In today’s economic climate, lay-offs continue to swell the ranks of the unemployed, and those already unemployed face increasing competition for fewer jobs. If you have bad credit, you are particularly disadvantaged as about 40 percent of prospective employers are performing credit checks as part of checking out the background of job candidates.
If you have bad credit, it is still possible to secure a position, but you need to be a bit more proactive about how you go about applying for a job. Here are a few tips that can help people with poor credit overcome the stigma of bad credit when applying for a job:
1. Know which employers are more likely to require credit checks. Government organizations, both local and federal, carefully scrutinize applicants’ credit reports before making decisions. Likewise, non-profit groups and other businesses that work with or are tied to the government are more likely to check your credit history. If you’ve had significant financial troubles in recent times, you’ll have more luck applying elsewhere. Also, be aware that most financially-specialized companies, such as accounting agencies or brokerage firms, will investigate your credit history as well.
2. Know which companies are less likely to check your credit history. Many small or locally run businesses don’t have the time or the resources to screen applicants, and they may not have as many people contending for positions either. If they do check applicants’ credit reports, they will most likely target those applying for mid-level management and above.
3. Know which positions usually warrant a review. While some companies may not require credit checks for all new employees, people applying for positions which involves handling money in any way, shape, or form can expect to have their credit checked.
4. Be upfront about your credit history. If you have bad credit but still want to apply with a company that is likely to check your credit report, take steps to minimize the damage. Be the first to bring up the concern. If you address your bad credit before the prospective employer checks out your credit report, it shows that you are honest and proactive—two important character traits employers always look for. Employers are not as concerned about your past credit behavior as they are about your personal integrity. If you are able to demonstrate that your bad credit is not a sign of dishonesty or lack of integrity, but due to circumstances beyond your control, it will go a long way to counteract any bad impression that a poor credit history would otherwise create.
5. Explain how you are taking care of the situation. Describe the steps you are taking to deal with your debt. Also, if extenuating circumstances, such as medical expenses or long-term unemployment played a part in your financial troubles, let your prospective employer know. Many people understand that bad things happen to good people.
6. Show how qualified you are for the position. Your credit history doesn’t really reflect on your ability to perform well on the job. By giving a strong interview and illustrating how perfectly your strengths line up with job requirements, you may be able to convince a potential employer to look past poor credit.
7. Use networking and recommendations to your advantage. A vote of confidence from a reliable source can score you a job that otherwise may be out of reach. Personal recommendations are likely to sway an employer’s opinion and can compensate for a dissuasive credit history.