Writing an anonymous resume means more than just removing your name and contact information from a resume.
There are usually two reasons that you would create such a resume:
- #1 – to keep your current employer from recognizing that you are looking.
- #2 – to protect your identity from those that may wish you ill or harm.
To truly protect your identity then you must avoid creating a chronological resume — although for many industries it is absolutely essential that you have a chronological resume! You just will not get employer contacts unless you do.
Below is my recommended format for creating an effective anonymous resume. Commentary on included items will be provided in (comments).
Bill / Anonymous Resume (1)
Northern Virginia (2)
— CISSP, MCSE, Top Secret/SSBI (4)
— I have current expertise in the following: Create a list of keywords and/or keyword phrases that describe your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA). These could be the names of equipment, projects, locations, tools or software that you are adept at wielding that could benefit your next employer. Since you wish to be anonymous then ONLY INCLUDE things for which you have done or used within the last five years.
Experience / Last 12 Months
— What is the general scope and scale of what you have done over the last 12 months? Example: My role has been Senior-Level Network Engineer and NOC Shift Manager for a 35 member cybersecurity team responsible for enterprise systems within the mid-Atlantic region. (5)
Experience / Last 5 Years
— Broadly outline your experience of the last five years just as you did for the last 12 months above.
Experience / Last 10 Years
— Broadly outline your experience that is older than the last five years but less than ten years.
— Your experience probably included different experiences, locations, equipment and systems, etc, for your employment of more than five years ago. So once again, appropriate to the time period (5+ years ago), outline your expertise in the following: Create a list of keywords and/or keyword phrases that describe your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA). These could be the names of equipment, projects, locations, tools or software that you are adept at wielding your KSAs to benefit your next employer.
AA (1997), BA (2003)
1 – Give recruiters a first name to call you. It doesn’t need to be your real name. Pick something simple and common. Interaction requires some level of one-on-one. A faux first name is much better than a recruiter feeling awkward contacting you via ‘Dear Anonymous’. You can give your real name once you are comfortable with the person that contacts you.
2 – Yes, you need an email address. Some websites automatically create a forwarding email address for you even if you are not anonymous. However, if you wish to truly be anonymous then create a separate email address. Get something from GMail or Hotmail and have emails forwarded to your regular email — so you don’t overlook checking. Anonymous resumes do not get a high response rate from recruiters and you may get tired of checking your special email account unless you are getting regular traffic.
3 – Yes, you need a location. Your location does not have to be exact. Recruiters are seldom interested in chatting with candidates that require relocation. So give them something to assist them in understanding your geospatial location. You could just use your city name or using a metropolitan area name. Examples: Richmond VA; Metro Washington DC; Baltimore, MD area; Northwest Florida; Southern California; Colorado Springs area, etc.
4 – If you have certifications then put that information up front. Certifications are often more valuable than formal degreed education. On an anonymous resume, certifications could be the one thing that encourages a recruiter or program manager to contact you. Anonymous resumes have very low contact rates so this is a major advertiser for why they should contact you.
5 – There is no need to mention the name of your employers. Be consistent: leave out the names of your employers. Whom you worked for can be important for you to get your next job — but since you want to be anonymous then naming employers can also expose your identity.
6 – There is no need to give the names of the schools that you went to. You could include the expertise area of your degree (if relevant to the job) if you wish, or you can just list the level of degree received. Naming schools can compromise your identity.
Before creating an anonymous resume, ask yourself why you are doing it. Such resumes have abysmally low response rates. For some individuals it is essential to have an anonymous resume. Please do not create an anonymous resume because you believe that it will give you a mystique factor — this only works for the most unique of individuals, and they probably aren’t looking for a job.
by Bill Golden