There is a lot of misinformation out there in regards to the effects bankruptcy can have on your life. Many mistakenly believe that filing bankruptcy will hinder their employment prospects. But the truth is that filing bankruptcy sends a positive message to potential employers—you recognized your financial challenges and took decisive action to deal with them. Don’t let this common misconception keep you from moving forward and taking the necessary steps to secure your financial freedom.
Below are a few things you should do when applying for employment after bankruptcy:
- Talk to insiders. Talk to former and current employees about how the employer feels about people who’ve filed bankruptcy. While most employers aren’t bothered by it, confirming that fact with people who’ve worked for the company can go a long way to easing your concerns.
- Don’t center it. Even if you just exited bankruptcy yesterday, there’s no reason to mention it in your cover letter. Focus on the skills and experiences that will add value to the employer, not the financial challenges you’ve faced in the past.
- Mention it before the credit check. Since most employers do credit checks before hiring, it may be wise to casually mention your bankruptcy before they run your credit. This may be especially important if you’re applying for a position that deals with money such as a bank teller or financial advisor. But just because you’re dealing with money doesn’t mean that your financial past has to be perfect. Make sure that you make it clear that you’ve filed bankruptcy in past but that you’ve greatly improved your finances since then.
- Remember the law. It is not legal for any local, state, or federal government agency to take your bankruptcy into consideration when deciding whether to hire you. However, no such law exists for the private sector. However, because bankruptcy is so common, few employers view it as a negative mark against the candidate.
- Stop the Shame. Interviews are all about you demonstrating confidence in your skills and ability to succeed at the job. If you are too busy beating yourself up or being embarrassed about your past financial failures you will not be able to put your best self forward.
“Interviews are all about you demonstrating confidence in your skills and ability to succeed at the job.”
If you’re looking for employment after bankruptcy, don’t let fear of being judged stop you. Remember many of us have faced financial hardships in our pasts, perhaps even the person interviewing you. Employers often interview candidates that have filed bankruptcy and most employers won’t let it impact their assessment of you.