Hunter or Hunted: Job Searching in a Digital Market
Did you know that you might not be the only one researching your next move?
If you’ve been job hunting recently, you probably searched and applied for jobs online. Prospective employers and would-be scammers are all interested in your online presence, so you need to do some digital prepping before you apply.
A recent Harris poll found that 70 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Nearly half of employers said they wouldn’t call a candidate if they couldn’t find a social media profile. They expect to see information supporting job qualifications, and over 20 percent used social media to find a reason to decline a candidate.
Equally concerning is the increasing number of cybercrimes targeting job hunters. Online scammers are using job posting sites, setting up fake companies to pull in resumes, and even stealing employment records to qualify for high-paying positions.
Here are some the most recommended ways to protect yourself while job hunting:
- Use privacy settings. Legitimate sites, from Facebook to LinkedIn, have privacy settings that allow you to hide information from unwanted inquiry. From keeping personal information secure to keeping your neighbors out of your business, learning and using privacy settings is a great security practice.
- Apply directly through employer sites. If Equifax, Yahoo!, and eBay can suffer major security breaches, your local job board is at risk as well. Instead of posting your resume on a public board, apply directly through your prospective employers’ job portal. Take the time to make sure any link you follow is legitimate, and the web address is secure. (Look for a URL that starts with “https:”.)
- If it sounds too good to be true . . . Just like that email saying you won millions in the Liechtenstein state lottery (so please wire a few thousand dollars as collateral), if a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. From fake job openings to unemployment scams, cyber criminals are trolling for personal information so they can steal your identity.
- Care what you share. Consider leaving your street address off your resume or even removing your last name. (Using a last initial is recommended.) You should also consider creating a separate email address and unique password for all of your job-hunting needs. This makes it more difficult to correlate online information about you and adds an extra layer of protection. And NEVER share your Social Security number or other personal information on an unverified site!
Last, but far from least, think twice about what you post. Don’t be a hermit, but posts and selfies from every minute of your day may leave a recruiter wondering when you find time to work. And make sure grammar, spelling, and vocabulary on your public posts are workplace-appropriate. From pizza delivery to president, your digital profile is critical to landing that prime position, so be sure your online presence reflects the most hirable you.