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09 Mar

Be a secure job seeker in 2020

The online world is making fraud easier includes creating false identities may cost the New Zealand economy as much as $209 million every year! As many as 133,000* New Zealanders may be victims of identity theft. In Australia, the statistics are even more staggering with recent estimates by the Attorney-General's Department indicate that identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion each year!* This is why vigilance and awareness are vital.

You may not have given it a second thought how to protect your identity during the recruitment process. While the methods of identity theft change frequently as the criminals adapt, being smart about protecting your identity, with more and more job applications happening online, is critical.

Here are my 5 key tips for being a security conscious job seeker:

1. Ensure the website you submit your CV to contains ‘https’ in its domain name, as it is not secure otherwise.

The fundamental difference of HTTPS vs HTTP is that all data uploaded to a HTTPS website is encrypted, which makes it more secure. You should always look at the URL you have been directed to from an advertisement to make sure it is legitimate.  In a general sense, ensure it contains the name of the company you are applying to, and the website is well formatted and doesn’t have any suspect content or images.

Look at the URL and ensure you see a small padlock icon before the URL or https://. This means any data you load such as your name, address and CV files will be encrypted and therefore harder for any hackers to access.

2. Leave your date of birth off your CV.

Your date of birth was a common feature on resumes twenty years ago, but with bias, diversity and equal opportunities taking a lead role in the recruitment process in recent years, it is no longer necessary to include your date of birth. From a security point of view, if your resume was to fall into the wrong hands, it is one less piece of your personal information someone has in order to commit identify fraud.

3. There is no need to provide your full address in detail, suburb and city will suffice.

If we are talking about identity fraud, the less personal information someone has, the better, so keep yourself safe by removing your full address from your resume. Employers don’t need to know your street and street number – the suburb and city will be more than sufficient.

4. Do not upload any official documentation with your application submission

Copies of passports, visas or driver’s licences should not be uploaded to your initial application. I recommend only uploading these documents once you have received direct communication from the employer that you have been shortlisted for the next stage of the recruitment process. Copies of passwords and visas are not necessary to assess your application, as long as you include visa expiry details or which licences you hold on your resume. Should you be requested to provide this information, it’s best to only upload to a platform that is secure, and contains https:// in the URL (as per point #1).

5. Do not include any details of your family members

Another common feature of the resume twenty years ago was to include your martial status, your children (if any) and their names and ages. This is all but extinct now and cannot be asked or included as part of your application. So, with the security of your personal data in mind, remove this information from your resume. 

The less information criminals have about you, the harder it will be to steal your identity. Be a savvy job seeker by being alert and aware of where you are sending your personal information. If in doubt, ask for a phone number and have a conversation with the employer before submitting your details.


* Statistics courtesy of Department of Internal Affairs NZ

* https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/fraud/identity-crime