The job search can be stressful enough without having to worry about a DUI conviction on your record. Before you let the blemish stress you too much, remember that George W. Bush got the job as president of the United States despite a drunk driving charge in 1976. When faced with a DUI conviction, keep these four tips in mind during your job search.
1. Explore the Possibility of Expunging
A drunk driving offense shows up in two places: your criminal record and your driving record. Do some research into whether your state allows DUI convictions to be expunged from your criminal record. If it's a possibility, contact a lawyer for help with the process. Some states, such as Arizona, expunge a first-time misdemeanor offense upon successful completion of probation, while other states, including Colorado, expunge DUI records for juveniles only. In Indiana, expungement of a misdemeanor DUI offense is possible after five years, and a felony offense is available for expungement after eight to 10 years.
2. Don't Broadcast It
You don't have to advertise the fact that you have a DUI conviction. Never make mention of it on your resume or cover letter. If you're filling out a job application that asks about criminal history, pay close attention to the wording. Some potential employers ask about specific offenses. Others only ask you to disclose felonies. If this is the case and your DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, do not list it.
3. Be Honest About It
If the job application does ask you to disclose all charges, don't hide your DUI conviction. List the details. The same goes if you're asked about criminal history during your job interview. If the hiring manager mentions running a background check as the next step of the hiring process, you can preemptively mention your DUI to get ahead of it and demonstrate your honesty. Note that your criminal record has one blemish from an instance X number of years ago.
4. Reaffirm Your Skills and Strengths
Once your DUI conviction is out in the open, don't linger on the subject. Assure the hiring manager that you learned a valuable lesson from your mistake, and then move on with the rest of your interview. Emphasize the skills and qualifications you have that make you the perfect candidate for the position. Talk about past achievements that are relevant to the hiring organization to show the value you can bring and demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for the position as you respond to questions.
An average of 1.5 million people in the United States face a DUI conviction every year, so you're not alone. While the charge can complicate the job search, it's not the end of your career. These four tips can help you get through it.
Photo courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net