How to Protect Your Personal Information During a Job Search

by Jeriann Watkins Ireland | November 21, 2017

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A man and woman looking at a resume together

Finding a job is often a lengthy, stressful process, and it can be tempting to take shortcuts in order to raise your chances of finding useful networking connections. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who use people’s willingness to give companies their personal information to their advantage. Below are some tips on protecting your personal information during a job search.

1. Only Provide Necessary Personal Information

Your resume will have to have some personal information of yours in order to allow potential employers to contact you. Information you will likely have to provide includes:

  • First and Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Previous Job, Contact Information, and Addresses

On your standard resume, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t include. For personal safety, avoid specific information that could be used to steal your identity. You might even leave off your phone number until you’re sure you’re communicating with a real person. Information companies may ask for that you should only provide with discernment includes:

You should never be asked for your social security number or driver’s license number early in the hiring process. Companies can ask your citizenship status and if you have a driver’s license, but there is no reason for them to have the cards on file until you’re hired, or if they’re running a background check.

If you’re filling out resumes online and they ask for information you’re uncomfortable sharing, it may be best to reach out to an HR representative or hiring manager directly and share your concerns. If they don’t respond or won’t accept your application without this unnecessary information, it’s likely that you may not want to work for them anyway.

2. Keep Track of Your Resume

It’s important to keep track of who you send your resume to so you can identify your personal information insecurities. Keep a list of all organizations and people who have your resume. It can even be useful to keep track of which version of your resume you send to each place. Then if you hear of a company being involved in a data breach, you can look back and see exactly what information of yours could have been exposed.

3. Avoid Resume Distributors

There are a lot of people out there trying to scrape people’s personal info. This can be done using job websites, social media, and direct communication. If you’re contacted by someone who wants to “circulate your resume”, but has no personal connection with you, it’s likely they’re trying to gather personal data, or at the very least make a quick buck without benefitting you. Don’t enter your personal information into online voids. Your date of birth and home address can be very useful for identity thieves, so keep those to yourself. If you must include your birthday for online profiles, make sure there’s an option to keep it private.

Filed Under: Job Search | Resumes & Cover Letters | Salary & Benefits | Workplace Issues

Tags: identity theft | job search | networking | personal information | resume

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