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Poor credit can leave you jobless

Unemployed? It may be because of your poor credit report

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Maybe you already know the drill when applying for a new job: update your resume, dry clean your suit -- and take a look at your credit report.

Compare Credit Cards for Bad CreditIf the last item on that list caught you off guard, it shouldn't have.  More   employers consider an applicant's credit history when making a hiring decision. 

As a result, it is perhaps more important than ever to avoid having bad credit.  Just as your experience and appearance likely play a role in determining whether you land that dream job, so too could your credit.   

When applying for a job, the company you interview with may have you fill out a release that authorizes them to request information on your credit history, as well as your past employment, criminal history and whether your Social Security number is valid.

Once they get a copy of your credit history, it may be looked at by various people in the organization.  When considering your history, bad credit could be a red flag to an employer.  This is especially true if the job you applied for involves working with company finances, such as in an accounting position.

Bad credit that results from careless repayment of loans or credit card debt (such as paying late or missing payments altogether) could suggest something about the type of person you are.  The company may be worried that if you failed to pay your credit card bills or make car payments on time, you will bring that same careless attitude to the workplace.

Since there is no science to making a hiring decision based on an applicant's credit history, different companies may or may not view a bad credit history as enough to consider not hiring you.  If you are lucky, you will be given the chance to explain how you plan to address your outstanding debt, so be prepared.

During the interview process, be honest about bad credit if the company asks, since if you gave them permission to do so, they have probably already seen your credit history.  Discrepancies between the various records provided to the company and what you say during an interview are likely to ruin your chances of getting the job.  

While it may be too late to make up for past financial mistakes that resulted in bad credit, it isn't too late to make sure any negative items that inaccurately appear on your credit report get deleted.  To do this, you will want to scan your credit report for any negative items that you can dispute as inaccurate.

That way, on the day of your job interview, you can walk in with both your shoes -- and your credit report -- shined up.

See related: Help for bad credit, Credit cards for people with bad credit

Published: May 18, 2007


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Updated: 12-08-2016


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