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  January 1, 1970

5 Rules to Protect Your Privacy While Online Job Searching

Fake job boards. Social media phishing. Bate-and-switch job posts. You may think these types of scams are rare, but job search experts are seeing these trends increase and they’re becoming more sophisticated with each passing year.

Online outreach is just one aspect of an effective job search, but it is an essential one. To protect your privacy while job hunting online, the professional career coaches at GetFive share important safety rules:

Rule 1: Limit resume information

As part of your job search you’re probably posting your resume in multiple public places so recruiters can easily find you. However, if you include all personal contact information, you’re essentially giving millions of strangers your address, phone number and more. That’s scary. Instead, only include your cell number or a Google Voice number that can be forwarded to any phone, as well as a personal email address that is not connected to your current work. That’s really all that’s needed for a person to get in touch with you.

Rule 2: Be selective of where you post your resume

Quality is better than quantity when it comes to posting your resume online. Remember to only use sites you feel confident are secure. You might consider opting for specialty websites that focus on your specific industry or line of employment, rather than general sites with a much broader net. This helps focus your search plus puts your information in front of the people who are more likely to use it for its intended purposes.

Rule 3: Review and set website security options

Many job search websites allow you to set controls to indicate who can see your full versus limited information. Review these settings and consider your options. A semi-private setting that makes your information searchable by employers or recruiters can be safer than leaving your profile/resume completely open to anyone who might stumble upon it.

Rule 4: Never share critical personal information

This might seem obvious for some, but thousands of people make the mistake of oversharing on their online job search and fall victim to identity theft. Never share your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card numbers, birth date or mother’s maiden name. This also goes for your resume, social media, online job boards, emails, etc. None of this information is essential for a hiring manager to conduct an interview.

Note: Even if the contact says it’s for a background check or job supply expenses, don’t give in. Criminals use this as an excuse to garner private information from unsuspecting job hunters. Your Social Security number, birth date and other personal information should only be required at the time of hire, when filling out an official IRS form at an employer’s physical location.

Rule 5: Trust your gut

A little common sense can go a long way to ensure safety during an online job hunt. If it feels wrong, trust your instincts. Don’t do anything that puts your personal information at risk.

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