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Monday, October 08, 2007
Personal Data and Job Search

Privacy in the job search. With job search going global, online databases, and networking sites, how do you find a job and protect your privacy at the same time? Many job seekers are experiencing this conundrum and, unfortunately, there is not a really good solution. The big job boards all promise they will do their best to protect your privacy but when it boils down to it, it’s up to you to be diligent.

Be careful what you reveal – NEVER, ever give anyone your Social Security number, driver’s license number or date of birth to anyone during your job search. So many people, especially those with a non-US background or of the older generation, still include their birthdates on their resume. Not only does this go beyond the line of the fair hiring laws in the US but it also gives identity thieves a place to start.

Be careful what you upload - Believe it or not, we once had a prospective client send us his 2006 federal tax return by accident. This could have been a fatal error if the client had uploaded the file by accident to a resume database for the entire world with a password to see.

Be careful to what you respond – Spammers, phishers and other online conmen are trolling the resume databases hoping for a lucky bite. If you are ever asked to download a file, complete something and email it back, or otherwise provide information, do not do it. Real employers do not ask for your information up front.

Expect spam – Offers for jobs doing commission-only work or financial services abound and the spammers are using the databases for harvesting your email address. What can you do? Complain to the job board and use the delete key. Do not respond to spam offers.

Google Earth is scary – If you’ve never used it, give Google Earth a test drive using your own address. When you put your resume out on the worldwide wed with your address on it, anyone can find your house. They can determine if you live in a nice neighborhood, if you have close neighbors, if you have a security fence, if you have dogs outside, etc. Now, do you really want to post your street address out there on the web?

Google yourself – I guarantee employers will be Googling you so do so yourself and see what pops up. Try it on Google Images, too. It makes you wonder if Big Brother hasn’t arrived, just in a different form than what Orwell imagined.


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