search safely

Roughly one-third of Americans have searched for a job in the last 2 years and 79% of them used on-line resources in their job search. (Pew Research Center)

That means that there are many sites that advertise jobs; some of them are legitimate and some of them are not. How can you safely make your way through the job-site maze to find the job you’re looking for?
It’s important that you protect your personal information.  Sharing it on-line can cause you problems, so let’s look at some of the best practices for on-line job searching.

  • There are sites that say they will share your resume with thousands of prospective employers and recruiters. Don’t use them. You have no control over who sees your resume or how secure the data in your resume is, plus then you have the problem of receiving tons of scam emails.
  • Using a public wi-fi connection can make you vulnerable to others monitoring your site, getting your address and other personal data.
  • Don’t open attachments or files sent to you from unknown sites. (the danger is from viruses that could be in the data)
  • A legitimate employer will not ask you to give them your social security number and other vital information over the internet. If you are asked for it – that’s a good time to disengage – quickly.
  • If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  There are more scams out there that there are URLs.  If you are being offered a high paying job with no skills or experience required, it’s most likely a scam.  Seriously consider any work from home jobs that are offered.  If you are required to invest your money in supplies, training, etc., it’s probably a scam
  • Ask your friends about their experiences in internet job searching; get recommendations for the best sites that represent the position you want.
  • Use the Better Business Bureau ( and Glassdoor ( to research businesses you don’t know or that haven’t been recommended by friends.
  • You should never be required to pay a recruiting fee.  Recruiters work for the company that’s hiring and they pay the fee.
  • You may be required to provide a background check, but the company should not ask you to pay them for one.
  • Document where you send your application and resume.  Keep a spreadsheet with the address, job, company name and date you sent your application.
  • Carefully read the privacy information on the site you’re considering. If it says you’ll receive “offers from partners”, or “information about exciting opportunities”, this most likely means they are going to sell your data and you will be on the Mailing List from Hell forever!

These precautions are mostly common sense.  Protecting your passwords, your Social Security number and other personal data is important, and it can be very tempting to fill in the blanks on an on-line application that seems to be legitimate. Save that data for the day you are in the building – being on-boarded for your new job!