Online Job Searches


The Internet is an excellent tool for job searching but it is a complicated and, at times, unsafe environment.  Identity theft and “pyramid” job scams are common problems facing the job seeker who uses Internet job search engines.  Read the following tips so you can be a savvy and safe job seeker.

laptopNot every search engine or job site is legitimate or trustworthy.
  • Not every job site is legitimate.  Beware of job sites to which you are directed by email sent from unknown recruiters. 
  • Check email addresses to see if it matches the company name.  For example, an email message from a Caterpillar recruiter will have that person’s name followed by 
  • If you look at a website that you are directed to by an email touting their jobs, and then see only an application form, look for more details before applying. 
  • Check the information at the bottom of the webpage to see how long the website has been in operation. 
  • Call the company and check further.   Often there is no company and no one to answer the phone.
Legitimate search engines and headhunter websites don’t necessarily screen the so called employers who use their services.
  • Many commercial websites earn money from employer fees for posting jobs so they don’t do a real good job of screening out fake job postings and bogus employers.  Some try but they too can be tricked by some very creative scam artists.
  • On fairly open websites like Monster and CareerBuilder, you might wish to hide some personal information like your address and phone number. 
  • It is appropriate not to list that information on a resume that is posted to a very open job search engine website.
Not every job posting represents a genuine job opportunity
  • Some ads are placed just to develop a resume pool for employers.
  • Some are also posted by entities trying to get contact information for prospects to contact about selling home based businesses or get rich quick schemes, or worse yet, people trying to steal your identity or con you with a money scam.

Website privacy policies do not necessarily protect your data

  • Monster, Inc. has been criticized for retaining applicant data long after an applicant deletes his/her resume for job searching purposes.
  • The assumed intent for this retention is the data mining that these job search engines can provide about applicants, their preferences and their habits. 
  • Some companies will even provide resumes from their applicant pool to other companies for a fee.

Never give out personal financial or identity information online

  • Do not provide your driver’s license number, SSN, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, bank account number or credit card in order to qualify for a pre-screening interview.
  • This type of pre-employment information is not legitimate nor is it needed by employers before extending an offer of employment. 
  • Employers may need a bank account number for direct deposit of your pay check, but this is after you are hired and are engaged in the orientation process. 
  • Mother’s maiden name and your credit card information is never or rarely needed except for the most secure, confidential jobs such as positions with the Secret Service, CIA, Federal Reserve, etc. 
  • An employer will need your social security number when you complete a W-2 form for the IRS, but this too is after you are hired.

EIU Career Services screens employers for both legitimacy and for compatibility with our students’ interests.  At least one so-called employer request for access to our resume database is rejected each week for reasons related to legitimacy, privacy concerns, or compatibility.