Advice » Resumes & Letters» Resume Writing Tips » Getting Personal on Your Re ...
Getting Personal on Your Resume

Getting Personal on Your Resume

How Much Information Is Too Much?

Does your resume include information that puts you at risk for junk mail, spam, scams or identity theft? Follow these tips from security experts to protect your privacy while allowing the right people to find you.

Determine Your Risk Tolerance

Scott Germaise, author of Privacy Tactics: Protect Your Personal Information Assets and VP of product and project management at identity management and security firm StandardID, advises job seekers to trust their instincts and assess their risk tolerance. "Some people couldn't care less about having a great deal of their personal information publicly available, while others feel that any disclosure beyond the basics is too much," he says.

Jay Foley, executive director of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, also cautions job seekers to carefully consider what information they include in resumes. "When you post your resume online, you're sharing it with more than just one employer -- you are sharing it with the world," he says.

Find Balance Between Discretion and Disclosure

Job hunting requires releasing certain information to potential employers. At the same time, job seekers can be selective about the information they share. "You will have to accept that when you put certain information out into the world, you lose some degree of control over it and how it may be used," Germaise says. "The key is to find the right balance between privacy and desired disclosure.... It's good to be prudent but not paranoid."

According to Foley, posting contact information like phone numbers and street and email addresses doesn't necessarily pose a high risk for identity theft but can make you vulnerable to scams. "Job seekers may be contacted by a representative falsely claiming to be a staff member for a Fortune 500 company," he says. "They say they need to do a background check and take all kinds of information about you -- and then get 32 credit cards in your name."

Germaise agrees job seekers can easily be targeted for phone and email scams by posting contact information on resumes. "Such scams are relatively inexpensive, which contributes to their common occurrence," he says.

Information-Protection Strategies

So how do you protect yourself? Follow these tips:

  • Activate Monster's Confidentiality Feature: You can hide your name, street and email addresses, phone number and the name of your current or most recent employer. If you upload a Word document or copy-and-paste a plain-text resume, be sure to manually remove identifying information.  
  • Be Selective When Providing Contact Information: Foley recommends listing a post office box instead of your street address. Alternatively, you can include just your city and state, revealing your full address on request.

    Be careful with email addresses, too. "Use a disposable email address for your job search," advises Germaise. To protect phone numbers, consider getting an unlisted number, or use a voice-mail service. Many services offer a free phone number and deliver messages via email, but you will likely have to pay for a local number.
  • Don't Provide Too Much Personal Information: "This may seem obvious, but do not post Social Security numbers, references or any other detailed personal information," says Germaise.

    Foley strongly advises against including a Social Security number or birth date on a resume -- both can be used to steal your identity. If you're concerned about your employer discovering your job search, omit your company's name, replacing with a general description.
  • Be Google-Ready: The vast amount of information available online can be a virtual playground for scammers -- or potential employers checking you out. "Make sure any nonwork-related online profiles of yours do not contain your full name," Germaise suggests. "That is, if your MySpace or other personal Web sites show a decidedly nonprofessional side of your life, make sure they're not going to come up in a Web search for your name."

Search Smart

Job seekers should ensure job or interview inquiries are valid. "If you are contacted by an employer, conduct research, and find out if the employer and representative are legitimate," advises Foley. "Check out every offer or hint of an offer through the phone and Internet, and check the employer's reputation with the Better Business Bureau."

Make your resume shine with help from Monster's resume writing experts!

Latest Jobs

Posted: 05/27/2015
Dallas, TX, 75206
Posted: 05/27/2015
Rochester, NY, 14625
Posted: 05/27/2015
PIQUA, OH, 45356
Posted: 05/27/2015
Silver Spring, MD, 20904
Posted: 05/27/2015
Richmond, VA, 23235

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-301