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By Center for Personal Finance editors

If you're looking for a job, chances are you've spent a lot of time making sure your résumé is perfect. But you should pay close attention to your credit record as well, according to the Credit Union National Association's News Now.

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.

 Learn more about obtaining your credit report.

 Improve your credit record.

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. 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 Use the Web site 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.

Don't let a less-than-stellar credit record stand between you and your dream job. Talk to the professionals at your credit union for help improving your credit record.

Published December 21, 2011

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