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Don’t Let Credit Card Debt Ruin Your Job Search

Published February 5, 2014

credit checks during a job searchDid you know that having bad credit can put a damper on your job search? Whether you realize it or not, a negative credit report can determine if you’re approved for a credit card, home mortgage or even an auto loan. What’s more, your credit report can also have a direct impact on your chances of landing a job.

What Is A Credit Report?

A credit report documents your credit history. In addition to influencing your approval for various credit cards, loans or mortgages, a credit report can also influence your interest rates and insurance premiums. A credit report shows:

• Your payment history
• Your account’s payment terms
• Current and past credit accounts
• Your credit limit and how much credit you have available
• Any outstanding debt

Why Your Credit Report Is So Important

A credit report can help give lenders and potential employers a better indication of how responsible you are and how you handle your personal finances. If you are consistently making late payments or aren’t making payments at all, then you may be viewed as a red flag–especially if the job you’re applying to deals with a company’s assets.

However, a potential employer needs written authorization before a credit report can be performed, and while you have the option to refuse, doing so could be viewed negatively. That’s why it’s important you know what’s on your credit report before you start interviewing.

Make Sure Your Credit Report Is Accurate

Before you begin your job search, make sure your credit report is correct. You have the right to request one free credit report per year from any or all of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Since creditors sometimes report your credit transactions to one bureau and not the others, your credit information may be different for each bureau.

Be sure to check your report in detail to make sure there are no mistakes, as you have the ability to question and potentially remove any false information. Unfortunately, errors do happen. In fact, a 2004 report by the Public Interest Research Group found that 79% of the consumer credit reports had at least one major error or mistake, making it all the more important to take advantage of your free credit reports to make sure everything is accurate and up to date.

How To Get Started

While this may sound like a daunting task, knowing what’s on your credit report and finding ways to improve it will not only help your credit, it will help improve your job search. So, before you apply for your next job, take a minute to review some important credit management tips, and find out how much you can save by analyzing your own debt.

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