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Use Job Search Sites Safely and Effectively

Most advertised job postings appear on one or more online job search sites. But some of these sites want to do more than connect job seekers with employers. Before you start searching, you need to learn to protect your personal information, search for relevant job postings, and spot scam job postings.

Protect your personal information

  • Use familiar, well-known websites. Have you heard of the website through friends, family or the media? If it’s a niche website, do you recognize the group that hosts it? (For example, is the host a professional or industry organization?)
  • Don’t use a website that requires you to register before you check out the job postings.
  • Read and understand the privacy policy. What will happen to your resumé? Who will have access to it?
  • Do not include personal information such as your street address, Social Insurance Number, date of birth, driver’s licence number or professional registration number on any resumé you post to a website.
  • Post your resumé without any information that specifically identifies you. Instead of your name, use a description and a work search email address (for example, Multilingual HR Trainer, multihrtrainer@e-mail.ca). Some potential employers may not like this approach, but it’s acceptable in the online environment.
  • Block specific visitors, such as your current employer, from accessing your resumé. This type of feature is not foolproof, so use caution.

Beware of job scams

Not all job ads are real or honest. Dishonest ads are called job scams. Job scams want to take your money or your personal information. They do not want to help you make money or find a job. These scam ads will often claim to make your rich quickly, or offer other incentives that are too good to be true. 

How to tell if a job ad is a scam:

  • It does not show the name of the business.
  • It asks you to send money.
  • It asks for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) before you are hired.
  • It asks for your banking information.
  • It asks you to cash a cheque at your bank. But then you must send the money to another person.
  • It asks you to use your credit card.
  • It asks you to pay for your training.
  • It asks you to work for free.
  • It uses words like “scam-free,” “totally legitimate” or “no experience necessary.”

How to tell if a job ad is real:

  • It gives the name of the company.
  • It gives contact information. For example, a phone number, email address or website.
  • It says what the job is.

Using job search sites effectively

  • Make sure the job search websites you use are easily accessible. Can you navigate and use them easily? If you can’t, neither can an employer.
  • Be sure the websites post jobs that reflect your interests and skills.
  • Use job search websites to identify potential employers, whether or not they’re currently hiring people with your qualifications. Then link to an employer’s website through the job postings. Research and network to develop your own job leads and apply directly through these employer websites.
  • Don’t pay to post your resumé. In general, job search websites don’t charge you to use them. Exceptions are professional association websites that allow access only to members and websites that deal with executive-level job seekers.
  • Take advantage of features like job alerts and the ability to edit and repost your resumé. Making a small change to your resumé allows you to repost it with the current date and helps to keep it active on the website
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