Job Search Cybersecurity – Stay Safe When Looking For A New Job

The shift to remote work in 2020 led to what is known as The Great Resignation — a time when individuals reevaluated their employment situations following the overwhelming shift to remote work for so many sectors and made a change. The nation reached a 20-year high when it comes to quitting rates during this time. It is clear that many individuals have decided to take advantage of the wide-spread reach we all now have with the Internet and the increased acceptance of telework in order to improve the trajectory of their career path. Many also used the shake up in work format to change jobs because of low pay, dissatisfaction, and a lack of opportunities for advancement at their previous employers. For these individuals, career change is a choice. For others, the pandemic and the lockdowns which accompanied it meant that their industry had to slow or even cease work. Many of these folks were pushed to look for new work.

Regardless of the reason a person may have been looking for a job, the job market has seen incredibly high activity lately. There are many things to consider when looking for a new job — the pay rate, the background required by the company, the company’s scope of work and much much more. Something many folks fail to consider is among the most important of them all — staying cyber safe while on the job hunt. Below we’ll take a look at some helpful tips to keep you secure while trying to find your future dream job!

Beware phishing attempts — There’s a phishing scam out there for pretty much anything you search for on the Internet. Phishing scams are malicious emails or other communication that come from attackers who are perpetrating as legitimate contacts, for the purpose of duping the recipient into giving over personal information or clicking a malicious link. The world of job seekers is heavily targeted in phishing scams because these are all likely new connects being made, which works in the favor of malicious actors online, because they can try to intervene early on in the communication between applicant and interviewer to try and pretend they are a legitimate contact at a given company.

One very helpful way to avoid phishing dupes is to keep a running list of the companies you apply to — this will help you to recognize a company name in an email. Additionally, look up the individual who reached out to you from the company (claiming to be a legitimate contact inquiring about the job to which you recently applied) on a work-centric social media platform like LinkedIn to verify that they are indeed employed by the company. If you cannot find them on there, go to the company’s site (by searching it in your browser — do NOT click on a link from a suspicious email or an email from a sender you’ve not had contact with previously) and try to find a contact number and ask to speak with that person. This helps you to establish another means of communication to further verify their legitimacy. Phishing scams are out there but it does not mean you have to fall for them.

Be cautious with information sharing — When applying to jobs, there are a plethora of questions thrown your way for you to answer — frustratingly so, as your resume and cover letter typically cover all of this information anyway. Some of these questions ask for very personal information in order to verify your identity, including your social security number. Though some employers request this information of applicants, it is not directly related to an individual’s ability to perform work, so you should not divulge this sort of information at this point in the hiring process. Once a connection has been made with the company and they intend to do something like a background check on you because they are serious about hiring you, then it would be appropriate to provide such information. The key here is to not divulge too much information too early. If anything seems like it is unnecessary to ask for in an application stage, do not answer it.

Use a separate email address for your job hunt — If you are doing extensive applying and would find it to be useful, you may want to create a separate email address from your own personal-use email so that you can focus this address on all job seeking activities. This can also help you to be sure to keep in contact with recruiters and interviewers, whereas these emails could get lost in all of the emails you receive to your personal accounts.

Do your research on companies — While some companies will be recognizable to you when on the hunt for a new job, you may also wish to apply to one of the many small businesses out there which may not have as much of a presence as others. This is absolutely something you should do if you are interested — however, be sure to do your research when you come across a job posting for a company whose name you do not recognize. The best thing to do here is Google the name of the company and look for a location, contact information, and a legitimate company website. If you want to further validate the legitimacy of a company, give the number online a call and ask about the position or go to the business, shake the manager’s hand, and find out more. It not only assists in staying safe online but also gives you a literal foot in the door and an opportunity to make a great first impression!

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