How to Put "Handle With Confidentiality" on a Resume

For a confidential job search, do your resume posting outside working hours.

For a confidential job search, do your resume posting outside working hours.

A clandestine job search often is necessary if you're currently employed and don't want your boss to know that you're looking for employment elsewhere. Also, if you work in a close-knit field or occupation, you may not want the entire professional community to know your business. These are ideal reasons to label your resume "Confidential" or to ask the recruiter and hiring manager to not disclose the details of your application and resume.

Above Inside Address

Many job seekers prepare cover letters when they submit their qualifications, but if you've never submitted a cover letter before, now is the time. Your cover letter can introduce you as a qualified candidate, but it's also the perfect medium for telling the reader that you want to maintain a confidential job search. Instead of creating a watermark across the entire page that can distract the reader, simply type "Confidential" above the inside address. Highlight the word in bold font so the reader can't miss it.

Cover Letter Text

The first paragraph of a cover letter typically contains the job title and position, where you learned about the vacancy and whether you're including your resume for review. Use the final sentence in your first paragraph to let the reader know that you'd appreciate confidential handling of your application materials to the extent possible. Naturally, when a recruiter determines that you made the first cut in the screening process, she has to disclose your information to the hiring manager, hence, the reason for adding the phrase, "To the extent possible."

Resume Watermark

The problem with a cover letter that contains a "Confidential" watermark is that it might be confused with "Draft," in which case your application might not get the attention it deserves. On the other hand, using the same "Confidential" watermark on your resume could alert the reader that you want your resume and application materials to be handled confidentiality. The watermark should be in addition to stating in your cover letter that your job search is a confidential one. Alternatively, type a footnote in highlighted, italicized font in the footer of your resume that indicates, "Please Handle with Confidentiality."

Confidential Resume

When you just don't want to disclose your identity the first time you express interest in a job opening, a confidential resume ensures that the reader judges whether you're a viable candidate based solely on your qualifications. A confidential resume requires that you redact identifying information, such as your full name, mailing address, names of employers, schools and certification numbers, such as professional license numbers that can be searched to determine who you are. For example, if you worked at ABC Software Enterprises, substitute the company name with, "Confidential Software Development Company," and include just the city and state for the employer's location. In addition to this being a resume useful for a confidential job search, it's prudent to use this kind of confidential resume when you're applying to a blind ad. When you submit a confidential resume to a blind ad, write one or two brief sentences in your cover to explain that you're concerned about sending details about your personal identity and work history to an unknown employer. Assure the reader that you'll gladly disclose details about your work history once the company expresses an interest in your qualifications.

Outside Address

Sending a hard copy cover letter and resume makes the confidential designation a bit simpler. Above the outside address on the envelope, you could stamp, "Confidential," or type, "Confidential for: Mary Doe," or "To Be Opened by Addressee Only" above the addressee's name or in the left corner of the envelope. In this case, also mention in your cover letter that you want confidential handling of your application materials.

 

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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