How to find a job safely, and protect yourself online

The internet provides many great opportunities to connect with people and organisations you’ve never met before and in most cases this is safe, but you need to take basic precautions to make sure that the people you are dealing with are genuine.

The recent highlighting of a scam from criminal gangs that targets jobseekers has underlined the need to make extra strenuous efforts to keep safe – starting with the information that you put in your CV, whether you’re job hunting online or offline.

Uploading your CV to sites like Jobsite is a great way for your next employer or recruitment agencies to find you, put you forward for particular opportunities or invite you to attend job interviews. It can take much of the hassle out of discovering the next step in your career, but you have to remember that your CV contains a lot of personal information so you should take care when job hunting online.


We do advise that you should not provide unnecessary personal details about yourself on your CV. At the same time it is acceptable for recruiters to request the following information:

  • Your postal address
  • Your home and mobile telephone numbers;
  • Your education, skills and professional experience;
  • Your desired salary;
  • Details about your past and present employers – including whether or not you’d be happy for them to be approached for a reference about you before you are invited to an interview.

They won’t usually ask for information that is unrelated to your application or career aspirations.

Also, protect your personal data by making sure that they are above board. The recruitment agent, for example, should not pass on your information to any other person or third party organisation without your consent. You might be currently employed and don’t want your employer to get wind of your hunt for a new job, so the agent must act appropriately to protect your interests. Genuine agents will nearly always be a member of a relevant professional recruitment body such as the REC too.

Never give out the following details unless you know that they are going to a genuine employer and also know the purpose of the request for them:

  • Your passport number;
  • National Insurance number;
  • Driving licence;
  • Credit card or banking details;
  • Taxation references.

There is no obligation for you to provide information like your date of birth or age, gender, hair or eye colour, weight, height, marital status and the number of children you have.

You should be extra cautious if you hear about job opportunities through unexpected emails or via any online social networks. Stop and think about whether it’s likely this person will be contacting you and do some investigation into the organisation or individual to check they are legitimate before responding.

Never respond to phishing emails, which will give the impression that they are from legitimate organisations, but aren’t in reality. Many of them will ask for your user names and passwords or other private information. This ‘data’, including the details of your Jobsite account should remain private, known only to you and no-one else to prevent identity fraud. Play it safe if you receive an email requesting such details. You don’t want to pay for things unless you were the person who applied for them in the first place!

Being aware of which sites you’re registered to and what information you’ve made available to different organisations will also help to keep you protected. If you’re contacted by someone saying they’ve got your details from an organisation but you know you’ve never had any dealings with that company then you immediately know to treat this person with caution. Similarly, if you’re approached by someone acting on behalf of a company that you know holds details on you but they’re requesting all of this information again or have got information about you incorrect then you should also exercise caution – just because someone contacting you says they’re from an organisation that you use doesn’t mean you should immediately trust them, they may just be using this organisation’s name on the off chance that you’re registered with them.

Be especially cautious about companies that offer you a job that you’ve never applied for, or before they’ve even met you – if it’s too good to be true, it likely is.

It’s a sad fact of life that there are people out there who try to take advantage of others for their own gains. These people operate both online and offline so whenever you have to provide your personal details make sure that you always check that the company or organisation you’re dealing with is legitimate and think carefully about what information you provide to them.

After all these words of caution remember … don’t worry too much. The internet is a great tool for keeping you up to date with the latest job opportunities. There are thousands of new roles advertised each day.

For more advice about finding your next position online safely, please visit:

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