How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

Before a potential employer runs a background check on you, beat her to it.

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Your prospective employer will run a background check on you. Depending on how in-depth their screening is, they’ll learn about your past criminal history, employment information, educational records, and professional certificates. Do you know what your background check will say about you?

Well, now you can see it before a prospective employer does—by pre-verifying your background with the latest online tools. Here are several reasons to take this step in your job search:

• Stand out among other candidates. Not many folks will pre-verify their background, but it saves employers and recruiters precious time and money if you do.

• Show prospective employers you’re honest. Confirm the information on your resume through verification services to prove your experience and education. (According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, three in ten people think it is okay to misrepresent something on a resume.)

• Control your career data. Know what’s out there about you and proactively fix any issues that arise in your background information.

[See 6 Creative Ways to Showcase Your Resume Online.]

You can easily and quickly verify your background online using any of the following tools:

1. TalentShield: Create a profile with your full name, email address, work history, education history, and professional licenses, and TalentShield verifies the information you’ve provided.

What’s verified? For starters, your identity (first and last name) and employment (employer, job title, dates). Additionally, education (level, degree, attendance dates, and institution), and certifications (ID number, state, status and certification name) are verified to save recruiters and employers the time of doing it themselves. Typically, your information can be verified as accurate (or not) within 72 hours.

Once verified, you can share your profile with employers by putting it on your resume, posting it on social media profiles or emailing it directly to a prospective employer.

The basic service is free (at least for now), and two other paid packages are available for additional verification needs.

[See How to Use Twitter to Change Careers.]

2. BeenVerified: BeenVerified easily and inexpensively provides access to public records information through its website and several mobile phone applications. No longer are large corporations the only ones who can afford background checks. “BeenVerified believes that access to public records is a tool that you should have access to at all times,” says its website.

For a limited time, BeenVerified is offering unlimited searches for new trial customers. You still need to provide credit card information, but can cancel the free trial at anytime.

3. CVCertify: “Like Carfax for Careers,” CVCertify validates your career history through a ProofSheet, a product that validates your information and allows you to share it throughout your career. It also helps you leverage your professional network by identifying which connections will support your job search.

[See Ignore These 10 Outdated Pieces of Career Advice.]

4. Social Intelligence: Pre-employment background screening is often done through search engines and social media, a practice that hasn’t quite been perfected by HR professionals and recruiters yet. “Social Intelligence Hiring effectively removes the liability, leaving just the benefit for both employers and job candidates,” the Social Intelligence website says. By using Social Intelligence, job candidates are protected from discrimination and employers won’t see things that could weigh in on their hiring decision and discriminate against potential candidates.

Would you pre-verify your background information as a job seeker? Why or why not? Have you used any of the above online tools?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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