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Check credit record before future employers do

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McLEAN, Va. (11/3/10)--If you’re looking for a job, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time making sure your résumé is perfect. You should pay close attention to your credit record as well (USAToday.com Oct. 26). While only 13% of companies conduct credit checks on all job applicants, almost half check credit histories for employees with financial responsibilities and senior executives, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Va. Many employers believe that credit reports contain relevant information about applicants--especially those applying for jobs where they’ll have access to large sums of money or merchandise. Here’s help understanding your credit history:
* Realize the difference between credit score and credit report. Your credit score is a three-digit number that summarizes your credit history, and in many cases is the most influential factor in a lender’s decision to grant you credit and at what rate, according to editors from the Credit Union National Association’s Center for Personal Finance. A credit report shows a record of your past borrowing and repaying habits. * Check your credit report yourself. You’re eligible for a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion and Experian--at annualcreditreport.com. Use the website to request one or call 877-322-8228. * Know your rights. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers to obtain your consent before reviewing your credit report. While you can say no, if you decline giving an employer authorization to pull your report, your chances of getting the job may decrease.
Talk to the professionals at your credit union for help improving your credit record. And for more information about how to achieve a high credit score, read “Who Has an 800+ Credit Score?” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.