Home > Credit Score > 3 Jobs That Can Be Harder to Get With Bad Credit

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Are you in search of greener pastures or simply feel ready for a new career challenge? If so, it doesn’t hurt to have good credit, as some employers pull a version of applicants’ credit reports during the application process as part of a background investigation. For jobs that require federal government security clearance or access to government facilities, for example, pulling a credit report is a must. And when that credit report gets pulled, it had better be spotless (learn how to make sense of your report here), lest you lose out on the job due to your poor credit history.

Here’s a look at some jobs that require solid credit in order to get your foot in the door.

1. Security Clearance Jobs

Military personnel, IT professionals … a lot of jobs require government security clearance, and if you’re applying for one, a credit report check is generally going to happen. Though your overall credit or FICO score is not relevant to an adjudicator for a background investigator, Marko Hakamaa, contributor to security clearance career networking site ClearanceJobs.com said via email, “your history of being financially responsible and paying as agreed upon legal and just debts” is important. The reason: “This is a reflection of a person’s honesty and trustworthiness,” he said.

If that’s not enough reason to work on building your credit, Stephanie Benson, general manager of ClearanceJobs.com, added that “regular credit reports will also be pulled for current clearance holders as a part of the continuous monitoring process.” So if you’ve let your credit slide, now’s the time to get things in order.

2. Financial Broker

Your good credit history is more than a ticket to lower mortgage rates and travel rewards credit cards. It can also help you score a career in the high-stakes world of finance. That’s according to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which requires prospective applicants to be vetted. FINRA was unavailable for direct comment, but a notice issued in March 2015 says:

“FINRA Rule 3110(e) requires that each member firm ascertain by investigation the good character, business reputation, qualifications and experience of an applicant before the firm applies to register that applicant with FINRA and before making a representation to that effect on the application for registration.”

Information disclosed on the organization’s Form U4 is used to help determine whether an applicant should be disqualified or may present “a regulatory risk for the firm and customers,” FINRA adds. “Firms also may wish to consider private background checks, credit reports and reference letters for this purpose.”

3. Mortgage Officer 

Though Joe Parsons, senior loan officer at PFS Financing in Dublin, California, has never heard of anyone being denied a license solely because of their credit, he does “think regulators are looking for evidence of fraudulent activity that might show up on a credit report as judgments,” he said via email. So, yes, mortgage loan officers are licensed today under the National Mortgage Licensing System and part of that process involves a criminal background check and credit report, Parsons said.

The Keys to Great Credit  

When applying for the jobs we’ve listed above, you’ll want your credit to look as polished and professional as your resume. So how do you do it? By paying attention to how your spending habits impact your credit — you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com — and understanding what it takes to build solid credit. Here’s a quick look at what goes into your credit report.

Payment History: Also known as your payment performance, your payment history is worth 35% of the points in your credit score and refers to the record you’ve established of paying bills on time. If lenders report that you’ve missed a few bills to the credit reporting agencies, you can guarantee that information will go onto your credit report — and ding your score.

Amount of Debt: Credit utilization — that is, the amount of credit you’re using compared to your total available revolving credit limits — accounts for almost 30% of the points in your credit score. So if your debt is closing in on that credit limit, or worse still, exceeds it, your credit may be in trouble. Remember, the lower your ratio, the higher your score. Other debt, such as open or installment debt, can also negatively impact your credit if you aren’t managing it responsibly or it’s excessive.

Types of Accounts: From student loans to credit cards, it’s helpful to have a healthy group of accounts (also known as a “credit mix”) in your credit report. In fact, whether or not you have a variety of accounts can affect nearly 10% of the points in your credit score.

History of Searching for Credit: Worth 10% of the points in your credit score, this section of your credit report assesses your history of inquiries, or what happens anytime someone pulls your credit report. When you apply for a loan or pre-qualify for a mortgage, for instance, an inquiry posts to your credit. If you go shopping for credit a lot, you’ll likely be considered a high risk to lenders.

Age of Accounts: Some people like to say age is nothing more than a number. But in the world of credit, it refers to the age of the information in your credit history, and it matters a lot. Worth 15% of the points in your credit history, the older your history, the better your score.

Image: michaeljung

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them. Compensation is not a factor in the substantive evaluation of any product.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team