There are "bogus" job sites interested only in collecting your personal information - no real jobs available. Just forms to complete with as much information as you will supply. In addition, the scammers of the world have discovered that legitimate job sites will allow "employers" to search through the resume/applicant database and keep copies of resumes.
Here are some methods of protecting your privacy while conducting an online job search.
do you protect your privacy when job hunting online?
the personal contact information (name, address, phone numbers)
on your resume. (See Job-Hunt's "Cyber-Safe
Resume" section for help.)
Yes, it may make you a little more difficult for an employer
to reach you. But it also makes you look more Internet-savvy,
and it protects you and your family from the risks above. Your
- Be picky
about where you post your resume. (See Job-Hunt's "Choosing
a Job Site" article for help.)
Post your resume only where you are reasonably sure it will
be protected, at a site with your preferred employers or the best
job listings for you. Focus on posting at a few really good sites
rather than many mediocre sites.
- When the
option is available, choose to limit access to your complete resume,
unless you are using the cyber-safe
version of your resume.
Most job sites allow you to choose the level of visibility for
your resume. The levels can include:
open. Anyone (job seeker and employer/recruiter) can
see your complete resume. This is the least secure, and least
desirable, option. Avoid these sites, or be sure to use the
cyber-safe version of your resume if you feel you must use
a site like this.
by "employers" only. Employers/recruiters, or anyone
willing to pay the fee for access to the resume database,
will see your full resume. Good for marketing your skills
and experience to employers, but don't take the risk unless
you are using the cyber-safe version of your resume with your
contact information disguised or deleted ("cyber-safe").
searchable but with your contact information blocked by the
job site. Employers/recruiters (or anyone willing to pay)
can see everything on your resume, except your contact information.
If a potential employer is interested in you, the job site
notifies you about the employer's interest so that you can
contact the employer. Good for marketing your skills and experience
and good for your privacy, too! Use the cyber-safe version
of your resume here, too, just to ensure that your contact
information is safe.
your resume is excluded from the searchable resume database.
This provides you with the most security and privacy, but
doesn't allow an employer to find you. It would be the safest
option for someone who is employed and protecting his or her
a log of where and when you posted your resume on a job site or
employer Web site.
It doesn't have to be fancy, just effective. A hand-written
list with the date and site will work. If possible, keep track
of which version of your resume you posted (helpful for updating
and tracking contacts). It will also enable you to end your job
search after you land your new job. (See Keeping
Track of Your Job Search for more tips.)
use resume distribution services!
You completely lose control of your resume, whether it is distributed
via e-mail or posted to a number of Web sites. You don't know
who has it or what they might do with it, and it makes you look
desperate and/or inexperienced.
If you feel that you absolutely must use a resume distribution
service, distribute only the cyber-safe
version of your resume.
provide your Social Security Number (including your Driver's License, if your SSN is the same as your license number), your bank account number, or your mother's maiden name
to anyone approaching you about a potential job.
A person with a copy of your resume and your Social Security
Number has everything they need to steal your identity - the #1
fraud, according to the FBI. Don't help them by providing that
last bit of information. There is no reason to include
your SSN on your resume!
Many credit card issuers use your mother's maiden name as a "password"
identifying you to them, so someone with that name can access
your credit card accounts (to get cash, etc.).
If a stranger approaches you (via phone, e-mail, or regular mail)
claiming to need a little more information to do an employment
"background check," "prescreening," or something
similar, and asks you for your Social Security Number or your
mother's maiden name, do not give it to them. This approach
has been used by identity thieves to collect information from
In general, the safest time to provide anyone with your Social
Security Number is only when you are completing an IRS form at
the employer's physical location, after you have accepted their
job offer. Your SSN may, very rarely, be needed for a background
check, but few employers spend the time/money for a background
check on an applicant who has not been interviewed.
If the request feels "fishy" to you, follow your instincts,
and don't provide the information they are requesting.
- Look for, and READ, Web site privacy policies! (See Job-Hunt's Evaluating Privacy Policies article for help.)
NOTE: a privacy seal (e.g. TRUSTe or BBBonline) does NOT mean that a site is "safe" to use - it just means that they disclose what information they collect and what they do with it.
and we don't think this problem is limited to just one or two sites,
Monster is arguably the major
employment super site. However, on 9-5-2001, a Pam Dixon compiled
a serious report
on Monster's privacy practices that, if accurate, indicated
very bad practices. So, if you choose to use ANY job site, be VERY
careful! Follow Job-Hunt's cyber-safe
resume guidelines, use a 3rd party e-mail address, and be extremely
cautious about any personally identifiable information you share
with any job site.
discouraged, but DO be careful!
a Job Site is something to be approached very cautiously.
Read that Job-Hunt article before you start posting your resume
at any job sites.
© Copyright, 1998 - 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author...
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+
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