This post is sponsored by Lexington Law.

There are so many moving parts in the job search and promotion process.  From writing and updating your resume to enhancing your LinkedIn profile to building stronger connections within your industry.  But there are some pieces to job search puzzle that we don’t think about that can be a determining factor.  One of them is our credit scores.  Whether we like it or not, our financial stability can impact our career growth.  So, let’s break down three ways our credit can potentially hold us back and more importantly what we can proactively do to take our careers to the next level.

Turned down for a position.

Resume- check. LinkedIn profile-check. Interview-check.  Employment screening- what’s that?

When you’re further along in the hiring process some companies do an employment screening.  This can involve background checks, qualification verification, and running your credit report.  Based on the results of these screenings you may or may not be offered the position.

Certain industries, including law enforcement, banking, or government are more apt to go in that direction.  The assumption is that people with good credit are more likely to be productive and responsible employees.  If you’re also in charge of large budgets, they want to make sure your personal finances are in check.

But these reports are not the same as the one you’re able to pull or the one that lenders have access to.   A company does not see your actually score but a limited version with your credit history for the last few years.  They can see debts or any red flags that may show up.

With that said, some states limit the use of this information to make employment decisions.  If a potential employer has asked to pull this information, make sure you check with your states department of labor.  They need your written permission to access this information and cannot do it without your consent.

Proactive tip: As you’re going through the job search process, pull your credit report.  You want to make sure all of the information is accurate and you’re not blindsided.  If your potential employer asks your permission to access it, share with them information that they might see as an issue and what you’re doing to resolve it.  This can be that you’re working with a company like, Lexington Law to help you repair your credit.

Finding a place to live.

You’ve went through the whole hiring process and found the job of your dreams and now you’re looking to find an apartment in a new city.  This should be the fun part, right?  If your credit score is not where it needs to be you might have a tricky time finding a place or somewhere that you’re excited about.

Many landlords and utility companies look at your credit scores before you’re able to sign a lease or contract.  If you’ve filed bankruptcy or had credit issues in the past, you might get turned down for your dream place because the landlord doesn’t want to take the chance that you won’t pay rent.  You also might be asked to put a deposit for utilities which can be around $250 for each company.  They want to make sure they are paid if you miss a bill. You could also get stuck with higher deposits, need a co-signer, or spend more time than you have to look for places to live.

Proactive tip: Whether you’ve gotten a promotion within your company at a new location or hired for a job with a new organization, finding a place you’re comfortable living in is important.  If you know your credit is an issue, and you’ve already started working with a professional like the ones at Lexington Law, consider finding a roommate.  This will help you keep the costs down while you’re saving money to repay your debts and boosting your credit score.  This doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, but you don’t want to get yourself in more debt living in a place above your means, even if you’re able to sign the lease.

Making an industry change.

Maybe you graduated a few years ago and are working in an industry that you thought you would love but aren’t finding as much joy as you hoped.  Or maybe your friend was talking about their exciting job in another field and it got you thinking of what else might be out there.  Then you started to looking into roles in other industries and noticed that the salaries were lower than what you currently make.  You’re still excited about the possibility of moving on, but nervous about the pay cut.

While this situation isn’t ideal, when making an industry shift you might be starting close to the bottom of the chain and have to work your way up.  With a poor credit score or debt, it can be hard or not feasible to make these changes as you already might be financially strained.  And putting everything on your credit card while you’re trying to move up the ladder isn’t the way to go.

Proactive tip: Before you leave any job, you want to make sure you’re making the right financial decision.  In this post, we break down 7 questions to ask yourself before putting in your notice. You don’t want to leave money on the table or get yourself into more debt when shifting industries.  Maybe it’s not the right time to take the full leap right now and starting a side hustle would get you the experience you’re looking for while you’re working with professionals to increase your credit score and paying off debts.  You can also talk to your current supervisor to see if there are projects to take on that align with these alternative interests as you never know where that will positively lead.

You don’t want your credit score or debt to be the reason why you don’t get a job or are able to take a role that you’ve worked so hard for.  While it might seem like financial security and credit are not associated with career growth, they’re linked.  Not having the means to relocate or adjust industries can be difficult.  And being turned down for a position because of financial choices can be frustrating.

But you do have the power to take control of your financial health and up-level your career at the same time.  Going through this process on your own can be tough.  The professionals  at Lexington Law are here to help and can provide you with personalized assistance so you can repair your credit.  Their blog is also a great resource filled with practical tips.

Alissa Carpenter

TEDx Speaker, Author, Facilitator at Everything's Not OK and That's OK
Alissa Carpenter is a multigenerational workplace expert, owner of Everything’s Not Ok and That’s OK and host of Humanize Your Workplace podcast.
She provides training, consulting, and speaking services to organizations all over the world. She has an MEd in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Her work helps to bridge communication gaps across generations, job functions, and geographies, and she has worked with organizations ranging from non-profits to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. She has delivered a TEDx talk on authentic workplace communication, and has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, ABC, FOX, and CBS. Her book, Humanize Your Workplace (Career Press), is set to release next year.
Alissa Carpenter