Our blog provides some advice and guidance on protecting your personal data through limiting the information you provide and even going as far as obstructing third parties from editing the presentation of your data. As data, privacy and GDPR are the topics of the moment, this blog is an initial step into these areas and will be followed by similar in the weeks to come.
If you want to keep your data private but you also want to apply for jobs, it can be tough. We have lots of connections and friends who work in the InfoSec industry and a common theme is “How do I get out there without compromising my personal data?” With GDPR coming up fast, it’s a hot topic too.
Obviously, you will need to be open to sharing some information with recruitment consultants and hiring managers so they can assess your experience but there is information you can keep to yourself and steps you can take to make sure your data is not being misrepresented.
For this, we’re working on the assumption that you’re using MS Office. If you’re using something like LaTex on Linux, you probably don’t need our help, you’re already more hardcore than us!
1) Don’t put your full postal address on your CV.
These days, this information isn’t required. In the pre-internet days, when you posted your application to a physical address, a full address was required so you could be contacted. Now, you’re applying online. (If you are applying to a job in tech via the mail, please get in touch and tell me about it. WE NEED to know about it.)
A basic address is helpful so recruiters or hiring managers might have an idea if you need to relocate or have a long commute. Something as simple as “Rathmines, Dublin 6” is plenty of information.
2) Make a job application email address and use it.
We’re sure everyone knows not to use an email address from your angsty youth for job applications at this stage and thankfully, we don’t often see a CV from [email protected] However, googling someone’s email address can often bring up things like old mailing lists, forum posts, twitter posts. Any information like that might not be something you want shared with a potential employer or just shared in general.
If you have an email address only used for applications, it mitigates this risk.
3) Don’t include a phone number upfront.
This isn’t a point which recruiters will be a fan of but honestly, who wants to receive a call out of the blue anyway? Realistically, both parties would prefer to set up a call via email. The phone number can be exchanged after you have exchanged emails or messages with the consultant and both parties have recognised value in having a conversation.
4) Don’t include any personal details beyond work and education details.
It’s not required to provide marital status, nationality, PPS number, Passport number. Nothing like that. And actually, after GDPR comes in, it’s going to be against the rules for us to hold that data because we’ll have no reason to have it.
5) Respect the personal information of your references
We see lots of CV’s with the names and contact details of references. Don’t include those on your CV. They do not want to receive unsolicited calls and their data shouldn’t be shared that way. Keep control of when your references are contacted and keep their data private!
With these steps you will have protected yourself from disclosing non-essential information on your CV and avoided recruiters calling without notice.
The following few tips are for the more cautious. 🙂
1.1) Remove Properties
Before saving your CV, go into Options in Word -> Check for Issues –> Inspect Document and hit Inspect. A bunch of stuff will come up but usually, it’ll say that Document Properties and Personal Information has found something. Click remove all and it’ll remove any personal data about the licence owner of your copy of MS Office from the upcoming PDF.
1.2) Save your CV in PDF
Recruiters always want your CV in Word format for various reasons but mostly because we need to make edits. It’s harder to do this if you save it in PDF and don’t provide a Word version. It’s possible to convert this to Word without your knowledge though so…
1.3) Password protect
Set a password on your PDF CV to prevent text from being copied and to prevent the file from being opened in other formats.
We mean, please don’t do this. It’ll make our job a lot harder! However, to completely protect your data, it’s a great move. We are very torn about this tip!
With this, it’s completely possible to open the file to read it but any attempts to alter it will require the password. It does mean you’ll need to be open to working with your recruiter to make changes to your CV if required for a specific role. A lot more collaboration will be needed – this can be a good thing and can guarantee that you are happy with how your data is being presented to client companies!
It’s impossible to 100% protect your information AND apply for jobs. You’ll have to share your personal information with someone unless you’re getting jobs through your personal network without any contact with a HR system.
When GDPR comes in, a lot of the shadier parts of the recruitment industry will be flat-out illegal. For example, it will be illegal to send a CV to a client without the owner’s consent amongst many other things. This should be seen as a positive development by candidates and you should try to educate yourself on what it means for you. With that in mind, we will be writing a series of blogs over the coming weeks giving some insight into what GDPR means for candidates and how best to manage it when dealing with recruitment consultants.
In summary, you can still be active in the job market without comprising your personal information. We could probably write another entire blog on your digital footprint and job hunting as it’s an interesting topic but the best advice is to use your common sense with where your CV goes and where you upload it. Working with a recruitment consultant you trust, maintaining lines of communication and being clear and concise when discussing the use of your CV and data can mitigate a lot of the risk.