background check interviewWhen you consider applying for a new job or trying for a promotion, one of the biggest hurdles you may have is getting past your own background. After all, there is probably SOMETHING in your past that you are not particularly proud of, and perhaps you think this will prevent you from obtaining a new job or promotion. It is important to remember: “you are your own worst critic.” This is a cliché, but clichés become so because they are true. It is probably not as bad as you think it is–especially if you handle it properly.

Be Honest

The most important thing to remember is that you must be honest with your applications and resumes. However, you may not need to provide every detail of your background immediately. Though,if it is pertinent, you need to disclose it.

An example:

When you were 18 years old, you were involved with a bad crowd and received a misdemeanor underage drinking charge. You wound up serving a short stint of community service time and quickly got through this with no further issues. You are now 23 and a college graduate, looking for a job in your field. How should you handle this?

There are different ways you can choose to deal with a situation such as this. The most important thing to realize is that most companies DO conduct background checks today, so trying to hide it altogether isn’t recommended. While you do not want to place this information on your resume or cover letter , why not mention it during the interview? The key is to bring the information up yourself, at the interview, before it pops up on a background check (and it will). This gives you the chance to explain yourself, and there is less chance that assumptions will be made.

You would handle other potential problems in much the same way. If you were let go from a previous job, explain why. If you didn’t complete your field of study in college, perhaps you can show the interviewer that you did glean plenty of important information from the classes you did complete.

What Matters

The truth is, no person or job applicant is perfect—not you and not any other person who is applying for a job. Every applicant will have a problem and every single one of your competitors worries about something in his or her background.

Quit worrying about the things you do not have, the gaps in your experience or the small issues you dealt with in the past. Instead, focus on the things that make you a unique, desirable candidate for the job. Write a powerful and positive resume (or work with our experts to have one crafted for you) to communicate why you would be a great employee. You will get results—no matter what type of skeleton is lurking in your closet.