Tips for Seeking Employment

Credit Checks

Your credit report can affect your job search.

Are you in the market for a new job? If so, remember that potential employers aren’t just reading your résumé; they are also reviewing your credit history. Before you apply for any job, get your free credit report (see p. XX) for information about your credit history, including:

  • If you pay your bills on time or late
  • How much money you owe
  • If someone has sued you

Before a potential employer can request your credit report or use it, the company must notify you and ask your permission. And if a company decides not to hire you because of information in your credit report, it must tell you (orally or in writing), along with information about the credit reporting company and your rights to dispute the accuracy of the report. The FTC has more information about what to know when looking for a job.

Employment - Employment Agencies

Times have changed with job-searching, and there are numerous websites now available that post jobs for private industry. Many companies also offer a way to apply online. However, these sites do not replace traditional and proven job-hunting approaches such as networking, personal contacts, business organizations, and interviewing.

Employment Agencies

If you're looking for a job, you might come across ads from employment agencies that promise wonderful opportunities. While some companies honestly want to help you, others are more interested in taking your money. Be wary of:

  • Promises to get you a job and a guaranteed income.
  • Up-front fees, even when you are guaranteed a refund if you are dissatisfied.
  • Employment agencies whose ads read like job ads.
  • Promotions of "previously undisclosed" government jobs. All federal jobs are announced to the public on the USAJOBS website.

Get a copy of the employment agency contract and review it carefully before you pay any money. Check with your local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed about a company.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sues businesses that fraudulently advertise employment openings and guarantee job placement. Contact the FTC if you have a complaint.

Social Media Profiles and Your Job Search

Are you in the market for a new job? If so, remember that potential employers aren’t just reading your resumé; they are also reviewing your social media profiles, blogs, pictures, and videos. In 2011, the FTC ruled that background investigation companies can keep your social media history for as long as seven years. Even if you clean up your profiles, companies can still have access to older content that you posted publicly. To err on the side of caution:

  • Use the privacy settings to manage who has access to your profile.
  • Refrain from making defamatory comments about current or past employers.
  • Avoid making statements that are discriminatory or demonstrate intolerance.
  • Untag yourself in pictures or posts that are inappropriate.


The government's Unemployment Insurance Program provides benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet other eligibility requirements. Each state administers its own program under federal guidelines. Eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and length of benefits are determined by the states. For more information, contact the Department of Labor.

In addition, some states are extending unemployment benefits for eligible recipients for up to 13 additional weeks.