Not landing that job? It might be your credit score holding you back

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A background check might be holding some people back from a new job, and it's not the background check you probably think it is.

CNA Briana Williams appreciates her job because of the struggle she went through to land it.

"I love it," Williams said. "It's amazing. I love my job. I totally love my job."

It's a CNA position she didn't think was possible four years ago.

"I was in a shelter," Williams recalled. "I had no clue what my next step was going to be, and I had three children depending on me."

One thing holding Williams back was her credit score.

"When you start applying it's like, 'Well, you know, you just don't suit us because of your credit score,'" Williams recalled.

Williams discovered the United Way's THRIVE program, which helped improve her credit score. A study shows nearly 30% of employers check credit when hiring candidates.

"It's actually even higher percentage of employers who do look at credit scores as part of a background check," United Way of Greater Houston, president, Amanda McMillan explained.

Here are some ways to improve your score:

  • Set payment reminders.
  • Make multiple monthly credit card payments.
  • Don't apply for a lot of credit cards at once.
  • Pay down maxed out credit cards first.

Also, if you don't have credit, look for ways to get some.

"You may be doing a great job of meeting your financial obligations every month, but if the credit agencies don't see that then you just don't have a record," McMillan said. "So finding products and services you can use to actually show up."

It may take some time to see improvements, but Williams knows it's worth it. Now, with a better credit score, she has her dream job which has changed her family's lives.

"I'm renting a home right now, so my children have their own space," Williams said. "That's been awesome. Not cramped up in a small spot."

If you're interested in the THRIVE program, you can call 211, or you can contact our ABC13 hotline at 713-243-6663.

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