In the digital age, job hunting has become both much simpler and much more complex. Gone are the days of buying expensive stationary to print your resume on and mailing it off to a potential employer. Now you can upload your resume in an instant and in some cases, receive a response within hours. But with this added convenience comes the challenge of protecting your personal information and keeping your job search quiet if you’re already employed.
Here are some suggestions for maintaining your privacy while job hunting:
Avoid Public or Office Computers
First rule of any job search: don’t use current employer time or resources to search for another job. When you consider the fact that your current employer has access to all of your email, internet, and telephone communications, it becomes clear that using company equipment to conduct your job search is a bad idea. Additionally, if you have to use a public computer at a library, you run the risk of exposing some of your personal information. Use a private home computer whenever possible.
First rule of any job search: don’t use current employer time or resources to search for another job.
Check Your Social Media Sites
Beware of the content that a potential employer might find on your social media sites. Better yet, be overly cautious about what you post in the first place, so you don’t have to go back and scrub your account or delete it entirely when job hunting. You should also limit the personal information that is on your profile and maintain the highest privacy settings. This is important to pay attention to regardless of your employment status.
Limit the Information You Include on Your Resume
In addition to limiting the personal information that is available online, you also want to limit the personal information that you put on your resume. Since most resumes are submitted electronically today, including your name, address, and phone number at the top can put you at risk for identity theft if the “employer” is a scam artist, or if your documents are intercepted during transmission. Provide an email address or cell phone number as a contact and leave your address off. If you progress through the hiring process, that information can be provided later.
Provide an email address or cell phone number as a contact and leave your address off.
Maintain a List of Places You Posted Your Application
If you do post your resume on a job site, pay close attention to the privacy settings. There are plenty of data farms and scammers that will pull entire batches of resumes off popular job sites to gain access to your personal information. This is a big reason to keep your home address and other personal information off your resume. Check the privacy policies of any job-seeking websites and maintain a list of all the sites that you did post your job to. When you land a position, you can then go back and remove your resume from the site.
Check the privacy policies of any job-seeking websites and maintain a list of all the sites that you did post your job to.
Set Up a VPN for Secure Communication
If you get to the point in the interview process that you do have to start sending resumes and personal information to a potential employer for background checks and other screenings, you want to set up a secure VPN connection to keep your information safe when submitting documents.
Beware of Scams
Job sites are the newest place for scammers to try and get your information. They will use the information to reach out to you under the pretence that they are offering you a job, then set up a fake interview process and offer of employment. Then they will collect your personal information claiming it’s part of setting up your payroll or performing a background check. Do a quick internet search of the company name and verify that email extensions or phone numbers are legitimate. You can even call the company’s HR department to verify that the position you’re applying for is currently available. If you can’t independently verify the position, avoid submitting personal information.
Protecting your personal information while job hunting is becoming a bigger concern each day. Following these tips will help you to maintain your privacy while you’re seeking your next big career move.