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Creating Your Cyber-Safe Resume

By Susan P. Joyce

Put the "Safe" in your Cyber-SAFE Resume by modifying the content of your resume!

Take control and create your own privacy protection this way, without depending on the Web job site to do it for you.

Do this to protect your existing job, if you have one, and your privacy.

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As your resume circulates in cyberspace over time, your Cyber-Safe Resume will protect your identity and, possibly, your future employment many years from now.

In some recruitment circles, job seekers who protect their identity are more desirable than those who don't. The assumption made, often, is that you are employed and have an existing job that you are protecting.

However, in many cases, the Cyber-Safe Resume may make it a bit more difficult for the recruiter or potential employer to reach you, at least initially, because of the limited contact information. So, it is a trade-off -- privacy for security -- and your choice, obviously.

How to Make Your Resume "Cyber-Safe"--

1. Minize contact information.

Limiting access to your contact information makes it harder for your identity to be stolen or for your employer to discover your job search.

Remove your standard "contact information" from your online resume or profile --

  • Your home and/or work address(es).
  • Your home and/or work phone number(s).
  • Your work e-mail address (big NO-NO!).
  • Your personal e-mail address if it is associated with a detailed profile on you (as in AOL, etc.).

Replace the standard contact information with --

  • Your personal cell phone number, assuming that it is unlisted (be sure it rolls over to a personal voicemail account if you don't answer).
  • Your personal e-mail address that is unconnected with either your home or your work, like one of the Web-based e-mail addresses (gmail, Yahoo mail, etc.) or perhaps a permanent college "alumni" email address from your college, assuming it is not associated with a public profile.

Do NOT use a goofy e-mail address (e.g. hotstuff@example.com) or your messages will probably be deleted unread.

Use the e-mail address as an opportunity to do some marketing and some differentiating - like sjones-web-pro@example.com or sjones-MBA@example.com.

2. Carefully modify your employment history.

Don't misrepresent what you do, but do disguise some of the information if it would be easy for someone to identify who you are and where you work.

Particularly for your current job, modify the information to minimize the possibility that your existing employer will find your resume when searching through a job board's resume database and fire you.

Remove your current employer's name; replace it with an accurate, but generic, description --

  • "Nuts n' Bolts Distributors, Inc." changes into "construction supplies distribution company."
  • "IBM" becomes "multinational information technology company"

If your job title is unique, replace your title with, again, an accurate, but generic" title --

  • "New England Regional Gadget Marketing Director" becomes "multi-state marketing manager of gadget-class products"

3. Remove any other information which can be related directly ONLY to your current employer.

Delete specific, traceable information like a state or federal license number, trademark, servicemark, patent, or other keywords uniquely specific to your employer.

For more help with your Internet resume, like adding keywords to your resume, see the other Job-Hunt Internet Resume articles.

You increase the probability of a confidential job search by being very selective about where you post your resume. See Job-Hunt's sections on Choosing a Job Site and Protecting Your Privacy for tips and guidance.

Read Job-Hunt's article Guide to Avoiding Job Scams for tips on avoiding scams in your job search.


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. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2012, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and onGoogle+.