How should you handle your DWI on a job application?

While filling out a job application, you get to the question about your criminal past. You received a DWI recently, so how do you handle this question without ruining your chances of getting a job?

Chron offers tips on discussing DWI charges on a job application. Learn how to navigate your criminal charge with grace and honesty.

Speak the truth

Do not lie about your encounter with North Carolina law enforcement. If the company runs a background check on you, they may find out about your DWI no matter if you admit to it. An employer may not care much about the charge, but they may hesitate to work with a dishonest person. Everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes are more public and easily accessible than others, so do not shy away from the truth.

Wait before revealing your charge

Only reveal your DUI if an employer or application specifically asks about it. That means leaving it off your cover letter, not bringing it up unprompted during phone interviews and not speaking on it during interviews. Wait until you receive a job offer to reveal your unfortunate encounter with law enforcement. That way, you have the chance to forge a connection with the hiring manager and demonstrate the skills and qualifications that make you an ideal candidate.

Break down what happened

When the time comes to discuss your charge, explain the circumstances that led to your DWI. Perhaps mental health struggles or a heart-shattering breakup led to your charge. No matter the circumstance, describe how you changed and what you learned since your arrest. Turning a bad situation into a learning opportunity could be what the company wants in an employee.

Having a DWI does not always immediately disqualify you from a job. Do not dismiss yourself or the professional abilities you have to offer.