It's important to think about when and how to tell employers about your criminal conviction, and if you have a disability.
Some of your most important decisions will be about how and when to tell people about your criminal conviction. If you have a disability, you also need to decide if you want to share that with employers.
Telling a potential employer about your disability or criminal conviction is called disclosure.
The rules for disclosing a criminal conviction are very different than the rules for disclosing a disability. However, two things are the same:
|You can choose if you want to disclose your health status to employers. If you talk to the employer about your disability, then you can ask for reasonable accommodations to help you on the job.||When asked, you have to tell employers about your convictions. It is against the law for someone with a felony conviction to not disclose this information. You have to disclose convictions, not arrests.|
|If you decide to disclose your disability, it is better to do it yourself than to have your job coach do it. Take the time to explain clearly, focus on what you can do, and help an employer see your abilities, not your disabilities. If you are comfortable with the discussion, the employer will be, too.||It is better that you disclose your conviction than to have your job coach do it. You can show your employer that you are sincere, honest and committed to the job. If you are comfortable with the discussion, the employer will be, too.|
|If you choose to disclose your disability, your employer can only ask how your disability relates to the job. You don't have to name your illness or
||Don't over-explain your past in a job interview. Even when you are required to disclose your criminal conviction, you do not have to provide the details of the
|After you disclose your disability, move the conversation or interview back to why you are a good candidate for the job. Share your strengths and abilities. Talk about your experience and training. Show that you have a plan for the future.||Don't let your disclosure be the main topic of the interview. After you disclose your criminal conviction, move the interview back to why you are a good candidate for the job. Share your strengths and abilities. Talk about your experience and training. Show that you have a plan for the future.|
|Be positive about your abilities. Say, "I work very well on a computer that has screen-reading software installed." Don't say, "I can't operate a computer without screen reading software."||Be confident about your present and future. Say, "In the past, I made some poor decisions. I understand why, and I know how to keep it from happening again." Don't say, "I committed robbery and was convicted of a felony."|
|When you practice interviewing, talk about your disability and your need for accommodations.||Practice talking about your criminal conviction in mock interviews.|
|Decide if you need special accommodations for the job interview or to apply for the job. For example:
Looking for work and talking with employers is not easy. Find a job coach at Goodwill Easter Seals, a CareerForce Location or