Applying for jobs: how to protect your personal data

Since the introduction of the GDPR Rules in May 2018 many of us would have noticed the enhanced security in our every day’s lives when it comes to asking for personal data. 

But two years on from the introduction of the General Data Protection rules, are we more switched on about our personal data or do we just agree to get past the barriers?

During the COVID pandemic the employment crisis has hit many sectors, finding a job for some has become an hourly event applying for job after job. So, what can you do to keep your data private, but you also want to apply for jobs? 

Obviously, you will need to share some information with the company, recruitment firms and hiring managers to enable your experience to be assessed. However, it is important that you remember that your CV containing your experience are confidential pieces of information so only share with another party if it has a purpose.

How much data should I share when applying for jobs?

  • Set up a specific job application email address and use only it. Keep it separate from your general email address which you may use for purchasing goods and or storing of information. 

  • Do not include your full postal address on your CV. Include a city or location and your post code. This will help the recruiter identify your residential area and should be sufficient at the initial stages of application.

  • Do not include unnecessary personal details like marital status, nationality, or passport number. There is no need for a company to have this level of detail of information initially.

  • Restrict the amount for personal data you include for your referees. Any referees should give you permission to have their personal data included on your CV and should be kept to a minimal like work email addresses. 

  • Restrict the sharing of phone numbers. Many recruiters would argue that they will need to have a phone number to get hold of you to discuss a job and they are right. However, a phone number can be exchanged after you have sent your CV, even noting it on a sperate email gives an additional level of protection.

  • Send your CV in PDF format. It is slightly harder (but not impossible) for personal data to be copied from a PDF format opposed to word.

  • Protect your document by way of a password. This adds another layer of security and starts the dialogue with the recruiter. It is worth noting that sending your CV via an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) may insist on some of this information as part of the application process. 

In summary It’s impossible to protect your information 100% whilst applying for jobs but taking these extra steps will help mitigate your risk whilst being active in the job market. 

To understand your rights visit the ICO (Information Commissioners Office)