Spam and Your Job Search

In an active job search, you will send and post your resume to a number of places. Some of these may be publicly accessible, allowing anyone to obtain your email address. This can lead to a tremendous amount of spam. There are ways you can control the spam you receive.

One of the best solutions for a job seeker is to use a different email address for your job search. Create a free email account on a service like Gmail. This will keep your personal email address confidential and only lead spammers to your new account.

When creating an email address for you job search, make it professional. Do not borrow someone else’s account for your search. This can make a bad impression. Using the email of a spouse or child raises the question of whether you have a personal email and why you didn’t create one for your search. Using someone else’s email will not prevent spam. It will just send it to them instead of you.

A good format for your email address will include a variation on your name. For example:

  • First initial and last name – jdoe @ emaildomain . com

  • First and middle initial and last name – jjdoe @ emaildomain . com

  • First name and last initial – johnd @ emaildomain . com

  • First and last name – johndoe @ emaildomain . com

  • First and last name with hyphen – john-doe @ emaildomain .com

You may find some or all of these choices are unavailable from a free email service. Gmail has millions of accounts, making it more difficult to find a unique name. Adding numbers can be an effective solution. A two digit number added to the end of your name will often be available.

Once you have an account for your email, you need to decide how to deal with the spam you get. Setting up a job search specific account will not stop the spam, it will just keep it our of your regular email inbox. There are options for dealing with spam.

Spam Filters: Most email services have some type of spam filter included. You may have the choice of setting how the filter works. The challenge is weeding out the right emails and not losing important ones. I prefer to let more in and delete the junk manually with my email. I’d rather deal with some extra spam than miss an important email, but this is personal preference.

Anti-Spam Software: If you aren’t happy with the spam filter included with your email service, you can find software that will screen your emails.

Spam Prevention: There are services that require someone sending an email to you to validate that they are a real person. This is great for preventing spam, but I strongly discourage using a service like this in your job search. If someone reads your resume and wants to contact you, you should make it easy for them. Requiring them to complete a validation step so their email will reach you may cause them to pass you over. I have done this with borderline candidates. For someone that I don’t think is especially strong, I’m more likely to email than call.  If the candidate has a validation step, I usually will not compete it since the candidate wasn’t an especially strong fit in the first place.  With the number of resumes I receive, I just don’t have time. There’s a good change the person screening your resume will be equally busy.

The bottom line is that you will receive some spam. When you get spam, delete it. Never respond (that will just encourage the spammer to send more). Some spam will include offers that sound too good to be true. They are. Thousands of people are taken advantage of every year. Be careful.