With record-high numbers of people seeking jobs, the amount of online resume-posting websites has skyrocketed. This article will teach you how to protect your electronic privacy when you post your resume on the Internet.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2011 there were 14.0 million unemployed workers in the United States. Given that statistic, it’s easy to see that competition in the world of online job searches is fierce. If you’re one of the millions of candidates using online resume posting as a job-search method, your electronic privacy may be at risk.
Posting online resumes can compromise your electronic privacy.
Posting your resume online places your electronic privacy at risk in a variety of ways:
- Your private information may be viewable by people you never intended to see it.
- Current job market conditions have given rise to phishers and other Internet scammers who gather personal information for unethical purposes.
- If you already have a job, you risk having your current company discover that you’re seeking other employment.
- You may be leaving yourself open to spam.
- Your resume may contain enough information to allow an identity thief to begin setting up accounts in your name.
When you post an online resume, it’s natural that you want to put your best foot forward with employers so they’ll hire you. After you’ve carefully crafted the best possible resume, it may seem self-defeating to be cagey about your private information.
So how can you strike a balance between submitting a powerful online resume and protecting your electronic privacy?
Protect your Internet privacy on online job boards.
There are thousands of online job boards on the Web. Some, like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, have been around for years and are well known. Others are newer sites that may not have a recognizable name.
Remove private information
Job boards typically allow you to complete an electronic version of your resume, as well as upload a PDF or DOC format for storage. In order to protect your Internet privacy, it’s essential that when you store resumes online you remove as much of your private information as possible.
- Never provide personal data like your date of birth, Social Security number, home address or any financial information on electronic resumes.
- Post your city and state or region in place of sharing your home address.
- Instead of using your personal email address for your contact information, set up a separate job search email through a free email program like Gmail or Yahoo, and supply that as your main method of communication.
- You might also want to consider setting up a separate job search phone number through Skype or another affordable online VoIP service in order to further protect your digital privacy.
Make sure that if you upload a PDF or DOC version of your resume that you have removed personal data as well.
Manage privacy controls
Many online job boards have privacy controls that allow you to select who sees your resume and how much information they receive about you. Opt for maximum privacy by selecting the option that hides identifying data when employers search your resume, or if you plan to use the job board to submit your resume for specific job postings only, choose the privacy controls option that keeps your resume entirely private.
Keep the name of your current company off your resume if you don’t want your employer to know you’re searching for a new job. Instead of posting your company’s name on your resume, select a descriptive phrase such as “an industrial automation products manufacturing company” or “a major national bank.”
If you’re working with an unknown job board, do some research to see what you can learn about the site before posting an online resume. Avoid job boards that lack privacy controls and the ability to secure personal data. Don’t rely on safety seals like BBB (Better Business Bureau) that are shown on the site without first clicking on the image to see if it actually goes through to the certifying site. Once you’ve clicked through, check the URL in your browser window to make sure it’s the actual site’s URL. You can confirm the correct site address through a quick Google search.
Safeguard your online privacy in online classifieds.
Your Internet privacy may also be at risk when you respond to online classified ads with an email and a copy of your electronic resume. Craigslist frequently warns of fake job postings and scams aimed at collecting your private information.
Follow the same safety rules for resumes you email to unknown entities as you would for online postings, especially if you’re responding to blind ads. Blind ads that contain nonspecific details, that ask you respond to a randomized, site-assigned email address and that don’t name the employer may pose a risk to your online security, so be careful of the information you submit. Wherever possible, try to go to the employer’s website and submit an online application through the site rather than responding to an ad with an email.
Fix what’s already online.
If you’ve already posted resumes online that fall outside the above recommendations, you can still protect your Internet safety. Start by returning to online job boards where you’ve posted your resume to remove identifying information and to change your privacy options. Track where you’ve posted your resume by using a spreadsheet or other document. Once you’ve completed your job search, go back and remove your resume from those sites. If you want additional peace of mind, consider online privacy protection, which monitors and removes your private information from the Internet.
Posting your resume with online job boards is an effective career development strategy. However, be sure to protect your digital privacy by carefully controlling the information you supply to potential employers.