Think About a Background Check as You Write a Resume

Isn’t the first step of obtaining employment sending out your resume? The first true step, however, is actually having a resume. And while an individual should take applying for a job one step at a time, make sure you connect the beginning with the end. And, in employment, this means thinking about your background check as you write your resume or fill out an application.

Gone are the days when every applicant was expected to list every single position held. Rather, employers prefer skills-specific information. List only relevant past and present positions and tailor your words – and your skills – to the job to which you are applying. If, on the other hand, an employer requests that you fill out an application, list all positions held, relevant or not. If not, your background check won’t match your application.

An employer conducting a background check requests more than criminal history. The hiring manager compares the information from the background check with the job titles, salary information, and duties listed on your resume or application. With an application, particularly, an employer will look for gaps in employment. Even if no gaps are present, the hiring manager will still check for employment dates and job titles.

A background check is often one of the final pieces of information in a hiring decision. Yet, once a candidate has gotten in the door and through various levels of interviews, the background check simply screens each individual for honesty. With the state of the economy, resume embellishing – or outright dishonesty – and fake degrees and references are increasing, and a hiring manager needs to be on the lookout for such flags.

As cliché as it sounds, being yourself – as in, being honest from the start – and not putting on a façade of unearned success can only increase your chances of employment. Otherwise, you’ll end up at the final stages of the application process, only to be rescinded an offer as the result of your background check.