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Why You Need To Know Your Credit Before A Job SearchFinancial LiteracyPersonal Finance


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If you’re looking for work, you need to know what’s on your credit reports. Why? Because there’s a decent chance your future employer will be looking too.

I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute.

While some states limit which type of employers can check your credit, the practice is fairly common. Here are four things you need to know:

1. Employers must get your written permission to pull your credit report.

You have the right not to sign the release, but if you don’t, it may create a bad impression.

2. The credit report an employer sees is different from the report a lender sees.

It won’t show your account numbers, date of birth, or references to your spouse. It will contain your home address, other names you use (like your maiden name), public record information like bankruptcies and liens; and your credit history, work history and basic employment information.

3. Employers don’t look at credit scores.

They look at credit reports. The two are different. And credit scores don’t automatically come with credit reports.

4. If you’re preparing for a job interview and discover mistakes in your credit report, you probably won’t have enough time to correct the information before the employer pulls the report.

But here’s what you can do. Notify the credit reporting agencies and have it corrected. If you find information that’s correct but negative, prepare a compelling and honest explanation of what went wrong, what you’re doing to correct or improve the situation and point it out to the interviewer before they bring it up to you.

Throughout your job search, it’s helpful to monitor your credit scores. You can do that, learn why they are what they are, and what you can do to improve them, all for free at Credit.com.

I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute.

An audio version of this story was originally broadcast as part of The Credit Minute series on the Wall Street Journal Radio Network. Listen to it and more here.