Proactively Addressing Bad Credit-Report Issue - The Career Doctor Blog

Debi writes:

With so many companies doing background checks, how do I handle a having bad credit report? I was out of work for a little over a year and my credit is shot. I’m still working on repairing the damage. How can I proactively address the credit issue?
Should I include an explanatory paragraph in my cover letter — or bring it up when I get an interview?

I feel it’s a double-edged issue. If I bring it up, I could be negating their interest from the get go but if I don’t bring it up, it could look like I’m trying to hide it.

Do you think having a bad credit report would be enough of a reason for an employer to not contact a potential employee who has the experience and skills they say they want?

The Career Doctor responds:

First let me stress an important rule of job-seeking. Never, never include anything negative in your cover letter, resume, or job application. By providing negative information in any of these documents, you basically eliminate yourself from consideration. The time to address any negative information is in the job interview — once you have made the initial cut.

I still remember one of my favorite bad cover letters, which stated in the first sentence of the letter, “While I have been fired from my last two jobs…” Who would ever keep reading that letter?

Now, credit reports are a sore subject for me because it’s a trend in hiring that I do not like nor support. So many people have been downsized or simply struggling in low-wage jobs and thus have problems with their credit report that I think this tool of evaluating a candidate’s worthiness makes no sense except for industries like banking or accounting. And no one has ever been able to show me a study that correlates a bad credit report with a bad employee, yet some employers will not hire you without a good credit score.

So, I totally am behind you here. Do not include any mention of it in your cover letter and do not bring it up in the interview — until, and only then, the employer ask for references in preparation for a background check. It is ONLY at this point that I would bring it up. I would ask if they just check with references or if they do a more detailed background check. If they do a more detailed check, then I would go with a short explanation about your credit rating — of why it’s bad and the steps you have taken to fix it.

Posted via web from AndyWergedal