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You’d probably check your credit score before shopping for a house or car, so why not apply the same strategy to your job search? Since 90 percent of U.S. companies run a criminal background check on applicants, making sure your record is clean and accurate will give you peace of mind, or prepare you for questions you may be asked. FingerprintsYou can hire an agency like Been Verified, some of which provide a free app or initial search. Or, you can conduct your own investigation by requesting a report from the various parties involved. It may take some time and effort, but you’ll ensure the accuracy of the information by contacting the original reporting sources. Plus, you can counter any inaccurate reports or employer concerns by producing a bona fide report.

Background Check Components

To get you started, here are the aspects to think about: Credit You’re entitled to a free report each year from the three major reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. For more, see Credit Report Assistance. Motor Vehicle Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, in California you can get a copy of your DMV record for $5 at the local office or by mailing a check and a request form. For information from your state, see DMVUSA.com. Criminal Request a copy of your criminal record from the Department of Justice or by contacting the courthouse in areas where you have resided over the last 10 years. You may need to submit fingerprints to get your report. Fingerprinting services are available at most local police departments or sheriff's offices, or any private facility that provides Live Scan services. Also, remember to search area sex offender registries and prison databases since background agencies often check those records. Education Request a certified copy of your transcripts or technical certifications by contacting your college or training center. Employment Verification Touch base with old bosses and the HR departments at previous employers to make sure their employment dates and salaries are accurate and match your resume and online profile. Social Media Google yourself and remove offensive pictures and comments from your personal pages and profiles. If you don’t have time to research and scrub, hire a third party like Persona or Reputation.com to do it for you. The bottom line: Don’t wait until an offer is on the table. See what employers see by running a background investigation on yourself before you apply for a job.