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When your CV is used without your permission

It is rare, but sometimes over zealous agents send your CV out without your permission. They are not allowed by law to do this, and it can cause you problems. Here's what you can do about it.

Why is your CV used without asking?

Your CV belongs to you. Obviously you want to get it out there so people know about you, but you don't want it taking on a life of its own and being used against your wishes. Sometimes agents will use your CV to prove to a client the kind of calibre they can attract.

Or when you are looking they might put you forward for roles without asking you just to beat other competing agents who might want to put you forward - so they can claim landing rights should the client want to see you.Double and triple dealing can occur with several agencies sending your details to the same client. They then try and bargain like crazy to get the business. But, you could wind up the loser as your details are kicked around and agencies fight, resulting in the client taking a wide distance from you.

How you can protect your CV

You can do quite a lot to protect your CV.

  1. Tell agents that you expect to be informed if the CV is sent out
  2. Place a note on the CV stating ''No circulation of this CV without written permission"
  3. If the agent violates your trust, warn the Information Commissioner's Office
  4. If you can prove that you have suffered damages from illegal circulation of your CV, you can go to court and win compensation.

The Data Protection Act of 1998 guarantees the security of your personal data, and provides you with legal remedies if your privacy is not respected.

The London-based Information Commissioner's Office is the UK data protection watchdog. The Office can intervene when it has evidence of non-compliance, and it has previously announced concern about recruitment agencies. If you complain about your CV, they will take action, and the agency in question risks serious fines.

Better still, under the terms of the Data Protection Act, you can sue and obtain damages from any company that misuses your CV. You probably won't want to do this except in an extreme situation, but if you feel abused, you do have this right.

CV do's and don'ts

You should be aware that the way your CV is handled is all specified by the Data Protection Act. You should know:

  • Job ads should always identify the name of the agency responsible for your CV
  • When your CV goes out, you should know to whom it is being sent
  • If the client remains anonymous, your CV should be anonymous as well
  • If you fill out an application form, make sure you know what will be done with the data
  • Make sure that questions on forms relate to the job at hand and nothing else

The difference between verifying and vetting

Contractors should also be aware that there is a difference between verifying the informaton they have provided and vetting your CV, which means calling around and asking about you well beyond what is required to make sure you are telling the truth.

Vetting is only permitted in special cases as in workers who deal with children, so if you find you are being vetted, you should complain.

Leave references off CVs

Agents spend lots of their time trying to build relationships with new clients so they can place people. If you have a list of references on your CV then that list is going to be hammered again and again by agencies trying to get a foot in the door with your previous client.

It's fair play that agents do this, as it is part of their job, but your ex client will start getting pretty annoyed if they keep getting phone calls and find out it is because you have distributed their details widely on your CV.

Instead, just write "References are available on request" on your CV. You will never need to provide references before an interview. Only after, and in many cases they will not be followed up. Agents that insist on asking for references before an interview is held are probably just fishing for lead information and don't have a job they can offer you.

Put a date on your CV

Your CV will find its way on many databases, and you could be phoned in years from an agent that has picked up an old copy of your CV and is just phoning you for leads, or maybe has a job they need to fill.

It's a good idea to put a date on the bottom of your CV, and a link to your own personal blog or company website that has a copy of your latest CV.

Updated: 19 September 2016

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