One of the most valuable pieces of advice people receive before commencing a job search is to run a background check on themselves, but too often, this tip goes unheeded. Job searchers figure that they know their own background, and if they don’t have any criminal offenses, they falsely believe that they don’t have anything to worry about from a pre-employment background check.

However, what most people don’t realize is that background check information is not always accurate. While most applicants could spot inaccuracies in their background check from a mile away, employers may only read such inaccuracies as truths. Worse, a hiring manager may use those inaccuracies as a reason to deny employment, with the applicant being none the wiser to the incorrect information that is costing them job opportunities. How can you avoid this situation? Run a background check on yourself at the outset of your job search, and do so for the following six reasons.

1. It will save you time: The above scenario, where an applicant wanders from prospective employer to prospective employer without ever realizing that an inaccurate background check is ruining their chances, is all too common. A self-background check can help eliminate all of that wasted time from the equation and can give you the knowledge you need to fix any problems early on in the job search.

2. It will tell you if your background check is returning someone else’s criminal information: Unless you have a very unique name, chances are that you have a namesake doppelganger out there. If this person who shares your name is a repeat felon, his or her criminal record might often be confused with your own during a background check. By running a self-check, you should be able to easily find whether or not your name is getting mixed up with someone else’s.

3. It can tell you if someone is using your credit cards: Name twins with criminal activity can spell bad news for your background check, but so can a person who has actively stolen your identity. If someone out there has gotten a hold of your credit card number and is wreaking havoc on your financial reputation with it, a self background check can help you spot the crime, put a stop to it, and repair your credit score before employers judge you as a financially irresponsible person.

4. It can show you if someone is using your social security number: Identity theft doesn’t just relate to your credit card score: someone out there may also be using your social security number to apply for loans, credit cards, insurance policies, or jobs of their own. Run a self-check to determine whether or not someone else is using your identity to build their own life.

5. It can tell you if any expungement approvals have registered: Whether you expunged a traffic ticket by getting a car headlamp repaired or expunged a criminal conviction by filing with your state court, running a background check on yourself can help you make sure that those expunged offenses have indeed been set aside and removed from your record.

6. It can help you confirm your employment eligibility: If you are an immigrant or a new citizen to the United States, a self-check can confirm your employment eligibility with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

About the author: Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.

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