The Dos and Don'ts of Posting Your Resume Online
In this uncertain job market, there’s at least one sure thing. The process of submitting your resume to apply for a job opening is as easy as clicking the mouse on your computer.
However, flooding cyberspace with your resume may not always be the safest move. It can place your confidential information at risk and expose you to scam artists and identity thieves. “I think people let their guard down,” says Susan Joyce, owner and publisher of free online job search guide Job Hunt. “They just don’t want to let anything get between them and an opportunity.”
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the tough job market, and pinning many of their latest scam tactics on job-related angles. “I think most of them are going for identity theft,” Joyce says. “They’re looking for the kind of information you have on your resume, and they’re hoping they can weasel your social security number out of you.
Before you post your resume online, review these do’s and don’ts:
•Don’t share personal information. The sort of private information you would routinely post on a paper resume can put you at risk when posting a resume online. Certainly, never include your social security number, your driver’s license number, your age, your address or financial information, says Jason M. Hill, managing partner of Sound Advice, a New York-based staffing and recruiting company.
So, be vague about personal details, advises Hill. For instance, list simply your city or region for an address. If you don’t want your current employer to know you’re looking for a job, don’t list the employer by name. Simply offer a generic explanation, such as an “international software company.”
Be aware that some legitimate employers now ask for social security numbers and run credit checks, Joyce says. She doesn’t like the practice. There’s no real reason an employer would need your social security number until you’re hired and filling out tax forms, she says.
•Do set up a job search email address. Establish an email address that you use solely for job hunting. This way, you won’t expose your personal email to the spam you might receive after posting your resume, and you’ll be able to track emails related to your job search more easily.
•Don’t post your resume indiscriminately. Hill figures there are about 10,000 job boards on the Internet. He points out that there are 1,500 staffing agencies just in the state of New York. Posing as a job board is a simple way for thieves to troll for personal information, Hill says. Some job boards aggregate resumes so they can sell your data, he points out. You’re better off tailoring your resume and cover letter to specific job opportunities, Joyce says. “Pick and choose the opportunities you’re after, customize your response and be really careful of your identity,’’ she advises.
•Do track where you’ve posted your resume. Maintain a spreadsheet or even a simple Microsoft Word document that tracks when and where you’ve posted your resume. Be wary of email blasting services that distribute your resume to hundreds of job boards. With such broad distribution means “you’ve widely distributed your information to the world, and you have no control over it,’’ Joyce says.
•Do limit reference information. If someone is nice enough to provide a reference for you, don’t repay the favor by placing his or her personal information at risk. Limit contact information for your references as well.
•Do be wary of job solicitations. The trend in this tight job market is for nefarious sorts to prey on job seekers. Watch out for unsolicited emails offering work opportunities. Many play on familiar scams, such as asking you to deposit a check and then wire money using Western Union. Of course, the check is no good, and you’re out the cash.
Look out for bogus jobs and recruiting sites as well. Joyce recommends visiting Domain tools if you’re suspicious of a web site. You’ll be able to review registration information about the site. “Be especially careful if it’s a new domain name just a few days old,’’ she says. “If it looks legitimate, Google the phone number.”
Posting a resume and clicking might be simple enough, but you owe it to yourself to invest more effort in protecting your information. “You really need to make sure you’re talking to a real company, a real business,’’ says Joyce. “There are just so many angles these days.”