Should I include my criminal record on my CV?




We’re often asked, “should I include details of my criminal record on my CV?” The short answer to this question is, “no”.

There is no reason for you to include details of your criminal record on a CV. As you’re probably already aware, your CV is your personal sales tool used to promote your skills and experience, therefore, including negative information on a CV would reduce your chances of progression.

When applying for a job, the advert will usually have a clear stance in relation to an applicant’s criminal record – especially during these times of “high security”. In addition, many jobs will perform a criminal records check via the CRB. You may also be asked to pay for this.

Never lie about your criminal record when asked about it! Recruiters will be able to find out the truth, and this will result in your application being binned. If you were accepted for a job having lied about your criminal record, you’ll inevitably be fired…or worse.

If you’re looking for a second chance following a period in prison, try applying for positions where your past isn’t going to be frowned upon as much. Having a criminal record shouldn’t be an issue to the recruiter unless it can be classed as “dangerous” for the type of role you’re applying for. There are 3 levels of criminal background checks.

If you lost your last job or have been out of employment following a spell in prison, a functional CV could come in handy. This will allow you to create your CV with focus on your skills, rather than detailing your career in reverse chronological order – “hiding” any recent gaps. If your incarceration happened a long time ago and left you with a gap in employment, you may be able to leave it out altogether.

Frequently asked questions:

I was recently arrested; do I need to mention this during the application process?

No. Being arrested and being found guilty are 2 different issues and minor offences are normally not taken into consideration.

I have recently been accepted for a new job and my criminal record has never been mentioned. Is that it now, can I just keep it quiet?

As long as you haven’t lied during the recruitment process then there is no reason for you to bring it up. However, if you have a criminal record, an employer has a legal right to enquire about it and there is a chance you may be confronted. However, as we’ve already stated, unless you lied, there is nothing to worry about.

Whilst in prison, I took the opportunity to better myself…can I mention this?

Of course! To help fill the gap in your CV, use a “Professional Development” section to show details of any courses / qualifications you completed. Also include details of any voluntary work – these are all skills that can help develop your CV and demonstrate to the recruiter that you’re determined to progress.

I’ve recently been in prison and don’t believe I’ll get a job!

To prevent ex-offenders turn back to crime, companies often provide chances for people to get back into work. As long as you can demonstrate to the recruiter that you’ve “grown” as a person, you should eventually be handed an opportunity.

What are my rights in relation to the CRB checks?

You have the right to refuse a check, however, this will often lead to your job application being declined. You can also request to see a copy of your criminal record.

My son was recently given a final warning from the Police – should this be mentioned on the application form? Also, he’s only 17, has left school and is finding it hard to get a job.

Unless it’s specifically mentioned, he won’t need to mention the warning. Has he considered looking for an apprenticeship – it’s an ideal way to gain experience and qualifications while getting paid!


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