confidential resume

Is My Resume Confidential? Understanding Your Resume’s Privacy Settings

If you are currently job searching, you may be wondering if your resume is confidential. The answer is not a simple yes or no because it depends on various factors. Understanding the basics of resume confidentiality can help you make informed decisions about who to share your resume with and how to protect your personal information, if that’s a concern for you. While this isn’t usually a major concern for most job seekers, for those applying to more senior (or more sensitive!) roles — or those that are generally paranoid — it can be important.

In this article, we’ll take a quick look at:

1. What is a Confidential Resume?

2. When You Should Keep Your Resume Confidential

3. Is Your Resume Confidential by Default?

4. What are the Risks of Sharing Your Resume?

5. What to Do if You’re Resume is Shared without Your Consent

What is a Confidential Resume?

A confidential resume is a type of resume that excludes some personal identifying information such as your address, some contact information, social media handles, and as we just mentioned, social insurance/security numbers (although those numbers should never really appear on your resume to begin with). In more extreme cases, an applicant may even exclude some of their previous employers or education history. Again, this could be due to the type of occupation they’re in, or a major change in direction they may be taking, or who they are. They could be Barack Obama or Taylor Swift (you never know!).

In other instances, the purpose of a confidential resume is not only to protect privacy, but also prevent potential discrimination based on factors such as age, gender, race, or religion. For some, this can me more challenging because their full name alone may be enough to reveal some of this. And leaving your name off your resume, or creating a nickname is not a good idea.

But it is also important to note that once you hit send, your resume is no longer completely confidential. The employer will likely share your resume with other members of their team, and possibly even with third-party recruiters, or vice versa. This does not mean that your personal information will be shared with the public. Employers are legally required to keep your personal information confidential, and only share it with individuals who have a legitimate reason to see it. Whether that’s followed is a different matter.

Why Would You Want a Confidential Resume?

There are several reasons why you may want to create a confidential resume:

  • You are currently employed and do not want your employer to know you are looking for a new job
  • You are a high-profile executive or public figure and want to keep your job search private
  • You have experienced discrimination in the past and want to prevent it from happening again
  • You want to protect your personal information from potential identity theft or fraud
  • You are secretly a real-life superhero and don’t want your alter-ego revealed


How Can You Keep Your Resume Confidential?

Creating a confidential resume requires some extra effort, but if you feel it’s necessary to protect your privacy, it may be worth it. Here are some tips:

  • Exclude personal identifying information such as your address or personal email (create a professional one)
  • Use a generic email address and phone number that is not linked to your name
  • Do not include your current employer’s name or any other professional information that could reveal your identity
  • Use a professional summary or objective statement that describes your skills and qualifications without revealing personal information
  • Focus on your accomplishments and skills rather than your job titles or employers
  • Avoid using a photo on your resume
  • Use a cover letter to provide context and explain why you are omitting personal information, and in some cases, to provide your contact information separately. (*This is important!)

Another option is to work with a recruiter or staffing agency that specializes in confidential job searches. These professionals can help you find job opportunities without exposing your identity to potential employers.

When Should You Keep Your Resume Confidential?

If you are currently employed and looking for a new job, it may be wise to keep your resume confidential. This is especially true if you don’t want your current employer to know that you are looking for a new job. Here are some situations where you may want to keep your resume confidential:

  • You are currently employed and looking for a new job
  • You work in a sensitive or confidential field and don’t want your current employer to know that you are considering leaving
  • You are concerned that your current employer may retaliate against you if they find out that you are looking for a new job
  • You are not actively looking for a new job, but you want to be prepared in case an opportunity arises


Is Your Resume Confidential by Default?

When you create a resume, you might assume that it is confidential by default. However, this is not always the case. Depending on where you post your resume and what information you include, your resume may be accessible to a wide range of people.


What Information is Public on Your Resume?

Some information on your resume is considered public and can be accessed by anyone who views it. This includes your name, contact information, work experience and education. Additionally, if you include a summary or objective statement, this information is also public. Other information on your resume, such as your address and references, can be considered private. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to include this information on your resume.


Who Can Access Your Resume?

When you post your resume online, it can be accessed by a wide range of people. This includes potential employers, recruiters, and yes, even scammers who may use your information for identity theft. Additionally, if you post your resume on a job board or social media site, it may be visible to the public. This can include your current employer or co-workers, which could lead to awkward conversations or even job loss. Unfortunately, not participating in these public forums can lead to lost opportunities. In the end, you have to weigh the positives against the negatives.


Photo from Canva


How Can You Control Who Sees Your Resume?

There are several ways to control who sees your resume. First, you can choose where to post your resume. Many job boards and social media sites allow you to make your resume private or visible only to certain people. Additionally, you can choose what information to include on your resume. If you want to keep your address and references private, simply leave them off your resume. You can also use a confidential resume format, which focuses on your skills and experience without including personal information.

Be cautious when sharing your resume online, but don’t get carried away either. Remember, millions of people share their resumes on public and private job boards. If it is a major concern for you, only post it on reputable job boards and social media sites that you trust, and be wary of any unsolicited requests for your resume or personal information. Always check their email address against and their credentials within their email.

To go even further, you can choose to only apply to jobs with reputable companies or recruiters who have a proven track record of respecting candidate privacy. Some research would be required to figure this out.


What Are the Risks of Sharing Your Resume?

In today’s online world, sharing anything with any kind of personal information comes with some inherent risks. While you shouldn’t let them dictate everything you do with your resume, it’s still a good idea to be aware of them.


Identity Theft

Your resume can contain sensitive, personal information. Sharing it with lots of different people and websites can come with some risks. The information can be used by identity thieves to open credit accounts, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes in your name. While you can take some of the measures we’ve talked about, you can’t spend every waking moment worrying about this stuff. We can no longer digitally disconnect from the world.

So the most important thing you can do is PAY ATTENTION! Pay attention to banking and credit card statements, your email accounts, your regular mail and other personal and financial  things you see regularly — things you should always be doing, regardless of whether you are job searching or not.  



There will always be a-hole employers who discriminate based on race, gender, age and other factors. Sharing your resume with large numbers of recruiters or employers exposes you to this. If your resume falls into the wrong hands, you may be discriminated against without even knowing it. Unfortunately, this is just a reality about the world we live in. The good news is there are more good people out there than bad ones. 


Unwanted Contact

Sharing your resume with recruiters or employers can result in unwanted contact. You may receive unsolicited emails, phone calls, or even text messages from recruiters or employers who have received your resume. This can be annoying and time-consuming, especially if you are not actively looking for a job.


Job Loss

Sharing your resume with recruiters or employers while you are still employed can put your current job at risk. While it’s not common, if your employer finds out that you are looking for a new job, they may terminate your employment or treat you differently. This can be especially risky if you work in a small industry where everyone knows each other.


What to Do if Your Resume is Shared Without Your Consent

If you find out that your resume has been shared without your consent, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Contact the person who shared your resume: Let them know that you did not authorize them to share your resume and ask them to remove it from their records.
  • Notify the company: If your resume was shared with a company without your consent, contact them and let them know that your resume was shared without your permission. Request that they delete your resume from their records and that they do not share it with anyone else.
  • Consider legal action: If the person or company that shared your resume refuses to remove it from their records, you may want to consider legal action. Consult with a lawyer to discuss your options.

Take the time to research unfamiliar recruiters and companies before sharing your resume with them, and if it’s important to you, request that they ask for your consent before they share your resume with anyone else. But again, weigh this against how big a deal it is to you. You may not want to unnecessarily annoy prospective employers or recruiters if it’s a minor detail.


Final Thoughts…

With this information, hopefully you can make an informed decision about whether or not to create one for yourself. Keep in mind that not all employers will accept confidential resumes. Some may require you to provide your full contact details in order to be considered for a position. It’s important to carefully consider whether a confidential resume is the right choice for you and to follow any application instructions provided by potential employers.

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