Many professionals use the Internet to increase the ease and convenience of job searching and to take advantage of the wide range of job possibilities. They expand their visibility in the job market by capitalizing on the countless job boards, recruiters, networking resources and resume distribution sites that exist online.
While Internet career tools may enhance the job seeking process, they don’t always protect the privacy of their users. It’s up to you to manage your exposure and confidentiality on the Web. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve this goal:
Use an Internet-safe resume. A few minor changes to your resume will significantly increase your privacy and safety on the Internet. For instance, your online resume should not include personal information such as your Social Security number, driver’s license number or birth date.
Remove your home and work contact information, including address, city, state and phone number. Then, create a new Web-based e-mail account for handling all of your job search correspondence. Some job hunters set up a different third-party e-mail address (such as Yahoo, MSN, Gmail or Hotmail) for each posting. Utilize this strategy to effectively monitor the volume and quality of responses from each site.
Also, many job boards allow professionals to limit the accessibility of their resumes, authorizing only employers or recruiters to retrieve a specific file. The more restrictions you apply to your document, the greater control you will have over your privacy and security.
Manage your own distribution. There are numerous job seekers who swear by resume distribution services. They want to announce their availability to companies all over the country (or world), and feel strongly about the extent of visibility that these services provide.
If privacy concerns you, it is imperative that you distribute your resume on your own. Take the time to research particular companies, and use your judgment before you post or disseminate your personal information to unknown sources. By keeping a close eye on your job search practices, you will be able to contact an unlimited number of businesses without sacrificing confidentiality or losing control over your job hunt.
Track your postings. Keep a log of your job search activities. Nothing fancy – a few simple notes will do. Write down the name of the site, date, time and document that you posted. If you set up multiple third-party e-mail accounts, you will have the option of tracking responses from various sites. If you identify an unsavory trend, immediately remove your resume and contact information, and close your Web-based account.
Evaluate e-mail correspondence carefully. As always, if the subject line looks questionable, don’t open the message, and if the content feels inappropriate, don’t respond.
Take a common-sense approach to writing, posting and distributing your resume. Be smart and proactive, and you will benefit from the Internet’s tools without giving up your privacy and safety.
Send your job search questions to Eve.GetAJob@gmail.com.