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My credit has suffered – can I still get a good job?

I fell behind on some bills and reduced my credit score. Is there any hope for me finding a professional job with my credit issues?

Most companies conduct some type of background check on potential employees which may include a credit check, but that’s less common than verifying identity, work history, education and criminal records. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers can’t go checking your credit history behind your back and must have written consent. In some states, there are specific restrictions when it comes to using credit information for employment decisions. Employers don’t see your credit score, just your credit history, and it’s typically only relevant for financial positions (since if you can’t be responsible for your own finances, how can they trust you with the company’s?). Most applicants can overcome a spotty credit history, which is not uncommon and exacerbated due to COVID, so I think most employers are sympathetic. Pull your own credit report so you can see what’s there and correct any errors. Credit agencies also offer resources to get back to good financial health.

My daughter has a degree in criminal justice and has been unable to get a job as a police officer in New York. She’s not sure what to do with her degree. We’ve suggested that she speak with a career coach. Would you be able to suggest someone?

She has been “unable” to get a job as a police officer, or has decided she doesn’t want to be one? I would completely understand given all that’s going on. Career coaching comes from many resources. A simple Internet search for “what can you do with a criminal justice degree” will reveal many jobs that could be interesting to her, since there are a number of related careers that don’t require a badge and a gun. She should also meet with the career development office of her college. Their services are usually available to alumni and typically have resources to help those early in their careers. Try old fashioned networking, too, with family and friends.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com, dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work.

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