Credit his­tory check for pre­vi­ous jobs poses prob­lem

The Washington Post Sunday - - JOBS -

Ca­reer Coach Joyce E.A. Rus­sell re­cently took ques­tions from read­ers. Here are ex­cerpts:


Q: I’ve be­gun see­ing a trend in re­cent years where em­ploy­ers will look at an ap­pli­cant’s credit report to ver­ify em­ploy­ment his­tory. I have a slight prob­lem — my em­ploy­ment his­tory isn’t on my credit report. At all. The rea­son for that is, I’ve only ever had one credit card, which I started in col­lege — well be­fore I be­gan ac­cu­mu­lat­ing an em­ploy­ment his­tory — and I’ve had no need to ap­ply for ad­di­tional lines of credit since then. The up­side to that is that I have a credit score most peo­ple would kill for; the down­side is that my credit report is very bare-bones. With all that in mind, is there a way for me to get my em­ploy­ment his­tory on my credit report with­out ap­ply­ing for ad­di­tional lines of credit?

A: Great ques­tion and an un­usual dilemma you are fac­ing. I am as­sum­ing your ré­sumé de­tails all of your pre­vi­ous jobs. Have you put down the orig­i­nal name of the firm and its cur­rent name (if you know it)? Em­ploy­ers to­day would not be that sur­prised by firms that have merged or been ac­quired. If you can in­di­cate both names of the firm (when you worked there and what it is called now) that might help. You can also list pre­vi­ous su­per­vi­sors for those jobs (if you want). Also, do you have any other records sub­stan­ti­at­ing your em­ploy­ment? You did not say how far back you have worked, so maybe you still have old pay stubs or em­ploy­ment let­ters?


Q: I am a 2007 col­lege grad­u­ate with a com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing B.S. de­gree (3.69 GPA) look­ing for ad­vice on ob­tain­ing a job in the U.S. Since grad­u­a­tion, I have ne­go­ti­ated con­tracts and com­peted in pro­fes­sional ath­let­ics in­ter­na­tion­ally. How do I par­lay this ath­letic busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence into a ca­reer in a “tra­di­tional” job role?

A: I would imag­ine PR firms, com­mu­ni­ca­tions firms, the sports ap­parel in­dus­try, etc., would all be nat­u­ral fits for you. In this case, your pre­vi­ous ex­per­tise as an ath­lete would come in handy. What about con­tacts you may have from your pro­fes­sional sports days? Can you use them for net­works and job hunt­ing? Gen­er­ally, many in sports have con­tacts that can help them in other dis­ci­plines. Make sure all of th­ese con­tacts know what you are look­ing for and by when. If you are look­ing for a ca­reer in a to­tally dif­fer­ent field, then it might be tougher to show trans­fer­abil­ity. But, you can still do it. In fact, the La­bor De­part­ment has a site called Ca­reer One Stop where you can see ca­reer fields rel­e­vant and train­ing needed for those ca­reers. The Na­tional Busi­ness Ser­vices Al­liance also has a job match sur­vey that you can take (called Job Match) to help you fig­ure out how your work in­ter­ests re­late to var­i­ous jobs (where the best fit is). Take ad­van­tage of th­ese re­sources so that you can show po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers that your skills are trans­fer­able.


Q: What ac­tions can you rec­om­mend tak­ing for a fed­eral em­ployee who could, po­ten­tially, be fac­ing los­ing their job be­cause of the se­ques­tra­tion? What should they be do­ing now vs. (if it hap­pens) when laid off?

A: I al­ways sug­gest that ev­ery­one should have an up­dated re­sume so that they are mar­ketable at all times. It’s not that we want to leave our firms, but we need to be pre­pared and real­is­tic about how we are viewed in to­day’s mar­ket­place. I would also check your on­line iden­tity based on your so­cial me­dia foot­print. What do your net­work or con­nec­tions look like? You will want to have a pres­ence in so­cial me­dia so you can more quickly call out to your net­work. At­tend pro­fes­sional meet­ings or con­fer­ences if you are not al­ready do­ing this, just so you can con­nect with in­di­vid­u­als in your field. If you have worked for your em­ployer for a while, make sure that oth­ers (from other firms or agen­cies) know who you are. At­tend­ing meet­ings builds your pres­ence and net­work. Spend a lit­tle time each week look­ing at new op­por­tu­ni­ties for jobs just to see what is out there. Make sure your skills are cur­rent. (Do you need to take any ad­di­tional train­ing or cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cour­ses to get up to date?) There are so many ways of en­hanc­ing skills th­ese days (from reg­u­lar cour­ses in col­leges to on­line op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion), that it would be good to have rel­e­vant skills. All of th­ese strate­gies are things you can do to bet­ter po­si­tion your­self for reen­ter­ing the mar­ket and for know­ing what else is out there. This is im­por­tant whether you lose your job or not.

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