Finding a job online is easy with so many options available. However, there are some safety tips that you need to follow during your job search to keep your information secure. By not following safety practices, you risk losing your personal data to cybercriminals.
Here are five basic yet important tips you should follow during your online job search to prevent yourself from hackers and scammers.
1 - Limit The Personal Information You Share Online
Many people share their resume in as many sites as possible. While this might increase your chances of getting an interview, it can do more harm than good, especially in the long run.
Imagine you share your resume on 15+ sites, and fortunately, you got a job within the first month. Now, what happens to your resume (that has a lot of personal information, such as your address, email id, and phone number)?
Chances are you won’t remember all the sites you’ve submitted your resume on. Even if you do remember, the odds are many people would’ve downloaded your CV before you delete it.
Therefore, being selective about where you submit your resume can be a good idea to ensure safety during your online job search.
2 - Use a VPN
Your desktop might already have an anti-virus software protection enabled, but it might not be enough to prevent your data from online scammers.
VPNs (virtual private networks) help you create a secure connection between your device and the internet. They make you anonymous in the online world, thereby protecting your personal data.
Even when you’re searching for jobs via mobile phones, it is essential to use a VPN for Android.
What’s more, is that VPNs can be very helpful when using public WiFi to search and apply for a job. Public WiFis are most vulnerable to phishing attacks.
If you’re using a paid resume submission service, ensure that your payment information goes through an encrypted connection to keep it safe.
3 - Avoid Clicking on Links You Receive on Emails
Emails remain the most common way to trick recipients into divulging their personal information. In the last one year (April 2019 - April 2020), 1790 job scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker in the U.S and Canada.
As soon as you register yourself on a job site, you’ll start receiving unsolicited emails not only from the website you registered on but also from third-party networks.
Scammers crawl the internet to find email addresses of people who’re looking for a job. They then send mass emails. Scammers need only a few people to believe the email is authentic, and their work is deemed successful.
Even with the most effective spam filters, these emails land straight on our inbox. Since you’re looking for a job, you might open the email as soon as you see them.
The first question you should ask yourself is, did I apply for this position?
If not, how did the recruiter learn about me? (legitimate emails should mention the source of the contact).
Also, the email should come from a company account and not Gmail or Yahoo (i.e., email@example.com and not firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s always a good idea to Google the company and check if they have an open position on their website.
Make sure you don’t click on any links on the email unless you’re 100% sure that the offer is legitimate. If not, you might unwillingly download malware to your device. This can allow hackers to access your device remotely.
4 - Never Pay for a Job
When a company posts a job, they’re looking for a skilled candidate, and not your money.
However, some scammers posing as employers ask the potential candidate to pay a nominal fee before hiring them. Here are a few common things they say:
- You need to pay a certain amount for training purposes. Once your job is confirmed (after three months of training), we will refund you the whole amount.
- You need to pay a refundable registration fee, which guarantees you a job with us.
- To make it look legitimate, some scammers say, “we’re a consultancy and can’t guarantee you a job, but we can help you reach the final round of interview directly if you pay a nominal fee”.
- We will help you get a job abroad and use your money to get you a visa.
Whatever the reason may be, never pay for getting a job. Legitimate recruiters never ask you to pay money in exchange for a job.
5 - Look Out for Common Red Flags
Apart from the things mentioned above, some common factors should act as a red flag for you, such as:
- There are multiple misspellings or grammatical errors in the job description.
- The posting seems legitimate, but the contact’s email address does not match the company’s website domain.
- The posting focuses on the money you’ll make rather than its responsibilities.
- You’re promised a huge salary for very little work (e.g., data-entry or a part-time job).
- You’re asked for your account information before attending the interview or receiving an offer letter.
- The employer asks for your social security number or a photocopy of your Driver’s license even before you’re considered for the position.
If you notice any of these things, you should never apply for that position or submit the information in the job portal.
When searching for jobs online, people often forget to prioritize privacy, which can lead to considerable stress and financial loss. By following the five tips mentioned above, you can ensure safety during your online job search. Happy & safe job hunting!