By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com
The Internet has become an integral component in almost everyone’s job search. Despite its power to remove boundaries, using the Internet in your job search is not without risk. Savvy strategies will help promote your search and protect personal information, while keeping the job search under wraps from your current employer.
Don’t Get Scammed
With Internet job searches, almost all correspondence between you and a prospective employer may be conducted via email. While that is not extraordinary, you still need to protect yourself if you are unable to find other evidence of the company’s reputation or existence. Even if you have phone contact with a representative of the company, you need to research the firm to ensure their legitimacy. Don’t get pulled into a scam because of your eagerness to obtain employment. Research the company before you get a request for personal information such as your social security number or driver’s license. Look for specific feedback about the company online to help you determine your next step in interactions.
Keep It Quiet
Most job seekers begin to look for work before they leave their current employment – for basic financial reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you want your current employer to know. It is the rare supervisor who is pleased to learn that a key staff member is looking for other work. Never use company resources or time to devote to your job search. Use a personal cell phone or home phone number as a contact. Open a dedicated email account to provide an address other than one associated with your current employer. Even though it may be tempting to make just one copy of your resume at work, don’t risk it. Go to the library or local copy center and spend the few cents for a copy.
Protect Your Privacy
As noted, consider setting up a separate email account solely for use in your job search. When setting up your accounts with major online job sites, be certain to devise user names and passwords that differ from your other accounts. Keep personal, current work and job search accounts separate as much as possible.
Use privacy settings on job search and social media sites. Most major job sites allow your search information to remain confidential. With social media sites, double-check your privacy settings and those who may have access to your postings. You may have included your present employer at one time. Update settings during your job search, so that postings on Facebook about your job search don’t end up at your employer’s inbox.
LinkedIn is Not Facebook
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Avoid the temptation to include any postings about negative job experiences. This is a site to highlight your strengths. If you feel the need to post on how your current boss unfairly reprimanded you, save it for Facebook and make sure your privacy settings are in place. Better yet, just talk to a friend or family member about it in person. Even with privacy settings, you cannot ensure postings will not migrate beyond Facebook. Such postings may damage your career search when they resurface elsewhere online.
Double-check any employment dates or information posted on LinkedIn against your resume. Any discrepancies in time-lines or information could severely damage your job search.
Identity Theft Protection
Most job seekers are eager to share information with potential employers, but be cautious of providing too much information too soon. Of course, basic contact information is necessary early in the job search process. Once you have determined that you are communicating with a legitimate company, sharing address and phone number via email or your resume are normal parts of the job search. As the negotiations continue, you will be required to provide social security number and complete background checks. When posting your resume online or sending it electronically, only contact information is necessary to include. Limiting the amount of personal information will help protect you from identity theft.
Take a step back from your job search and objectively review your online presence and job search strategies. Although impossible to maintain complete control of information on the Internet, you can be savvy about privacy settings and how you choose to post your resume. Protecting your privacy is an important component in accelerating your job search.
About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!