your cover letter or application.
  • If you spent time in prison, this gap in employment on your CV could be simply presented as ‘unavailable for work’. You will need to be prepared to answer questions about this in an interview.
  • It is advisable to put everything in writing so you have evidence that you disclosed your criminal record.
  • When asked, it is crucial that you are honest but also try to be as positive as possible.
  • Employers want enthusiastic and positive employees, so concentrate on achievement and skill.
  • Market yourself positively by familiarizing yourself with the job description and person specification.
  • Don't assume the employer will have a negative attitude but they may need reassuring that you do not present a risk to yourself or others.

Useful links

Nacro - a charity which provides advice, training and support.

Target Jobs – Within their careers advice section, they have information related to equality & diversity.

Prospects – Provide careers advice and job and course opportunities to students and graduates.  This includes advice on writing CVs, cover letters and applications.

CareerBox – The self-promotion section contains a wealth of useful information related to cover letters as well as equality & diversity.

Unlock - Unlock is an independent, award-winning charity for people with convictions.





Page last updated on Wednesday 17 August 2016 at 3.09pm.


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