The internet is on FIRE. It is used for everything imaginable. A great deal of people search for jobs on the internet and don’t give a second thought to it being any different or unsafe than any other method. Let me ask you this. How many times have you gone to a message board, Myspace, or any other public forum and posted your address, phone number and email address? You might be thinking “why the heck would anyone do that?”. But you know what? YOU do it all the time. We all do (well not me). That is how recruiters, like myself find you. Here’s what I mean.

It is a common thought that job boards, like Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, etc are only accessible by recruiters and HR professionals. WRONG. Kind of. The problem is they allow any company or agency to buy a subscription. Here is why that is a problem. We assume for the sake of argument that companies legitimately buy their subscriptions to seek out employees and post their jobs. But people leave their jobs (recruiters, HR people, etc). Sometimes companies forget to change log in information. Also, smaller agencies look to “sub lease” or sell their subscriptions to other independent agencies to help alleviate the costs. So you don’t truly know who is getting access to this information. Now this is not to knock or point the finger at any one board. A lot of those boards have helped me do my job in the past (I’ve moved on to more sophisticated search methods). And they do fulfill a need…matching employers and job seekers. But it is up to the individual to take precautions on their own.

  1. Don’t post any information on your resume or online job search profile that you would not put on Craig’s List, the supermarket bulletin board, MySpace, or any other public forum. This includes home or work phone numbers, home or work addresses, social security numbers, etc. You’d be surprised at the number of people who put this information on their resumes.
  2. Personal security begins with you. When preparing your resume, opt for a P.O.Box address or simply use just the city and state you live in. A recruiter who is truly interested in contacting you will understand your apprehension of sharing your address.
  3. Use a cell phone number…that you check often. Some people use their cell number as their primary contact number. That’s fine. If you feel comfortable using a work number or home number, you can do so.  Just remember you are opening yourself up to calls. A cell phone number is more discreet and can be changed easily without disrupting your life.
  4. Do not use your work email. First of all, you shouldn’t be getting job solicitations at work. The public doesn’t need to know where you work. You can use your alumni email, a home email through your ISP or any of the free email options out there. I would opt for a first initial and last name if possible when creating our email address. Whole names or those funky names some people come up with (you now what they are) are not ideal to use.
  5. Make your current employer confidential. I usually advise people to make all of the employers on their resume confidential and only cite the position, city and state if you are really looking to remain confidential. If you think about it, say they have your name but not your current employer’s name. Well, all they have to do is go back to your previously listed employer and call them to try to find you. So having all of them confidential isn’t a bad idea. It’s a matter of personal preference.
  6. Always research any company that contacts you. Now, I’m not intimating that you should be afraid to speak with a recruiter. There will be times when you have not heard of a company. It doesn’t mean they are not legitimate. Ask for a number to call them back, then check the web to see if you can find information about them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. And besides, what if your boss happens to stumble upon your resume.  Confidential is the way to go to avoid drama.

I hope this doesn’t scare you out of a job search. We all could stand to be a little bit more cognizant of what we put out about ourselves. A little commons sense and an ounce of prevention go a long way.

Til next time.
Adrienne Graham

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