Negative information is dangerous - The purpose of your CV is to get a job interview. Your CV is not the place to confess your sins, highlight your weaknesses or even lie about yourself. Make sure your CV is future-oriented and employer-centered. Use your CV to clearly communicate to employers what it is that you can do for them. Issues concerning your criminal record are best dealt with during the job interview.
Chronological format should be avoided – The chronological CV format is not the best choice for you. This format, with its ordering of employers and dates, tends to point up the two major weaknesses of ex-offenders — limited work experience and major employment time gaps. The two ideal would be:-
• Functional CVs - this CV type is good for people with multiple jobs or a variety of skills; this is also good for changing careers or for employment histories with multiple gaps
• Combination CVs - this CV type is a mix of both functional and chronological CVs. This CV puts emphasis on your achievements and gives a job history in a reverse chronological order.
When do you want to use each of these CV types?
• Functional CV - this CV is good for listing specific skills, abilities and accomplishments gained through experience and training
• Combination CV - this CV is good for when your career was interrupted or your years of training outpace your work experience
With either type of CV, using the best one for an ex-offender should involve targeting to specific jobs or industry when applying for a position. In this way you can put more weight on your accomplishments and less on your criminal history.
Get help with your CV & job search - Unless you have strong analytical and writing skills, reach out for help from a local group(s) that functions to assist ex-offenders in writing CVs and finding jobs.
Doing volunteering or a course – These will help improve your job chances, to show employers that you have put past convictions behind you and that you moving forward. When your criminal history is discussed, you can show that you have been making efforts to not only develop yourself but also help show you have changed your life around.
Circumstances have changed - It’s worth thinking about how you could show you have changed and are moving in a more positive direction to show employers that you aren't a risk. A change in your circumstances is a good way to show you've moved on, so mention it if you've settled into family life or have other responsibilities that would mean you would have too much to lose to re-offend.
If any of these factors apply to you and your conviction(s), mentioning them to employers may make them see you in a more positive light:
• Your criminal record is very old
• You offended when very young and now have responsibilities such as a partner, a family, a house, a job
• The crime isn't relevant to the job you're applying for
• You pleaded guilty to the crime
• You committed the crime because you were going through a bad time, such as financial problems, but these are now sorted out
• The crime sounds more serious than it is
• If the circumstances in which the crime was committed makes it less serious.
• Make sure these don't sound like excuses. If you're honest and own up to things that were your fault it will show you've accepted responsibility for your actions.
Stress that you are applying for the job because you think you'll be good at it and have the right skills. Make this the main focus of your application or interview.
If you have more than one conviction, you could try to group them together rather than listing them all. For instance, if you've had more than one conviction for theft, you could say ‘I have convictions for theft, but the most recent of these is now spent'.