Social Security Numbers For Online Job Applications

Top Ten Job Searching Tips

How many of these have you read? Here we go again, but this time I am concentrating on those matters which have emerged over the last two to three years, that we often neglected or failed to use in the past; mainly it's to do with new technology.

1. Get a professional email address.

Ditch the

. Now is the time to professionalise yourself, use your proper name or professional name.

2. Google yourself.

Sounds egotistic doesn't it? But just in case you wrote something many years ago, and it raises its head to bite you in the foot, it is better to check what is out there on you in cyber space. Also while we are at it, blog your email address, telephone number and address as well, all these can leave a digital footprint exposing yourself to other information .

3. Add your email address to your CV or resume.

How many times do I see this omission?

4. Start blogging.

This is a free way of getting yourself known and building your profile.

5. Register on online job sites.

There are many:, TradeMe/, and also check out your local newspaper online listings.

6. Use social networking sites to your advantage.

Make a special professional Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo etc account specifically to your work environment, keep your personal social networks to your friends.

7. Network.

Join societies, organisations and clubs associated to your career. Check out the Yellow Pages and online directories to see what is available, then network with these people.

8. Specialize - Become a Subject Matter Expert.

A sophisticated society has many specialist roles, therefore, the more specialised you are or can become, the more expertise you can provide, and more value to an employer's team. But don't forget to be a generalist in all areas connected with your career.

9. Lead from your strengths.

If you know what you are good at, or above average, or just brilliant at ... then move from that area first. If you are good at public speaking then use that as your primary form of accentuating your strengths.

10. Mitigate your weaknesses.

Similar to number nine. Play down your weaknesses. Avoid (especially in those first couple of meetings) those things that you are not so good at, or generally don't like doing.

As a Consultant I am constantly looking for my next contract assignment. Almost all of my job applications are filled out online. On rare occasion I will be asked for my social security number. If a company asks me to provide them with my SS number in order to apply for a job I question whether I want to work for that organization. As a Human Resource professional I am aware that the social security number is required to conduct a background check however no background check should be run until both parties show mutual interest with a strong possibility of a job offer being imminent.
Today I applied for a job with a health care organization in St. Louis, MO and they asked for my social security number when I filled out their online application. I entered: 000-00-0000 but the system wouldn’t accept it. The system required that I enter a valid number so I tried 000-00-1111 but it wouldn’t accept that number either. There is no reason this company should have that information up front. I will not entrust my SS number with total strangers online. What if their site is hacked? What if they run my background check without my knowledge?
I did a little research and discovered that back in the 1960’s Woolworth’s used to have social security #’s on their wallet inserts. The number they used was 078-05-1120 as a result the Social Security Administration has voided this number. Try using this number 078-05-1120 if they system will not accept your entry of 999-99-9999 or 000-00-0000. I highly recommend not providing your social security number or date of birth on any online job application.
If the Health Care organization in St. Louis, MO ends up hiring me I will recommend that they revise their online application process. As a Recruiter I would have a very difficult time persuading any future candidates to go through the online application process that requires them to include their social security number.