How to Protect Your Identity When Applying for a Job

Published: Mar 31, 2011

How to Protect Your Identity When Applying for a Job

How to Protect Your Identity When Applying for a Job By Suvarna Sheth,

How can you rest-assure that the jobs you apply for online are legitimate, and the personal information you provide is secure and confidential? How are your bases covered when you sign up and apply for jobs on

The Washington Post recently reported on a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) crackdown of companies that promised to help people find jobs but instead turned out to be fraudulent.

One of the companies caught in the FTC bust, dubbed Operation Empty Promises, was National Sales Group, which advertised fraudulent jobs on The company was charging applicants a fee for background checks, according to the Post article.

Security and Confidentiality

So how can job seekers truly be certain that the jobs they are applying for and the sites they are registered with are safe and secure? For many job seekers, security and confidentiality is a “must-have” and using a long-standing, niche job board endorsed by your industry’s association or a well-established job board is a great start, according to Joe Kroog, director of product management at BioSpace.

Change in Biopharma

The Biopharma industry in particular has undergone significant change in the last two years and a vast number of people seeking new employment are currently employed. According to Kroog, these scientists, researchers, engineers, etc. must protect their identity in the job search process for many reasons, personal and professional.

As product manager, Kroog directs the various BioSpace teams to ensure continuous improvement of the website, recruitment and advertising solutions, generating value for customers. What is unique about BioSpace, and its sister sites, ClinicaSpace, DeviceSpace, and the new portal for the Academic, Government and Research Institutes, is that all job postings and content is developed through partnering closely with customers, employers and job seekers alike.

BioSpace has been the leading employment site for more than 15 years, developing close relationships with employer clients and industry associations. Jobs are posted only after the company has been validated. In many cases, sales managers work with clients to help optimize and improve the quality of their postings.

Local industry association's career centers are managed identically in terms of security and confidentiality of job seekers’ and employer clients’ information. “We take our PCI/PII compliance seriously and go beyond the requirements to provide both job seekers and employers options for posting jobs and posting resumes under complete confidentiality,” Kroog says.

The Confidential Resume

One of the most valuable resources for a job seeker is participating in the BioSpace resume database. It is through employers searching the BioSpace database and contacting candidates directly that passive candidates (already employed) are found.

“When a job seeker submits their resume, they have control to mark that resume as confidential,” explains Kroog. “Their profile information, name, e-mail, etc., is then blocked in the resume database.”

The best part, according to Kroog, is that the site still facilitates contact from the employer by giving the job seeker permission to accept the inquiry or not.

Personal Job Agents

In addition to the confidentiality feature on BioSpace, many job seekers have taken the extra step to create Job Agents. From a simple saved search, registered job seekers create Job Agents off any keyword or combination of keywords and locations. In the security of their own inbox, they receive a daily list of all jobs that match their search criteria and can selectively apply to only those jobs.

Kroog says BioSpace’s user accounts have been secure without violation since the site went online in 1995. Every job seeker profile is password protected and secure and each job seeker has the power to manage their security preferences.

For peace-of-mind, job seekers are forced to create their own passwords on registration. The cookie for remembering the login credentials is optional – especially important when accessing the site from public computers. And forgot passwords functions are communicated exclusively through e-mail.

BioSpace does not use job seeker information in any other way besides creating a profile for the user. When a job seeker creates their profile, they also have the option to opt-in to various newsletters, job alerts and resume submissions all at their discretion.

Protect Yourself and Take Control

So how can job seekers protect themselves when signing up on a job board like Protecting one’s identity ultimately rests with the individual and being informed is the first step.

“Know your rights and limitations by referencing regulations for PII and PCI compliance, that is, do not share social security numbers or credit information,” Kroog advises. And only share information that is relevant to your job search.

Equally important, says Kroog, is to use a trusted source like an industry niche site that serves your industry. “Industry-specific job boards have important added credibility in that they are serving the industry as a whole and often endorsed or sponsored by the respective national industry organization,” he says.

On a practical note – if confidentiality is important to you, exclude your name and contact information in the resume you upload to the job board. This information isn’t stripped out of your resume when you upload or create your resume online. Rest assured, if the job board utilizes contact functionality like BioSpace, you’ll have the power to grant employer’s access to you when you want.

“As BioPharma continues to evolve, the economy grows, and life sciences positively impacts our daily lives, BioSpace will continue to be the leading community for our industry's professionals,” Kroog concludes.

About the Author

Suvarna Sheth researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Follow @biospace365 on Twitter.

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