Unlike medical records and Social Security numbers, resumes are not confidential information. Current, past and potential employers have no obligation to keep resumes confidential – in fact, third parties such as job-search websites and industry recruiters increasingly sell services to give job seekers more privacy.
Employers have no responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of your resume. If for some reason you prefer that your current or past employer keep your resume confidential, the best you can do is request – in a respectful and professional manner – that it keep your resume private.
Many people search or apply for new jobs while working in their current positions. Some simply want to see if they can get interviews or be offered raises, some want a career change and some are unhappy and want to switch companies. Regardless, most people do not want their current employers to find out about their job search, for fear of damaging workplace relationships or even being fired.
As a result (and because of the improving search capabilities of Internet tools), many online job-search services offer accounts with enhanced privacy features or “confidential resumes” that remove or withhold personal information such as name, address and current employer. Recruiters and agencies also offer to provide discreet services and intercede with potential employers to maintain a candidate’s privacy.
A number of job-search guides offer tips on how to keep current employers from finding out about job searches (ranging from the obvious – don’t search at work – to the paranoid – remove dates and institutional names from degree information). Most guides state that candidates can ask potential employers for discretion but can only hope that potential employers respect the request.