I’m About to Graduate, But I Have a Conviction on My Criminal Record. What Do I Do?

Graduation should be a time of celebration, a time to bask in the joy of having accomplished a major life goal. Don’t let a mistake from your youth hold you back from enjoying that moment. 

After graduating, doors of opportunity will open. Many employers will be eager to hire recent graduates. However, if you go to an employer with a conviction on the record – whether on the juvenile or adult record – the door will close quickly.

If you have an old or recent case on your record, invest in yourself by expunging or sealing the case to improve your future opportunities. Generally, when your case is expunged or sealed, you will be able to legally and confidently answer “no” when asked to disclose the case.

As you see your graduation date looming near, there are 3 integral steps to consider taking to improve your career goals:

Step #1: Clear your mind, clear your record.

Every state offers a different form of post-conviction relief. Some states have strict laws, while others are more flexible. In California, the laws are approachable when it comes to expungement services. Typically, if you complete probation and fines, your case will qualify to be expunged. 

In California, when a case is expunged, the final disposition will change from a conviction to a dismissal. In some instances, such as dropped charges, a case may alternately qualify for a record sealing in which the case will only be accessible under very limited cirumstances. 

Reach out to professionals that are experienced in the post-conviction relief field. Lifeback Legal’s founding Attorney Mr. Shea Randall has successfully granted thousands of expungements and sealings in California. Feel welcome to to call for a complimentary phone consultation at (888) 751-5329. 

Step #2: Dust off your resume.

When was the last time you looked at your resume? If you can’t remember, then that means it’s time to bring it out and get it updated.

First impressions start with how you look on paper. Simple items like font type, font size, margins, spacing, and syntax can change the way an employer perceives you as a potential candidate for the position. 

Try working with your school’s academic advisor, career development center, or a mentor. By taking advantage of these helpful school resources, you will be giving yourself a better chance in the long run by getting a second, third, or even fourth opinion on the way your resume looks.

Step #3: Network, network, network.

Sign up for your school’s calendar of events. Most schools will offer mixers or socials that will give you the chance to speak face-to-face with recruiters and learn from accomplished alumni. 

Going to a social event where you will meet potential hiring managers or recruiters is an excellent opportunity to show the company representative who you are and why you are interested in working with them.

Similar to an interview, make sure you go in with business attire and several copies of your resume. Being prepared will show the employer you are serious about achieving your career goals. 

Clearing your criminal record, updating your resume, and making a lasting impression at a social event can positively impact your ability to get the job you want after graduating. By taking care of your criminal record sooner, you can be putting your time and effort into other things that matter — enjoying your graduation!