If you’re considering bankruptcy to get out from under overwhelming debt, you’re likely weighing the pros and cons. To do that effectively, you need accurate information – not just things that you’ve heard from others about what happened to them or someone they know.
One common misconception people have is that their bankruptcy will be like a scarlet letter that everyone will see. They may be particularly concerned that it will affect their ability to get a job or even to get a promotion in their current workplace.
Employers sometimes do credit checks on applicants as well as employees they’re considering promoting to jobs with much more significant responsibilities. However, if your credit report reflects considerable debt, it likely wouldn’t hurt you any more than if it showed a bankruptcy filing.
At least, a bankruptcy shows that you’ve taken steps to deal with your debt and get on the right path. You can make that case for yourself if it becomes an issue. It’s harder to make a case for remaining in ever-mounting debt.
Occupations where credit checks are often required
There are occupations where a poor credit record – and potentially a bankruptcy – could affect your opportunities. These include:
- Jobs where you’re responsible for overseeing large amounts of cash or other assets, such as those in banks and stores
- Jobs that require a security clearance, including many occupations in the government and the military
- Jobs in law enforcement at any level, from local police departments to the FBI where you may have to be trusted with large amounts of confiscated money, drugs, jewels and other valuables
The good news is that employers can’t run a credit check without your authorization in writing. It might be in the fine print, but by law, you do have to give your permission.
This will give you the opportunity to get ahead of what they’re going to find and explain your situation. Place a positive spin on it and use it to sell your skills and fitness for the job. You had a problem with debt (due to a job loss, medical bills or crushing student loans). You made a tough decision to file for bankruptcy so that you could make a fresh start and take control of your finances. Having experienced legal guidance with your bankruptcy can help you prevent unnecessary mistakes that could derail your career.