If you're applying for a corporate job, there's a good chance your potential employer will run a background check on you. Here are tips for how to prepare:
Credit reports: As early in the process as possible, get copies of your credit reports from the three major agencies. Look for errors or charges you dispute, and then contact the credit bureau or creditors to get matters resolved before your prospective employer sees the charges.
Do it yourself: Search for yourself online. Clean up your pages on Facebook and other social networking sites to remove items that may not reflect well on you. If there are unflattering references elsewhere, contact the website owners to request that they be removed.
Alert friends and associates: If you think your prospective employer may be contacting people you know, give them a heads up. "This helps avoid suspicion and alerts you to possible problems," said the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit information and advocacy group in San Diego.
Pay for your own: If you're wondering what a background check might unearth, pay a professional to have one done on you. There are numerous companies that do the checks. If you can, get a recommendation from a corporate executive whose firm has had a good experience with a background checker.