by Phil Baker,
Most job hunters post and fire off resumes on the web like they are using an automatic weapon in a dark jungle. Often they have no idea where every resume is ending up or that someone might be going to fire something back at them besides an invitation to an interview. The FBI warns that identity theft is still an epidemic and if you are posting and sending out your name, address, telephone number and other personal information while job hunting, you might as well draw a target on your back, tape a high powered flashlight on your head, and run open through an enemy camp shouting “here I am!”
There are measures you can take to have a safe resume and protect your privacy. The information you provide employers can be limited. You want them to contact you and nowadays an email address, your name, and phone number is all they need. You can omit your home address and just include your city or town, state, and country. If for some strange reason you think an employer is going to snail mail a response you can get a post office box.
There are job seekers who include their social security number on their resume. Employers only need your social security number when they hire you. If they ask for this number prematurely, they usually are going to use this to conduct a background check or pull your credit report. You have the right to withhold your social security number until you are offered the job. You can write “available immediately upon hire” on a job application that requests your social security number. A few employers might pass you over, but many of them understand how critical this information is. You will have to weigh the risks.
Many job hunters put links to their social networking profiles on their resumes. When you spend the time to create professional profiles this is a clever move. However review your profiles to see what information is exposed about you that could be damaging or work against you in the wrong hands. Most social networking sites allow you to control what information is exposed.
Keep your information on your resume, cover letters, and website profiles current and correct. Delete old and irrelevant data. While old addresses, phone numbers, and so on seem useless to most of us, those with bad intentions can often make quick use of such information to obtain private identifying facts. Also keeping your contact information current will enable prospective employers to reach you.
Read the terms and conditions, and privacy statements of websites where you create accounts and profiles. Review what data will be visible to the public. You need to know if they will be selling or sharing your information. If so you might need to consider closing the profile or placing stricter limits on what you will expose.
Periodically alter all your passwords for social networking profiles and other website accounts. Better to protect yourself with software generated passwords instead of words and symbols you create. You can use a password program that will store all passwords and user names and enter them automatically at the log in screens. Usually you will only need to remember one master password for that program.
Be careful where you send your resume. Many job postings only give you an email address to send your resume to and do not include a company name. These can be crooks on the prowl for victims. In addition I know of several employers that place such postings just to stake out their own employees to find out if they are hunting.
When an employer does contact you for more information then be vigilant and verify who they are first. Do not give out any personal information until you know you are communicating with a lawful employer. And again, limit the information you provide. If the employer does not seem legitimate or raises red flags, stop communicating or carry on with acute prudence. There are instances of people posing as employers to gather information for purposes of identity theft and fraud.
Because email viruses can hijack your contacts list and begin sending email under your name, I prefer to see a job seeker set up an email strictly for job hunting. I would not create a contact list in my email program for job hunting. The last thing you want is for a potential employer to start getting spam or worse from your email address or for them to get your personal list of email contacts. At the very least they will mark your address as spam and they will never see another letter from you again.
This article is Copyright 2011 by Phil Baker – “The Hire Authority” and creator of the Resume Dictionary, the resume writing resource.
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.Â
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