Protect Your Privacy During Online Job Searches

Author: Mag Shou
Mag is a student employee with Technology Services and is a senior at Illinois majoring in Communications.


The internet has transformed the job search process, making it more convenient while posing new privacy challenges. As job seekers navigate various online platforms, exercising caution while using different internet resources is crucial. Stephen Collette, manager of data and privacy Analytics in Technology Services suggests there are a few simple strategies you can use to better safeguard your privacy while seeking employment online.

“You can implement the following measures to help prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands and better ensure that your job search remains confidential and secure,” he said. 

1. Enable selective resume accessibility

On job sites, such as LinkedIn and Handshake, you often have the option to control who can see your resume. The levels of visibility vary from “Completely Open” to “Private.” Some sites use different terms, but with a similar function. To safeguard your personal information, avoid the “Completely Open” setting. Instead, use a “cyber-safe” version of your resume that is only visible to verified employers, or set your profile to “Semi-private,” where your contact details are concealed. The “Private” setting ensures your resume isn’t searchable, offering maximum privacy, which is especially beneficial if you are currently employed and job searching discreetly.  

2. Limit access to the personal information you make public on social networks

Social networks are an important channel for many to find job postings or to network. Most social networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn, have privacy settings. Use those to protect your sensitive information and check them regularly to see if they have changed.  

In addition, avoid sharing important personal information on your social networks. This includes:

  • Names and birthdates of your family members
  • When you are not at home (on a business or vacation). Post pictures when you return. 
  • Where you work and when you are at work 

3. Use social media discreetly

While job hunting, using social media cautiously is crucial, as employers can reject applicants for inappropriate posts or behavior online. Enhance your profile’s privacy settings to control who sees your activities and be cautious about what you post online. 

4. Delete resume files promptly

After completing your job search, ensure you delete all copies of your resume and application materials from the internet, including emails and cloud storage. This action helps protect your personal information from misuse or theft. Regularly review and manage where your professional details are stored online to maintain your privacy and security.