For millions of people, a background check is a significant barrier to employment. Though at first thought, it’s easy to empathize with employers who immediately discard anyone with a criminal record or run-in with the law, it’s become a serious and spreading problem for people who are simply trying to get back into the workforce. Many times, background checks aren’t even accurate — and they can lead to missed job opportunities for otherwise deserving candidates.
The worst part? The companies that provide background checks to employers have little or no incentive to make sure they’re providing accurate documents. Some people are fighting hard to expose this, but even right now, people remain jobless through no fault of their own. This is why we’ve seen some policymakers take action — like when the Obama administration “blocked the box” on federal job applications, in order to make it easier for the formerly incarcerated to get jobs.
But let’s say you do have a criminal record and are having a tough time getting a job. The truth is, there are certain jobs you’ll likely never get. Depending on the nature of your past crimes or convictions, and the laws in your specific area, you may be barred completely from holding certain jobs. As unfair or disheartening as it may be, if you have a spotty background, you may be better off looking at alternate career paths.
Here are seven jobs you’ll probably never get with a criminal record.
While there are plenty of teachers out there who have made mistakes, a serious conviction — particularly a violent one — is likely going to bar you from just about every school system out there. A criminal record can mean hang-ups as you try to get a teaching license. Even if you get that far, making it through the interview and screening process with a spotty background can be a Herculean task, though not impossible.
2. Child care
As with teaching, people are not going to be happy if they find out someone with prior convictions or a criminal background is watching their children. For that reason, don’t expect your interviews at day cares or child care centers to go well, particularly when the topic of your background or record comes up. An employer has little incentive to hire you, and for that reason, will probably move on to the next candidate.
3. Health care
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be barred from certain jobs or career paths in the health care field if you’ve been convicted of certain crimes. Working in healthcare exposes and gives you access to all kinds of private data and information, as well as drugs and pharmaceuticals. For those reasons, those jobs likely won’t go to people with a complicated history.
4. Law enforcement
You rarely, if ever, hear about one-time criminals flipping to the other side to build successful careers. It happens in the movies, sure. But if you want to get into law enforcement at any level — be it a city, state, or federal agency or department — you’re going to need a squeaky-clean record.
Just like in the health care field, if you have certain priors, you can give up your dream of becoming the next Bud Fox. Any crimes related to theft, fraud, or anything else that has to do with money will probably get your resume tossed by employers in the financial industry. You could make the argument that Wall Street is rife with these guys, but if you’re trying to get your foot in the door with a criminal background? You’re likely out of luck.
Depending on the nature of your past convictions, you can be barred from working certain retail jobs. For example, in some places, people can be disqualified from jobs that require selling alcohol, pharmaceuticals, or guns. There are a lot of factors that can lead to an employment decision in the retail sector, and given that the positions are typically competitive, a criminal record won’t help vault you above other candidates.
This is a very broad category, and for good reason. You’ll have a tough time getting a government gig with a felony on your record, and that includes working for a federal agency or even getting into elected office. Government jobs usually include a tough screening process. If a felony or other serious crime pops up as your application is being screened, you can bet you’ll be cast aside in favor of another candidate. Taxpayers don’t like to find out they’re paying ex-cons, even if the particulars remain a mystery.