Do a Reference Check on Yourself!

Find out if there are things you have to fix before an employer does

Do a Reference Check on Yourself!

By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Before you launch your job search, consider doing a background check on yourself ahead of an employer doing so. Get hold of your credit report, academic records and driving abstract. Search your own name out on to see if there are any references to you.

The goal is to make sure that there are no major gaps - or glaring red flags - that an employer might uncover prior to offering you a job.

The Basics of What You Should Look For

Not every employer will conduct a thorough review of your application for employment. But if they do, there are certain elements that you’ll want to check out beforehand regardless of what type of job you’re interviewing for.

Google Yourself

If you haven’t run your name through search engines recently, do so now. Use your full name as it appears on your resume. Enter it into the major search sites, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Do any results appear that you should be concerned about?

Lock Down Your Personal Information On Social Networking Sites

You may have created a profile for yourself on a social media site like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc. Ensure that you keep any personal information under privacy protection. This might include your phone number, home address, marital status, and any revealing information that could ruin an employer’s positive perceptions of you.

Academic Records and Certifications

If you are claiming on your resume to have attended a certain school or course, and to have graduated with a particular degree or credential, get in touch with each of these institutions and ask them to send you a copy of their official transcripts. Then make sure the info is correct.

Previous Employers

Get in touch with each of your more recent employers and ask them to confirm their records regarding the dates you worked there and what your titles were.

For Advanced Background Checks

Depending on the job and industry you’re seeking work in, employers may want to be more thorough in their evaluation of your background.

If you plan to work in financial services, don’t be surprised if an employer you’ve interviewed with asks for your permission to run a credit history on you. Be sure to know what they’ll find by requesting your own credit history from the two big Canadian credit reporting agencies, TransUnion and Equifax. If you find any errors try to get them fixed fast.

Thinking about driving for a living? You’ll need a copy of your full Driver’s Abstract, available from your provincial government. It details the past five years and shows if you have any serious violations or accidents.

And speaking of government, if you want to work as a public servant, you may have to submit to a security screening and criminal record search. Same goes when you apply to the police, fire department, and related employers.

Documents You May Want To Have Available

It’s always a good thing to have a number of documents handy as you begin your job search.

For people who will be expected to travel outside of Canada as part of their job, a valid passport and and/or citizenship papers will be required.

Your birth certificate may be needed for identification purposes only. Or you could use your driver’s license photo ID if you have one. Also your Social Security number will be necessary when you begin your new job so that your pay can be processed properly for income tax purposes.

Forewarned Is Forearmed

What a nightmare it would be if you had been doing your job search diligently, had been interviewing with a number of employers, then finally received the job offer you’d really been hoping for – only to have it all fall apart if the background check they do reveals something unacceptable. You can prevent this from happening by doing a bit of extra legwork yourself. Find out if information about you in the public realm is accurate. Guard your personal data behind privacy protection on social media sites. Assemble any relevant documents you’ll need in advance.

This way there ought to be no surprises for you or the employer if they conduct a background check on you. Which gives you more confidence to start applying for those jobs that suit you on