Finding great work is not easy in today’s environment, so it’s important to do everything you can to ensure that you’re the best candidate for every job you apply for. The first things that spring to mind are ensuring that your resume is in top shape, and that you interview well, but there’s a lot more to getting a job in the 21st century. One important detail that job-seekers tend to overlook is that their credit can have a serious affect on their ability to progress in their career.
Bad Credit Can Cost You a Job
47% of major businesses run credit checks on potential new hires. If you’re applying to one of these companies, you might be the top candidate up to that point, and still lose this opportunity just because of the credit screening process. Because of this it’s incredibly important to not only monitor, but actively manage your credit to ensure that it presents a positive message about you.
Your Credit Sends a Message To Your Potential Employer
Employers don’t know you as a person, so they collect as much information as they can, and try to build a picture out of what they find to determine if you’re an ideal candidate. The message that bad credit sends is that you may be lacking in organizational and planning skills. Moreover, poor financial health means you’re more likely to be stressed and less able to focus on your work.
These issues are only exacerbated by your lack of stable employment, but businesses don’t like to see themselves as the solution to their employees’ problems, but rather the other way around. To avoid getting stuck in this awful negative feedback cycle, it’s extremely important to avoid getting bad credit in the first place.
What Makes Bad Credit
Your credit rating goes down when you fail to make payments on outstanding debts, or if you miss another regular payment like rent or utilities. When you miss payments, the offended party will make an inquiry into your credit, which sends a message to the relevant credit agencies that you aren’t addressing your financial responsibilities. These indicators are used to determine your credit score, and the total score takes years worth of information into account. Unfortunately, a few years of perfect money management will not balance out a few months of total insolvency.
A growing threat that’s being largely ignored is the increasing amount of identity theft that’s being committed by fraudsters all over the world. These thieves can often steal personal information and take out loans in the names of their victims. Since the victims aren’t aware of these loans, they don’t make payments, and their credit score plummets. In 2016 this can have terrible consequences. Not only are victims saddled with debt that isn’t theirs, they also suffer from the consequences of bad credit.
How to Protect Your Credit
When it comes to credit monitoring services there are a lot of different options when it comes to protecting your credit, and what you should get depends on what your needs are. If you just want to periodically check to ensure that your credit is healthy, then one of the better free credit monitoring services like Credit Sesame will do that job reasonably well.
However, if you’re looking for ways to actually protect yourself from identity thieves, you’ll need something more comprehensive. Paid credit monitoring services offer a wide variety of services, including bank account monitoring, identity restoration, theft insurance, black market website monitoring, and more.
Not only do these services watch to ensure that your credit isn’t being obviously crushed, they also monitor for other signs of identity theft, like the sudden appearance of your personal information online or in public records. Additionally they offer theft insurance, and will help you get your credit amended if you become a victim.
A clever thief might sell less obvious personal information like your social security number, or they might steal small amounts of money from your credit card that don’t immediately jump out at you. Higher quality credit monitoring services will keep an eye out for these kinds of criminals, and help you put a stop to them before they can have a long-term impact on your future.
What To Do If You’re A Victim Looking for Work
If you’re someone in the situation where your credit is damaged because of criminal activity, you can work to have your credit rating amended. Since you often won’t have time to wait for this process to be completed while you look for work, it’s a good idea to bring it up proactively in your interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions or comments.
Though you’re definitely NOT legally obligated to, you may want to include a copy (with sensitive information blacked out) of any documentation you have to prove that you’re working to resolve the issue.
Credit reports are an important part of every aspect of life in the 21st century, but you don’t have to just sit and hope for the best. Take control of your credit and use it to help mold your future!