Since most job searches and job applications are now an online process, it has become vital to take steps to preserve your identity when sending resumes. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the less is more approach applies here. Legitimate companies and job posting sites will not require more information until an actual interview is about to take place. Here’s how to protect your identity while hunting for a job online.
Creating a Safe Professional Resume
Old school paper applications required lots of personal information that is no longer needed during an initial search. The less you provide outside of your name and a contact source, the better. While it is important for your resume to be read and taken seriously, there are limits to what information companies can ask for and what you should provide. Here is some information you might think is necessary but Norton, the online security software firm, says should not be included in your resume or any online form. These recommendations apply whether you are submitting an advanced experience professional resume or it’s your first job search.
Also, keep in mind that if you are uncomfortable sharing certain information not listed here, you should always follow your instincts.
Personal Contact Information on Your Resume
A general rule of thumb, no one should be sharing their home address or personal phone number on any social media platform or on a resume. While this might seem obvious, it is worth repeating that regardless of any privacy setting you have, one wrong share can expose your information to anyone. Your resume does not even have to include your full name, so you definitely do not need to provide addresses and phone numbers. Stick with just your city and state and skip the full street address.
It is never wise to share your actual birthdate online, for any reason, including a resume. A birthdate gives hackers and easy “in” to your identity. Well-informed companies and job sites are not going to ask for your birthdate as this can lead to age-based profiling. The same goes for gender or racial information. Any information, outside of basic job qualifications or experience, is not needed to determine viability for employment. Lastly, never include your social security number. When you are hired, all that information can be provided to human resources.
Job Search Site Security
The first security feature you want to look for on any job site is that their url is prefaced with “https”. Many job hunt sites, especially those catering to the professional, offer share-limiting options that can further protect your privacy while still giving you access to job opportunities to help with career mobility.
Yes, it is important to have your resume read and considered as the start of many careers today are dependent upon exposure to the right sources. However, making a resume available to everyone on a job site is not necessarily prudent use of the arena. Try also to submit resumes directly to the person in charge of reviewing candidates whenever possible.
Consider Job Search Dedicated Contact Information
First, as part of the job-hunting process, you will want to keep a running log of sites to which you have submitted your professional resume. Next, whether you are in the midst of changing careers or just looking for upward movement in your current field, think about acquiring temporary or job-search only contact sources.
A convenient and safe way for any interested employer to contact you could be through a dedicated mobile phone number and email. Temporary mobile numbers are inexpensive and can even be part of your current phone service. All email platforms allow for more than one email address on personal accounts. This might also be a good time to adopt a more professional email address using just your name, in some form, as the base. Doing this also limits your exposure to scams ending up in your regular email.
While a resume distribution site may seem tempting, avoiding this option is probably wise. Such services are not as discriminating as you would be in providing your resume, leading to unwanted contacts from companies in which you have no interest. Also, such mass access exposes you to online security risks. Seeking jobs online is a necessity today, but your resume should only go to companies for which you want to work.
Career and Education Information
As with all the items mentioned here, resumes do not need to include details related to your education and or career experience. In other words, you do not need to mention your employers, especially current employers or educational institutions by name. All of those details can be discussed during an actual interview.
Your resume can include terms like “Large Multi-National Company” or “Ivy League University” in place of the name. Then focus on your actual experience and fields of study. Job search privacy applies to all areas of the job hunt. Hackers are very clever and can often use the smallest detail to secure identity and no one wants to be a victim to that.
Another common practice in today’s online job-seeking community is to network with friends on social media about job hunts. While connections can be key to advancement in any career, you do want to be careful how and with who you share that you are looking to change jobs. Being selective is critical in this area. An instant message to one or two well-connected contacts in your field is probably a wiser choice than an all-call, open Facebook post.
If you need to hang on to your current position until you are hired by another firm, keeping your search on a need-to-know basis is the best option. The chance of your current employer finding out that you are looking to change jobs before you are ready to give notice probably does not serve a productive purpose.
Just as you have become more careful about what you post on social media, anything you post openly can be shared and is not always beneficial to your goals. The bottom line, proceed with caution on all social media platforms.
Using a Resume Writing Service
As with anything, it helps to know your limitations and if writing is not your strong suit, hiring a professional to polish your resume might be something to consider. For those wishing to move from the technical side of a profession into management, a well-written resume could mean the difference between being considered or not. There are pros and cons to hiring a resume writing service.
Addressing the pros first, the major plus to using a resume writing service is that you are usually guaranteed a quality product that has a better chance at consideration. This is an important factor because every time a resume is read the opportunity for an interview could increase. Professional management candidates are expected to sound polished and well-spoken which is what any resume should convey.
As for the cons, professional writing services are not free and can be costly. If someone is currently unemployed, spending upwards of $100 on a resume is probably not possible. The good news is that any basic writing software has resume templates to follow. Also, most writing software has excellent spelling and grammar checks built in to help even novice writers. Likewise, there are grammar check websites that offer a free basic review of any text.
Ultimately, of course, you will have to decide whether the cost of a professionally written resume is worth the expense. If you opt for a professional writing service, do your homework as they are not all created equal. Should you decide to write your own resume, you should review samples and have someone whose skills you trust review it before you submit.
At the end of the day, you are conducting a job hunt because you want a change, for any number of reasons. In today’s world, most employment searches begin online. The virtual world has created a convenient way for employers and employees to be matched without the time investment needed in the recent past. Also, because of time constraints, most human resource managers need a more efficient way to navigate the many candidates who apply for any given position.
Yes, you should take advantage of online employment hunts, but remember your identity protection is up to you, so be cautious. Good luck in finding the perfect position.