Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Job hunting-have you reviewed your credit report lately?


Nan Jensen, Family and Consumer Sciences

What does your credit history have to do with your chances of landing a job? More than you would expect, especially in these tough economic times. With unemployment at an all time high, the job competition is very stiff. In this “employer’s market”, many companies are able to take their time and evaluate job candidates with increasing scrutiny. Some companies are basing their search for the right candidates not only on resumes and qualifications but may also be reviewing the credit reports of those potential hires.
There are some stipulations though. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that an employer must get your permission to look at your credit report. If you don’t get a job because of information in your report, the employer must show you the report and tell you how to get a copy from the consumer reporting company. There is no charge for the report if you request it within 60 days of getting notice that you did not get the job
Since your credit report is a map of your financial history and how you handle finances, some employers view it as an indicator of how well you may handle your job responsibilities. Perhaps you have defaulted on a loan or have unpaid credit accounts. These situations may raise a red flag. If a potential employer asks you to sign paperwork allowing them to review your credit report you may want to discuss any negative information that may be on the report. If you have been unemployed for a long period of time, and unable to pay bills because of reduced income, employers may empathize with you. As long as you are up front and honest about your history, you still have a shot at getting the job.
Request a copy of your credit report. By thoroughly reviewing your report you can identify any problem areas or errors that may be negatively affecting your credit score. The FCRA requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. You can order your free annual credit report online at, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Also view the free presentation on credit reports and scores at the link below.


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Company and product listings do not represent endorsement by either: Pinellas County Extension, Pinellas County or the University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.