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Protecting Your Identity and Privacy While Job Hunting

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According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints for the 15th year in a row and represents 13% of all complaints. Job Search can put you at risk, since you’re giving out personal information to a lot of people. There are steps you can take to ensure you don’t become a victim of identity theft or otherwise compromise your privacy because you are looking for a job. Protecting your privacy while job hunting is as simple as taking some basic precautions to keep your personal information safe.

Limit the Information You Make Public: Resumes and job applications generally requires lot of personal data. Detailed personal information should only be required once your offered the job (generally for background checks) or once you’re hired. Some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for your resume and job applications:

  • Don’t Include:
    • Your Social Security number
    • Driver’s license number
    • Passport number
    • Your work telephone number (unless your employer knows you are looking for a job)
    • Your work email address
    • Personal references – these can be supplied when you get the job offer
    • Your Facebook or other social network links
  • Do Include:
    • Job experience
    • Your main telephone numbers (cell and home)
    • Your personal email address (you may want to consider creating an email address just for job search)
    • A link to your LinkedIn profile (but ensure your LinkedIn profile adheres to this list as well)


Do Your Research – Know who is Getting Your Information: Just about everyone posts their resume online when job searching to ensure they will be seen by recruiters and hiring managers. Most resume repositories (primarily job search sites and recruiters) offer a premium version so that recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for employees can find potential candidates. There are some risks with posting your resume online, but you can minimize the risk by:

Keep Your Social Media Clean: According to CareerBuilder – “51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up from 43 percent last year and 34 percent in 2012″. That is a scary percentage. The old saying “Don’t do anything that would embarrass your mother” definitely applies to social media and job search.


Keeping Your Job Search Confidential: Many people search for a new job while currently employed. While most of these people are searching confidentially (their employer is not aware), many make mistakes that allow their current employers to learn they are looking for a new job. In most cases, this does not end well. There are a number of things you can do to maintain your confidentiality when looking for a job. These include:

  • Keep work and your job search separate.
  • Beware of job search sites.  Unless the job search sites you use have a confidentiality option (where either you are searching anonymously or your current employer is blocked), don’t use them.  Many employers use job search sites to source new hires and your name may pop up if you are not careful.
  • As mentioned earlier, don’t use your work email account and don’t list your work telephone number on emails, resumes or any other job search related place.
  • Don’t make job search related calls from work. Take a walk outside (but be discrete and know who is around you) or use a conference room (but use your cell phone).
  • Don’t discuss your job search with anyone at work (even your most trusted friends). You never know who to trust and things like this have a way of getting out.

Book Corner: Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters: 400 Unconventional Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job

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Good luck in your search,

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