Job Search Tips

5 (more) safety tips for your online job search

5 tips for safe online job searching
Written by Guest Contributor

Work opportunities available to skilled and hardworking professionals have evolved substantially in recent years. Current job opportunities are commonly found through search engines, social networking platforms, and job sites. However, while there are many legitimate opportunities available online, there are also plenty of scams that can result in considerable stress and financial loss for unsuspecting individuals.

There are multiple steps that you can take if you are preparing to look for a job online. For example, you can and should stay current about the latest scams so that you know what to watch for. You also should ensure that any websites that you use to look for jobs are trusted. We’ve covered some of the basics before. Here are 5 more safety tips you should use for your job search.

Update your device protection

Your electronic devices understandably may already have anti-virus software protection, but this technology is updated regularly to combat the latest malware, spyware and more. Spend a few minutes ensuring that the most updated version of this type of program is installed onto your device before you begin your search. Specifically, it should include protection against phishing, malware, viruses, and spyware.

You should be aware of other ways that criminals attempt to enter a vulnerable space. For example, some of the social media and hiring apps that legitimate recruiters use could actually contain a virus or other dangers. So before downloading that app, do your research; check reviews, or ask a friend. It only takes a few minutes to ensure your privacy is safe.

You also be wary of how you connect to the Internet. A public Wi-Fi connection makes it much easier for others to monitor your activities, and they can even intercept documents and vital information that you are sharing with a recruiter.

Avoid passing along private information online

You may be aware that legitimate websites, such as your preferred bank, ask you for sensitive information. This includes your mother’s maiden name, your Social Security number, your credit card or bank account numbers and more. Be aware that a legitimate employer will not require you to submit this sensitive information digitally. These are vital pieces of information that criminals can use to hack into all of your other accounts.

You should always be observant about the information that you share and who you share it with. Some information, such as your Social Security number, may legitimately be required after you are hired, but it should not be requested before this point.

If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is

Online scams are becoming increasingly difficult to spot, but many job descriptions may set off an internal alarm. The reality is that better-paying jobs require you to bring skills or experience to the table. If you are being offered a high-paying job with no skills or experience required, this is likely a scam. Understand what some of the more notable scams are, such as being offered a very large sum of money to complete a menial task like stuffing envelopes.

Other scams require you to purchase items out-of-pocket. This could even be something seemingly acceptable, such as a software program that the employer says is needed for the job. No employer will ask you to pay for software in order to apply for the job. Some scammers go so far as to require you to deposit large checks on their behalf. These are signs of a scam, and you should walk away from these perceived opportunities.

Watch out for unsolicited offers of employment

You may be filled with a momentary sense of pride and accomplishment when you receive an email with a job offer out of the blue. However, there is a solid chance that you were not the only one who received this offer. Many scammers send out huge email campaigns with an amazing job offer that appears to be specifically designed for you. These emails may come from popular domains, such as Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail.

In many cases, the email instructs you to click a link for more information. Understand that this is a huge red flag. Any time you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, follow your intuition by deleting the email and forgetting about the “offer”. You’ll get plenty of legitimate opportunities!

Ask yourself if it makes sense

At first glance, you may be excited about an amazing job offer that you have stumbled upon or that has been directed specifically to your email address. If you do decide to proceed with looking into the offer more closely, proceed cautiously. Rather than clicking a link, you can research the company independently and see what pops up. It’s not enough that they have a website, since registering a domain is relatively easy, make sure the content of the site has some substance. You’ll find that scam websites are often devoid of anything meaningful.

If you’re still unsure call the company directly, if the contact information is not listed on the website then you have your answer. Just avoid providing any personal information or clicking links.

Finding jobs online is the new normal, so taking the extra steps for safety should become second nature. When you follow these tips, you can guarantee your information will be safe and you’ll have greater access to finding an opportunity fit for you.

About the Author:
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

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