Jan 24, 2023
If you have a felony on your record, getting a job with the government may seem impossible. After all, the government surely has stringent entry requirements. You may assume that your felony automatically disqualifies you from any governmental role.
But that isn’t necessarily the case.
There are several government jobs for felons that may appeal to you. This article digs into what those jobs are and examines any challenges you may face in landing a government role.
What Jobs Can a Felon Get With the Government?
The U.S. government takes the position that it can’t automatically reject a felon’s application. As such, you can apply for any job via the government’s Office of Personnel Management.
Furthermore, most departments within the government haven’t set specific guidelines regarding hiring felons.
Unfortunately, just because you can apply doesn’t mean that you’ll land a job.
The federal government doesn’t usually accept applications from past felons for crucial administrative positions. You’re also unlikely to progress up the chain into a higher rank or position.
Instead, the government tends to hire felons for entry-level roles that don’t require sharing sensitive information.
These roles generally come with few responsibilities, meaning they’re often good for getting some work history on your resume.
It’s also unlikely that the government will hire a felon for any position that involves working with the public. Liability is the chief concern here.
For example, a felon with a violent past represents a risk to both the government and the people it interacts with.
Most governmental departments are unlikely to take that risk, meaning your role would be out of the public eye.
As for the roles you can perform, the following are good government options for felons:
-Low-level entry positions
-Transporting goods. Here other truck driving careers to consider.
-Working in a government warehouse. Check out other warehouse jobs for felons.
-Work as a clerk
Pro Tip: Any role that requires handling sensitive information is unlikely to be available to a felon. The more security concerns that apply to the position, the less likely you are to get that position.
Do You Require Security Clearance for a Government Job?
Many believe that every government role requires the applicant to obtain security clearance. This is a myth. Government jobs that don’t require you to handle sensitive information also don’t need security clearance.
However, every candidate for a government job has to complete a suitability adjustment process. This process determines if you’re suitable to work in the position for which you apply.
Think of the process as an analysis of your skills and integrity. It checks that you meet the job’s qualifications and that you’re likely to carry out your duties with efficiency, integrity, and effectiveness.
You will also have to go through a thorough background check as part of your application process.
What Is the Government Job Application Process?
Regardless of the specific role for which you apply, the application process is generally the same. You follow seven steps, which are similar to those that a regular candidate follows:
Initiate your application by visiting login.gov and creating an account. Once you’ve done so, you can use the online portal to register as a job applicant.
Check the government job openings to see what’s available. Ensure you read each role’s eligibility criteria to confirm whether it’s worth applying for the job based on your qualifications and skills.
Though you can apply for any role, you’ll waste time when applying for jobs for which your resume demonstrates you’re unqualified.
After finding an appropriate job, you move on to the application process. Submit an updated resume, along with any documents required for the position.
Always check which documents you must submit because your application is invalidated if you fail to present something the government needs.
You’ll likely have to complete a questionnaire in addition to submitting your resume.
These questionnaires vary depending on the role, though you must complete them to move your application forward. The questionnaires serve to verify your interest in the role and typically ask questions that provide details you may not cover in your resume.
After completing the questionnaire, you can submit your application. You can check the application’s status anytime by visiting your login.gov account. You’ll also receive a notification upon successful submission of an application.
Assuming the government shortlists your application, you’ll receive a call detailing the next steps in the process.
These steps usually involve a pair of interviews, the first conducted via telephone and the second in a face-to-face meeting. For the latter, make sure you wear business-casual attire to make a good first impression.
If you pass the interview, you must consent to the government running a background check. Upon passing the assessment, you receive a call from the hiring body or the U.S. Office of Public Engagement (OPE).
You’ll receive a call letter and any other documents relevant to the role.
Pro Tip: The OPE conducts background checks on all individuals who apply for government work. Don’t try to hide your felony conviction during the application process.
It will come up during this check. Furthermore, hiding your criminal record when applying for a government job is a criminal offense.
What Felonies Prevent You From Getting a Government Job?
The type of felony you committed influences your chances of landing a government job. Though most felons can apply for roles, some serious criminals have a permanent ban from ever working with the government.
Examples include felonies related to sexual offenses or murder. It’s unlikely you’ll be eligible for any government jobs if you have these sorts of felonies on your record.
You’re considered too much of a risk for exposure to governmental employees and the public.
Furthermore, the government maintains the right to refuse a felon’s application based on the nature of their conviction and the role for which they apply.
The severity of your felony also impacts your ability to get a job. For instance, somebody with a felony assault conviction may find it hard to get a job that involves working with people.
You Can Get a Government Job With a Felony
Despite the assumptions many make, it’s possible to get a government job when you have a felony on your criminal record.
However, you must complete a complicated application process and submit to a background check by the OPE. Furthermore, you’re unlikely to move beyond entry-level positions, no matter how well you perform in your role.
As a result, government work can be a great resume booster as you advance your career. Having a government job on your record post-incarceration shows that you’re willing to submit to rigorous checks.
Furthermore, it demonstrates that one of the country’s highest authorities trusted you in your duties.
You can use a government job as a form of social proof that may help when applying for more advanced roles in the future.