As someone with a felony record, the rules of job hunting are extremely different. The change starts right from the beginning. For one, resume writing for felons is a more challenging task.

Hence, take time to rewrite your resume before you start practicing for the interview.

Resume Writing for Felons – Should You Mention The Felony Record In Resume?

Mentioning your felony records in your resume is a choice. But, for the most part, encouraging ex-inmates to provide criminal records is the norm.

Most worthy companies run criminal records check on potential candidates. As several businesses ask about criminal records upfront in the check box system, hiding the detail is useless.

Lying about your records will not land you anywhere. Hence, honesty is the best policy in the situation.

Some companies do not ask about your criminal records until selection. In such companies, you have the option of not showing your track record.

Overall, the answer can change as per the organization. Hence, take the time to research every business you send your resume to.

Also, look for felon-friendly companies with a bias-free process to help improve your chance of landing a job.

Resume Writing for Felons – Information to Put

Here is all the information that you need to put in your resume.

Contact Information

Start your resume with the contact information. It includes your phone number, email id, name, address, and other details.

Feel free to be creative with the placement of the information. Keep it on the left side in rows or create two columns to save space on the page.

Opening Statement

A summary or objective is the next section of the resume. Here, you get to mention your aim and willingness to work for the organization.

Do not make it about the money. Instead, focus on experience, growth, and mutual benefits.

There are several generic objective resume statements online, but try creating one if you aim to stand out.

Work History

Here is a chance to show your work history and experience. The problem with not mentioning your jail time is a gap between the experiences.

For people who served jail time for a shorter duration of time, it is acceptable. But, the longer duration’s conviction means difficulty in explaining the gap.

Hence, it is generally better to mention the conviction.

Work history can include the skills you picked up at the prison.

Soft Skills & Technical Skills

Soft skills include your communication and other aspects that help you manage clients and colleagues.

Technical skills include your ability to work on the computer and a general understanding of technology.

Moreover, if ex-offenders apply for a technical job, their skills related to the job should be mentioned here.

Certifications and Professional Memberships

Affiliations with professional memberships can give your resume the appeal it needs for a callback.

Moreover, any certification related or unrelated to the field will add to your skills. Companies look for distinct individuals, and all your skills and certifications should find a way to your resume.

Achievements and Awards

All your achievements and accolades gathered over the years are an integral part of the resume. It shows your willingness to participate and learn.

Mention any additional work for the community and other volunteering acts as well.

Resume Writing for Felons – Other Tips for Resume

Here are some more tips for resume writing.

  • Keep the resume concise
  • Two-page resume at most if you are ahead in career, one-page is sufficient otherwise
  • Be honest about your criminal records
  • Include skills learned during the conviction
  • Use the reverse timeline if the conviction was earlier in life

These tips are the only options. Choose the ones that match your situation the best.

Resume Writing for Felons – Functional Resume

Functional resumes focus on skills rather than positions.  Fresher and recent ex-convicts can use the system to their advantage. To begin, the system is ideal for showing your potential rather than your past.

The resume type focuses on the present rather than the past. But, keep the wording in mind. Avoid negative words like ‘prison’ without being deceitful.


Talking about your conviction during the interview will offer a therapeutic experience while building trust in the employer. But before that, make a lasting first impression with these tips of resume writing for felons.

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