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How to Stay Safe in Your Online Job Search

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When you’re looking for a job, the first logical place to look is the internet. You can search thousands of job listings quickly and easily. You can keep an eye on job ads from wherever your smartphone gets an internet connection. And you can also upload your resume to job sites so, even if you’re not really thinking of a job change right now, an irresistible opportunity might land right in your lap.

But an online job search comes with its dangers too. In the process of posting your CV and filling in applications, you share a lot of personal information with people you are yet to meet. Identity theft is a growing problem – around 1 in 16 US citizens were a victim of identity theft in 2016 –so you need to take care of the personal details that would prove very useful to those with malicious intent.

Here are a few ways you can stay safe whilst searching for a job online:

Only Share the Essential Information
You shouldn’t put every single piece of personal information on your resume. Name, address and phone number are all fairly standard features. However, there is rarely a need to add your date of birth, your social security number, your passport information or your bank details. You should also treat with caution any supposed employer who asks for these extra details prior to interview and without very good reason.

Pick a Good Password
When signing up to job sites you are often asked to set up an account. Make sure that your account password is strong, with at least eight characters, a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols and not something you have used before. This limits the chance of hackers accessing your account and your information.

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, Be Suspicious
Depending on the job site you use, it’s possible to come across unscrupulous people posting fake jobs. They do this in order to get personal information, free work and even money from you. Those job ads that promise minimal hours for maximum pay are unlikely to be telling the whole story so use your judgement before responding. Take care of your own safety as well as that of your data – do your research into a company and reassure yourself that they are genuine before heading off to an interview.

Not All Job Sites Are Equal
A reputable job site should have easy-to-access contact information. [Editor’s note: Here’s how to contact the team at BCjobs.ca] They will also let you decide what information to make public and what you wish to keep private once you’ve set up an account. Make sure you use a reputable site so you can be sure your information is kept safe and secure.

Use a VPN
For that extra peace of mind when sharing personal details over email and through job sites, it may be worth setting up a VPN. This is an encrypted connection that bypasses the usual internet service providers and protects your sensitive data from the prying eyes of hackers. Whilst you still have to exercise caution when choosing who to share your personal information with, you can be sure that you are not opening that information up to any third party.

Looking and applying for jobs online is easy and convenient. You can apply for jobs at the touch of a button and advertise your skills and attributes to countless employers. By taking the right online security precautions, you can do all of this safe in the knowledge that your personal data is kept out of the wrong hands.

 

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