Is Your Credit Making it Harder For You To Get a Job?

It’s finally here. The time you have been working toward for so long - your college graduation. While you may be proudly wearing your cap and gown, you can’t help but feel worried and afraid about the future.

If you are like many recent college graduates, you may not have landed that first real job yet, and you’re beginning to feel the pressure. Is it your resume? Your work experience? Did you ever think it could be that credit card payment you’ve been blowing off?  Fact is: it could be.

Some Americans are finding it difficult to get a job due to the information in their credit reports. A recent news article suggests that many of Americans were required to go through a credit check when applying for a new job. Of those who did, about 10% were denied the job because of what was found in their credit history.

By the time a potential employer runs a credit check on you, they typically want to hire you. Some companies, as a policy, routinely run credit checks (as well as drug tests, criminal background checks, employment, education and reference checks) on all prospective employees as a standard practice.

Companies simply want to get the big picture on how you handle your personal finances, and will be looking at your debt ratio and ability to live within your means. A job candidate for a position that handles the finances at a company and who has a high personal debt-to-income ratio may be a red flag to an employer.  This person might be a higher risk for embezzlement or fraud.

Here are a few steps that you can take to minimize any damage an employer might find in your credit information:
·         Check your credit report - If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to check your credit report. To be sure your data is consistent and correct, check your information at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
·         Address credit issues - If you find any errors on your credit report (such as accounts opened in your name you don’t recognize, or incorrect historical address information, employers, etc), you will want to address those immediately and contact the bureaus to correct the issues.
·         Pay off your balances - If you have small balances on credit lines that you can pay off, do so.
·         Pay you credit card bill monthly - Pay as much as you can on your credit cards each month (paying more than the minimum balance if you can).

Getting your credit score back on track will not be an overnight task, but it will be well worth the time and effort. You should be thinking about your credit score far in advance in case you ever need to switch jobs. Employers will pull your credit history so you want to make sure it is in tip top shape!