Privacy and Your Job Search

Are you doing all you should to protect your privacy in the job search? Circulating your resume is a standard activity for all job searches but that information is valuable to people who have less-than-honorable intentions. You should minimize exposure to potential identity theft by following these tips provided by the World Privacy Forum concerning job search.

-Do not use a job search site, a resume writing service, a resume distribution service, or any job search service that does not have a posted privacy policy on its Web site. 

-No credible employer ever needs your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mother’s maiden name, or identifying characteristics such as eye color. If an employer requests these items from you, don’t give them the information even if they tell you it is required and not providing it will eliminate you from consideration.

-If you plan on purchasing services from a commercial job site or writing service, look for a privacy policy that details how that service will handle your credit card data. 

-Some legitimate online job application sites and employment kiosks may sometimes ask for your Social Security Number and date of birth prior to posting a resume or applying for a job. Some of these sites conduct instant Social Security Number matching or background checks on your information to verify it. It is appropriate for you to allow a serious employer to use your SSN and date of birth to conduct a background check after you have engaged in the interview process. (Career Resume note – be VERY careful in providing this information prior to an interview. Background checks are expensive and are generally not used by employers unless they are serious about you as a candidate. Employers who claim it’s part of their application process should be scrutinized further.) 

-Cookies that are deposited on your computer from third party companies such as an advertising network may track your activities over many Web sites. Set your browser to not accept any third party cookies. 

-Research found that most sites allow you to look at job ads using anonymizing services. By all means, take advantage of this. 

-Even the most careful, conscientious sites cannot control your resume after an employer or recruiter has downloaded it. 

-The more general the email job offer, the less valid it usually is. (Career Resumes note – if you receive a job OFFER via email, reply back and ask them to call you in person to make a verbal offer or overnight a written offer to you. Job offers via email are suspect.) 

-If you are going to post a resume online, this (posting anonymously) should be the only way you post it. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, provide only your first initial, last name, and your email address for contact information. 

-Take the time to look for and read the privacy policy of that site (online database) and query the site owner with any privacy concerns. 

-Before you post a resume, check to make sure you can delete your resume after you have posted it. 

-If you post a resume to a resume database and receive unsolicited email other than from legitimate employers or recruiters, be sure to notify the site where you have your resume posted and tell them you have received the email. 

-Keep good records. 

-Post your resume sparingly. Focus on quality, not quantity. 

-Use a disposable email address. 

-Omit references on your resume. 

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