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Should you avoid a bankruptcy because of your career?

Can filing bankruptcy hurt your chances of finding a job? Maybe, but it could depend more on what position you're trying to get and how you handle the interview process. But before you let worries about the future stop you from dealing with your past, this is what you should consider.

1. Most of the damage to your credit is already done.

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy, the odds are good that most of the damage to your credit is already done. Not filing for bankruptcy isn't going to improve your situation.

On the other hand, what scares many employers isn't so much the idea that you have financial problems—it's the idea that you aren't taking responsibility for the problems. A bankruptcy can show your prospective employer that you're taking the necessary steps to resolve your financial crisis.

2. You are less of a financial risk after bankruptcy than before.

Someone who is underwater financially is actually more of a risk for companies that deal with sensitive consumer information or high-end commodities than someone who has already filed for bankruptcy.

Once you've filed bankruptcy, particularly a Chapter 7, you're likely to be debt free—which could make you less of a security risk than someone who is still trying to avoid the reality of their financial situation. Employers may be less worried that you could be bribed into giving away confidential information or tempted into theft than someone who is still deeply in debt.

3. Employers are looking for honesty, not perfection.

Some employers report that around 42 percent of the credit checks that they run on prospective employees have issues. That indicates that they're prepared to see problems with finances.

The real question is whether or not you are willing to be forthright with your prospective employer about your past financial problems. If an employer tells you that he or she plans to run a background check, ask what is involved. If it includes a credit check, be honest about what they will find there and offer a short explanation of what led to the bankruptcy, whether it was college expenses or a family member's illness. Employers are human beings and can understand your situation.

Whatever your fears, consider discussing the situation with a bankruptcy attorney. You may quickly discover that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a far better career move than continuing to drown in debt.

Source: Monster.com, "Past Bankruptcy Can Haunt Your Job Hunt," Dona DeZube, accessed Jan. 04, 2017

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