Tips for Job Seekers

September 29, 2010
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I don’t see any references to doing a background check on yourself, however, its a solid tip and should be listed as number eight, our guide on California Background Check laws should be in there too!

The turbulent economy has forced many people to go back into the job market for the first time in years from Los Angeles to New York City. If there is a thick layer of dust on your resume it might be beneficial to learn the new rules of resume writing and presentation before you start submitting applications. Even the most qualified applicant might not get called in for an interview if his resume creates the impression that he is out of touch with the current business environment. Do not assume that an impressive cover letter can serve as a substitute for a poorly written resume.

1. References Upon Request

There is no need to waste valuable resume space on this outdated section. Employers assume that you will provide references if asked. Instead, keep a separate page with the names and contact information of your references ready to supply to the employer once you have advanced in the interview process.

2. One Resume Fits All

While it is smart to keep a master resume on file, you need to customize it to fit each job for which you apply. Job-seekers who take the time to tailor their resume to the employer’s needs will stand out from the pack. Eliminate the details that don’t apply to the position and emphasize the ones that make you look the most qualified. It might take a little extra time to apply using this technique, but it will be worth it when your interview offers increase.

3. Objective Statement

The professional summary or profile has replaced the objective statement. Employers are focused on what candidates can do for them, not what the business can do for the candidate. You will sell yourself better with a concise bulleted list of the qualifications and accomplishments that make you a match for the position.

4. Single-Page Resume

One of the most touted resume rules is that the document must be one page. Many people will go to extremes to follow this command, resulting in tiny, unreadable font sizes just to avoid having a resume that extends onto the second page.

Unless you are a newcomer to the job market, it is entirely possible that you’ll need more than a page to adequately showcase your skills and qualifications. If you have enough job experience that fits the position, it is acceptable to extend your resume length to two pages. Keep your resume succinct and relevant, but don’t go under a 10-pt. font size.

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How to Prepare for a Background Check

August 13, 2010

Great blog article I found today on how to prepare for a background check.  They don’t mention self background screening companies such as TransparentMe by name so I’ll take the honors here!  Enjoy!

How to prepare for a background check

An employer recently called me for a reference on a former colleague, and I was happy to give it. I later found out that the former co-worker already had started working in the job.

“Some will make a job offer contingent upon a positive background check,” explains Debra Klauber, a labor lawyer with Haliczer Pettis & Schwam in Fort Lauderdale. Employers can do background testing, including employer and character reference checks, educational verification, criminal and credit checks during the interview process or the probation period, which can be 30 to 60 days, she says.

How can a job applicant best prepare for smooth sailing through the background check process?

Click to get the latest Business headlines sent to your phone

Have references’ names and contact information ready when going to an interview.

“Don’t use best friends or family members,” says Bonnie Roberge, human resources director for Everest University’s Florida division. Before leaving an employer, ask your supervisor if he or she will give you a reference. If not, direct a potential employer to a human resources contact.

Roberge says references should be tailored to the job. If in sales, you might choose a good client as a reference, for example. “Tell them what you need them to highlight about you,” she says.

Be upfront and honest if you have a criminal record or have poor credit. Employers will find out about a DUI conviction or other felony, whether you put it on your application or not. So, instead, be honest and explain how you’ve progressed.

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Thanks for the Bad Credit Mom and Dad!!

July 19, 2010

Now why didn’t I see this one coming?  The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article today about young people being denied employment after a background check reveals problems on their credit report.  What’s worse? It was their beloved parents who committed identity theft and caused the problem.  Check out this story below.

Child Identity Theft Increases- Atlanta Journal Constitution

Many face credit troubles at the hands of family members being dashed because they are unwitting victims of identity theft at the hands of someone they know, usually their parents.

It often happens when victims are too young to do anything about it, so it’s a crime that can go undetected for years.

A parent or other relative uses a child’s personal information, including Social Security number, to get a credit card, loan or other account with a clean credit record. That’s identity fraud in Georgia.

When the child enters the business and financial world as an adult, he encounters debt he knows nothing about

“They won’t be able to get a credit card. Or if the debt owed is disproportionate to their earnings, then they can’t get loans. It’s difficult to get a car,” said Michelle Jones, senior vice president of counseling for CredAbility. The Atlanta-based nonprofit, provides credit counseling and education across the Southeast.

“And when you are applying for car insurance or applying for a job, people look at your credit score. The worst case scenario … you have a young adult who is facing filing for bankruptcy on a debt that they never personally incurred,” Jones said.

The Federal Trade Commission’s figures on identity theft show Georgia ranking seventh nationwide for the highest number of complaints over the last three years. FTC breakdowns by age show about a quarter of the complaints come from 20- to 29-year-olds. But there’s no way to say how many are from parent identity theft.

Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs spokesman Bill Cloud believes cases of child identity theft have multiplied substantially in the last few years. Identity theft is a felony in Georgia.

“It’s a growing problem,” said Cloud, who said about 3 percent of identity theft victims in 2003 were children. That number increased to about 5 percent in 2006.

They do provide some advice for those who think their identity has been stolen.

  • Check credit files. Minor children shouldn’t have credit files unless their information has been pilfered.
  • Each credit bureau has its own procedure. For TransUnion: send an e-mail to childidtheft@transunion.com with relevant identifying information, and the company will confirm if it has a file. For Experian: visit www.experian.com/fraud or call 1-800-311-4769. For both these agencies and Equifax, follow these instructions on what to send to order a child’s report: bit.ly/aDFTi1
  • Adults can order their own copies from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax through www.annualcreditreport.com , the federally-created Web site that allows free reports once a year.
  • File a police report using the information from your credit reports as evidence. Victims can provide a printed copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s Universal Complaint Form to the law enforcement agency to incorporate into the police report. Find the form online: bit.ly/bN25VL
  • Call all companies or collection agencies listed on your credit report that you haven’t personally opened. Ask them to send you a copy of the application and transaction records. You must send a police report with this request.
  • If you have a police report listing all the fraudulent accounts, the credit bureaus must block the fraudulent accounts from your credit reports within 30 days.

Job seekers are also encouraged to conduct a personal background check on themselves at sites like TransparentMe.com

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People Seek to Clear Their Criminal Past

April 23, 2010

More unemployed people trying to clear their criminal records

A horrible job market along with an employer’s ability to do background checks is causing more unemployed people to seek to clear their criminal records.

According to a November 2009 Wall Street Journal story, Michigan state police estimate that, in 2009, they expunged 46 percent more convictions than the year before.

Many Americans who came of age during the war on drugs are unable to check the “no” box on the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

Those convictions for minor crimes, often received during youth, are coming back to haunt people seeking a job.

Companies can—and do—make hiring decisions based on conviction records, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But people who have their records expunged can legally answer “no” to the “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” question.

In Michigan, you can expunge your record unless you were convicted of a felony or an attempted felony punishable by life imprisonment, a violation or attempted violation of criminal sexual conduct or if you have more than one conviction. You have to wait five years from your conviction or your release from prison to apply to have your crime expunged.

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ID theft hits more than 3 million college students

March 31, 2010

Great tips about how to protect yourself from identity theft.  One thing they leave out? Do a background check on yourself! Don’t let a few dollars stop you from getting that first job out of college.

More than 3.3 million college students may have been victimized by a computer data theft at a Minnesota company that handles federal student loans.

According to a story over the weekend in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, thieves stole the data earlier this month from ECMC. The company was founded 16 years ago as Educational Credit Management Corp.

The company said the stolen data include names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Zendough.com, a consumer-oriented identity theft firm operated by TransUnion, offers the following tips on how to reduce the risk of identity theft.

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Know what’s online and in databases about you

March 19, 2010

Ever wonder just how much information about you is contained in corporate databases and on the Internet? Here’s a hint. It’s much more than you think.

If your telephone number is published, a simple Google search can turn up your home address, phone number and a map to your front door. Everyone knows that. But there are other databases and sites that contain intimate details of your life.

Specialty reports let potential insurers check your prescription history. Retailers can view your purchase returns history. And your employment and rental history are also online.

This information may be incorrect. It can haunt you when you apply for a job, credit or health insurance. So, it’s a good idea to do a background check on yourself from time to time.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act lets you request free credit reports once a year. You can also request a report if you’ve been denied credit based on information it contains. And, you can request that any errors be corrected.

Credit reports

Credit reports are widely used to verify your credit-worthiness. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three main reporting agencies. You can request your free report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You can request reports from all three agencies.

Personal information reports@

Personal Information Reports include information on your employment and tenant history. They also contain information on liens and judgments, voter registration and more. This information is used for background screening.

Start by requesting a report from LexisNexis. Then, request your background screening report from Acxiom. You can also request information from Acxiom’s directory and fraud detection service; however, there is a $5 charge for that.

You should also request a Full File Disclosure from ChoicePoint, a LexisNexis company. The information will differ from your LexisNexis report.

Insurance reports

Your ChoicePoint Full File Disclosure will include home and auto insurance claims. But you’ll also want to order a report from Insurance Services Office.

Have you applied for individual health or life insurance in the past seven years? Then, you may have a file at the Medical Information Bureau. It is designed to protect insurers from fraudulent or incomplete applications.

Your file may include information on medical conditions and tests. It could also include driving history and dangerous hobbies or professions. You can request your consumer file from MIB. However, it may not have one on you.

Your prescription drug information may also be available to insurance companies. IntelliScript and MedPoint compile information on drugs, including refills and dosages. It can go back five years.

Checking reports

Banks often use ChexSystems to vet account applications. Your report may reflect accounts that have been mishandled. For example, it shows if you have had excessive overdrafts.

Retailers use TeleCheck for check verification. It gathers information on returned checks and check fraud.

Employment history

The Work Number collects employment and income information. The data comes from employers. Abso also gathers employment-related information.

These companies may not have information on you. Still, you’ll want to request copies of your files from both companies.

Tenant history and utilities reports

A number of companies gather tenant information. The information can include evictions and disputes with landlords.

Your tenant history may be available from one or more databases. Check with First Advantage SafeRent, RentBureau and Tenant Data Services.

The National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange provides information to utility companies. It stores information on defaulted and fraudulent accounts.

Other reports

The Social Security Administration sends yearly Social Security statements. Your statement shows your Social Security earnings history. It also includes estimated benefit payments. You can request a copy of your report at any time.

The Retail Equation is designed to prevent fraudulent and abusive returns. Information provided may prevent you from returning an item to a store. In that case, request a copy of your return activity report.

Teletrack collects subprime credit information. It is used by payday loan companies.

CentralCredit is a credit bureau used by the gaming industry. Casinos use it when extending credit to guests.

The process for requesting a specialty report varies from database to database. You may need to call the company or mail a form. Be prepared to disclose your Social Security number and current address. You may also need to submit copies of documents to prove your identity.

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Bad Credit is Blocking People Getting Jobs

March 15, 2010

Have you ever run a background check on yourself? Websites such as TransparentMe allow users to find out what is on their background check before applying for their next job!

Bad Credit is Blocking People Getting Jobs

Facing unemployment in a dismal economy, Vernita Humphries of Randallstown was elated when she landed a job last year. But just days before her start date, the chief financial officer telephoned her personally to rescind the offer.

Her bad credit, stemming in part from a divorce and the cost to care for her mother after a stroke, had come back to haunt her.

“It was like a real bad feeling in the pit of my stomach,” said Humphries, who worked in payroll for 35 years and couldn’t fathom what hadn’t checked out in her background. When the company indicated that her bankruptcy seven years ago prevented the hiring, she said she “was really taken for a loop.”

Employers’ use of credit histories to screen applicants is turning into one more barrier for the nation’s unemployed – about 15 million people – many of whom end up with tarnished credit when they lose a job and struggle to pay bills, credit cards and household expenses. Critics of the practice say it perpetuates a cycle of joblessness and hinders economic recovery.

That has stirred a movement, supported by consumer and worker advocacy groups, to clamp down on credit checks by employers. In Maryland, lawmakers are proposing legislation that would ban credit checks to hire or fire, though it would not apply to financial institutions or businesses required by law to check credit. It has been flagged as a priority by Senate Democrats.

Fifteen other states are considering similar laws, while legislation is pending in Congress that would ban employers from hiring and firing based on creditworthiness. Proponents say credit reports can contain errors and, even when accurate, can be an unfair and discriminatory judge of worker ability.

“Credit reports were meant to determine credit-worthiness, not job-worthiness,” said state Sen. Mike Lenett, a Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored a bill heard last month by the Finance Committee. The senator said he has heard numerous stories of people being offered a job and “at the last minute having the rug pulled out from under them and denied a job on the basis of their credit report.”

Sixty percent of employers surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management said they conduct credit background checks for job candidates, with most employers running checks only on selected applicants, rather than all. About half the employers in the January survey said they typically review six or seven years of history. The top reasons given by respondents for turning down candidates: outstanding judgments, accounts in debt collection and bankruptcies.

With people unemployed for longer periods than in past economic downturns, “unprecedented numbers of people are seeing their credit suffer because of job loss,” said Melissa Broome, a senior policy advocate with the Job Opportunities Task Force.

“People these days are doing everything they can to scrape by and figure out what bills they’re going to pay,” Broome said. “Just because you have bad credit doesn’t mean you will be a bad worker or an untrustworthy person.”

Employers and business groups, including the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, have come out against efforts to limit credit checks, saying they need to know the financial backgrounds of people working not only in banks and other financial institutions but in stores, restaurants, hospitals and customers’ homes.

Opponents have testified in legislative hearings that such limits would deprive companies of a valuable screening tool. And some argued that employees and applicants are already protected under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires an employee’s consent before credit can be checked.

“Employers need some flexibility, particularly for jobs that have to do with cash,” said Allyson Black of the Maryland chamber.

The consequences of failing to make such background checks can be serious and cost businesses money, said Colleen Denston of the Maryland chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. If faced with serious misconduct by an employee, an employer could be sued for negligent hiring, she said. Some positions, such as janitor, may require credit checks in hospitals where they could access medicine and patient information, but not in some office settings. Employers say they need the flexibility to decide when to check credit.

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FTC: Identity Theft Is No. 1 Consumer Complaint

February 25, 2010
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This story is another great reason to conduct a background check on yourself before going to that job interview.   Identity theft is one of the causes for mis-information on a background check.  Imagine the embarrassment?

Are you really you? It’s hard to say.

That’s because identity theft was the top consumer complaint for 2009, the Federal Trade Commission reported Wednesday.

It was also the top complaint from the year before, although 5 percent fewer consumers reported it in 2009, the commission said.

Overall, of the 1.3 million complaints the agency received last year, 21 percent were for identity theft. Debt collection agencies ranked second, with 9 percent of complaints, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book released Wednesday.

Credit card fraud was the top complaint when it comes to identity theft, followed by fraud related to government benefits, utilities, phones and loans.

The FTC did not verify the complaints lodged with it. It said 72 percent of those reporting identity theft also notified a police department.

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The movement of transparency; to be a better me.

February 22, 2010
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There’s a movement afoot. Those of us participating regularly in social media are fully aware of it, since social media can be the microscope that quickly separates the authentic from the slight of hand.

The movement of transparency; to be a better me.

That’s the case from individual to corporation. Gone are the days when we could hide behind untruth and bad behavior and skip the consequences.

Trust is the new currency and we no longer control the message.

Well, with the exception of US politics, but even these daily untruths seem to be catching up with them.

Shining the light on the here and now is all too easy; the only true way to differentiate is to be personally and socially responsible and accountable — and to be prepared to face the consequences sooner than later if you’re not.

For example, check out the offering from a new service called TransparentMe, where job-seekers can discover any skeletons in their closet before a potential employer does.

The public records provider allows candidates to perform an online criminal background check on themselves in a matter of days or even minutes – revealing any negative information that could keep them from landing their next job. With identity theft on the rise, the service can also serve as an alarm that one’s identity has been compromised.

There are already dozens of services like this on the market.

Another HR supplier (that we work with) — Zapoint — promotes skill-based profiling, collaborative career management and transparent succession development, creating a symbiotic relationship between employee and employer. This is the future of talent management.

Then there’s the recent guest article from Kevin Wheeler in John Sumser’s HRExaminer titled Is HR Relevant and Does It Matter?:

The Way it Might Be

HR might instead accept that creative work now means collaborating, sharing, and allowing information and ideas to flow freely. Newer organizations are already using HR in a different way. While there are usually rules and policies, they are often much simpler and less “policed” than those of large organizations. Information is openly shared including salaries and bonuses. Employees are asked to recommend friends and colleagues as candidates for open positions. Recruiting and development become more the responsibility of managers than of some corporate office. Blogs and social networks form the basis of communication both within and outside the organizations and can be harnessed for recruiting candidates, on-boarding new employees, developing current employees and for sharing information.

Ah, the utopia of transparent personal and social responsibility…

To be a better me. To be a better leader. To be a better corporation. To more freely exchange ideas and talent and facilitate better internal and external communication.

To stand taller and more visible amongst your competitors. To have the transparency edge.

A recent article in Fortune titled Why doing good is good for business brings it all together under with the consulting firm of Los Angeles-based management guru, Dov Seidman. He’s become the hottest adviser on corporate virtue to Fortune 500 companies.

Corporate virtue? Really?

A trained moral philosopher, Seidman has built a highly successful business on the theory that in today’s wired and transparent global economy, companies that “outbehave” their competitors ethically will also tend to outperform them financially.

If you think it’s a joke, “more than 400 companies, including Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and Procter & Gamble, have hired Seidman’s firm, LRN, to analyze their corporate cultures, rewrite their codes of conduct, and give ethical-compliance training to their employees.”

It’s no joke.

The world has changed, Seidman argues, and winner-take-all strategies are obsolete. He contends that the rise of information technology has made good behavior more important because it has become increasingly hard to hide bad behavior. (Ask Wall Street.)

To be a better me. To be a better leader. To be a better corporation.

Can make you more profitable. Trust me.

More from HR Marketer

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“TransparentMe” Service Helps Job Candidates Perform Their Own Criminal Background Checks

February 17, 2010

Cleveland, Ohio (PRWEB) February 17, 2010 — With the release of TransparentMe, job-seekers can discover any skeletons in their closet before a potential employer does.

The public records provider allows candidates to perform an online criminal background check on themselves in a matter of days or even minutes – revealing any negative information that could keep them from landing their next job. With identity theft on the rise, the service can also serve as an alarm that one’s identity has been compromised.

“In today’s hyper-competitive job market, a background check can make the difference between landing a dream job or being cast aside in favor of someone else,” said Jason B. Morris, co-founder and principal. “TransparentMe equips a job seeker with information so they can be proactive with a potential employer instead of defensive.”

“More companies than ever are conducting background checks on their job candidates – as many as 85 percent of all employers,” said Nick Fishman, co-founder and principal. “Also, identity theft is forcing candidates to find out the hard way that their character and personal information has been tainted. TransparentMe arms people with knowledge so they can avoid unpleasant surprises that might impact their future career.”

The service is offered in three package levels: Basic ($19.95), Enhanced ($34.95), and Comprehensive ($69.95). All levels provide the following three services:

- Identity Verification – This search conducts a social security number trace, ensuring that an individual’s number isn’t being used by anyone else. The trace also provides a history of addresses where a customer has applied for credit. Most employers use this type of search as a roadmap to determine which court jurisdictions should be researched for criminal records and what names to check.

- National Criminal Records Database Search – A search of databases that comprise millions of records from various sources in the United States. These records are obtained by commercial vendors from several different sources including: County Court Houses, State Departments of Incarcerations, State Record Repositories, Probation Departments and Townships.

- National Sex Offender Registry Search – This multi-state database search provides sex offender case information in an easy-to-read report. Extensive search capabilities will check registered sex offender data sources nationwide, including: Bureaus of Investigation, Departments of Law Enforcement, Departments of Corrections, Departments of Justice, Departments of Public Safety, Sheriff’s Departments, State Attorney General’s Offices and state police agencies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Basic level results are available within minutes. The Enhanced level includes the above services as well as the following searches:

- Current County of Residence Criminal Records Search: An on-site manual search of the superior, upper, lower, and/or municipal court records in the user’s current county of residence. A national network of professional court researchers covers all 3,500+ county court jurisdictions and will indicate if a subject has a felony, misdemeanor and possibly an infraction filing within the last seven years or longer.

- Homeland Security Search: This security check cross-references the user’s name against more than 14 worldwide known terrorist and fugitive databases that include individuals, organizations and companies considered a threat to global and national security. The Homeland Security Check database is updated daily as various lists are modified.

Results for the Enhanced and Comprehensive levels are available in one to four days. The Comprehensive level includes all five services above, but also allows users to conduct a criminal records search in up to five counties across the country.

Add on services such as Employment Verifications, Education Verifications, Reference Interviews and Professional License Verifications are available on all of the above packages.

About TransparentMe
TransparentMe is a public records provider that allows job candidates to gain a competitive edge in finding the perfect job, through self-administered background checks. Our approach is simple: provide clients with the peace of mind that there won’t be any surprises when prospective employers conduct their own due diligence. For more information, contact: www.transparentme.com.

Media Contacts:
Nick Fishman, TransparentMe
(847) 564-5410 Direct
nfishman(a)employeescreen.com

Elrond Lawrence
Fisher Vista for TransparentMe
831-632-2183
elawrence(a)fishervista.com

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