Money

Your credit report can keep you from getting a job—here’s how

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A finely tuned resume can set you apart when you're applying for a job. So can customizing your cover letter to the position and being charismatic during an interview. What many people don't know is that your credit report can affect your chances of getting hired, too.

"Any missed payments or bankruptcies could signal signs of being irresponsible elsewhere, and negatively separate you from the competition," Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub, tells CNBC Make It.

A CareerBuilder survey found that 72 percent of employers conduct background checks on all the employees they hire and, of those cases, 29 percent check credit reports. Typically employers perform the checks on people who will be handling financial transactions and responsible for large amounts of money, Gonzalez says.

Fortunately, an employer won't check without your knowledge. They need to obtain written permission from you first. And in some states, specific restrictions apply.

This doesn't mean your future boss will be able to see your credit score, either.

"Despite the constant myth about scores and employment, there's never been a verified example of an employer having access to or using a credit score to make an employment decision," credit expert John Ulzheimer told GOBankingRates. "That myth persists because people tend to use the terms 'credit report' and 'credit score' interchangeably as if they were the same things. [People make] the assumption that all credit reports come with scores."

A credit report includes information about the standing of your financial accounts, payment history and available credit, while a credit score is an assessment of your credit report that indicates how likely you are to repay a loan. When an employer checks your credit report, they are looking at the big picture, not the three-digit number.

"Patterns of money mismanagement — like a bunch of missed payments or multiple collection accounts — could wind up hurting your odds of scoring a position, particularly if that gig involves handling cash, access to sensitive financial information, company accounting or government work," reports USA Today. "That’s why it’s a good idea to review your credit reports ahead of your job search."

By checking for errors and fixing blemishes like a high unpaid balance, you can improve your standing and hopefully put yourself in a better position to get the job.

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