tough job market out there. Protecting my privacy is a luxury I
can't afford right now." WRONG!
are a valuable, highly sought-after commodity. Protect your privacy
by protecting your resume (or "profile"). Be very choosy
about where you leave your resume. It could save the job you have
now and in the future. Choosing
a Job Site is a section of Job-Hunt that should help you make
the best possible web job site choices. The Internet
Resume section should help you with your resume.
the TRUSTe and BBBOnline (Privacy) Seals
Whenever you find one of the privacy organizations' seals on a site, be sure to click on it to verify that it is real. Scammy/scummy sites may display privacy seals that they are not authorized to display. It's easy to verify whether or not the seal is authorized, but you MUST click on the seal to do it.
That seal should be linked to a page on the seal organization's Website which specifically names the sits which displayed the seal, and states that the linked site is entitled to post the seal because they comply with the program. If the link takes you to the seal organization's home page, another page of the seal organization's site which does not name the originating site, or to an error page, the link is not genuine, and the site which displays it is NOT to be trusted!
TRUSTe or BBBOnline logo does not guarantee
that a site will protect your privacy! It does means
that they disclose their true practices to you, and offer a reliable method of "opting out" of their system.
Because online privacy is such a serious issue, services that audit
and are becoming increasingly visible and useful.
In light of
a report by Pam
Dixon (Sept. 5, 2001) for the Privacy Foundation, which seems
to indicate practices of industry giant Monster.com were counter
to Monster's own posted Privacy Commitment, the need for a trusted
third party audit services is obvious. Unfortunately, few Web job
sites use them now. Over time, we believe that will change and sites
will be more open about, and more accountable for, what they do
with your data, although it will take time, consumer education,
and, perhaps, new laws.
Some sites show
a green "TRUSTe" logo, indicating that they have joined the
Trust-E organization and comply with the TRUSTe program's requirements. Be sure to click on the Trust-E logo (or go
to the site -- http://www.truste.org)
to verify that the Web site is authorized to use the logo.
(Privacy) is a similar service from the Better Business Bureau,
which is a much older organization. Again, click on the BBBOnline
logo posted on the job site to verify the Web site's participation
in the BBB program.
Since the Monster Board subscribed to BBBOnline/Privacy,
the effectiveness of BBBOnline is hazy.
- What information
will the Web site collect?
They should indicate the information that they will be collecting,
particularly the "individually identifiable information"
like your name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, etc.
- To whom
will the site disclose (or "share") information about
It is not uncommon for Web sites to gather and "aggregate"
(combine anonymous data) information about their visitors to help
them manage their Web site (e.g. which browsers are being used?
what monitor resolution dominates? etc.). This information is
useful in the aggregate only, and relatively harmless to you personally.
However, you will probably disclose a great deal of "individually
identifiable" information (address, education, experience,
job level, career goals, etc.) about yourself in the course of
applying for a job. That information could be very useful to a
third party trying to sell you something. Web sites that have
such information can easily find a market where someone wants
to purchase it.
If they sell or share such information about you, like your e-mail
address or phone numbers, they should disclose that intention
is OK with you (see the paragraph below). If you don't like it,
go to another Web site (see Choosing
a Job Site for more information).
- Will they
sell the information that they collect?
If you don't like to receive unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail
(also known as "spam") and the site policy tells
you that they are selling contact information and/or e-mail addresses,
this should send up all kinds of red flags!
Evaluate the privacy vs. SPAM tradeoff, and see if there is another
site the can offer the same level of service without selling your
If you believe that this is the only site for you to use, you
should establish a special e-mail account for this site (i.e.
a Yahoo.com or HotMail.com, etc. account) and disguise (or leave
out) as much contact information as you can. Just remember to
access the new e-mail account on a regular basis in case a potential
employer tries to reach you through it.
Who's got the cookies?
You do, most probably, on your computer's hard drive, and the
that is placed on your computer's hard drive to be retrieved by
the browser) to keep track of where you have been and what you
have done so that you don't get lost on their site. If you have
a "MyMonster," "MyYahoo," etc. account at
to make the link between you and your resume, for example.
In most cases, cookies are harmless. For example, cookies are
used to keep track of how often you visit (information usually
aggregated with others as a measure of site effectiveness), what
advertisers you visited from the site (so that the web site owner
can get compensated for "sending" you to the advertiser's
Web site, if/when you go there), what pages you viewed at the
Web site (helps the Web site owner improve the site), what products
you purchased (cookies make the "shopping cart" work),
etc. Many sites cannot work without cookies!
- Opt Out?
They should provide their contact information, or at least
an e-mail address, so that can you "opt out" of participation
in whatever they provide. For e-mailed newsletters, this would
be the address you contact to "un-subscribe" from the
issues with Privacy Policies:
Privacy Policies are violated by sites where the policies are
not distributed widely within the organization. So site employees
although the impact on visitors trusting the policy is the same
regardless of intent.
Obviously, this is an area of cyberspace that is still under development.
The legal system is catching up and most commercial Web site owners
understand the necessity of having a "trusted" environment,
so we are headed in the right direction.
Don't be discouraged; just be careful.
a Job Site can be tough, and should be approached carefully.
Read this section of Job-Hunt.Org before you start posting your
resume at any job sites.
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.
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