What's a Confidential Resume? (With 9 Steps for Writing One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A confidential job application is helpful when you don't want others to discover your intention to change jobs. A confidential resume, also known as a private resume, can allow you to apply for positions without supplying your private details, such as your name or address. By reviewing a sample resume for a confidential candidate, you can identify the typical steps involved with omitting personal details on your resume. In this article, we define a confidential resume, list tips for writing one, share a resume template and provide a resume example.

What's a confidential resume?

A confidential resume is a formal employment document detailing your eligibility as a candidate to a hiring organisation. It can be important to understand that a private resume is essentially the same as a traditional resume, except it excludes details that might allow a hiring manager to identify you. This may seem counterintuitive, but there may be some situations or environments where you might prefer your job search activities to remain private. If you're currently employed and believe your remaining experience may become unpleasant if colleagues and managers discover you're leaving, you may consider a private resume.

When writing a traditional resume, there's a lot of content that can help people identify you, such as the names of your previous places of employment or the name of the school or university you attended. The content of your resume typically remains the same, but you replace these names with generalised terms. For example, instead of stating you gained a degree from 'Hilton University', you might state you gained your degree from an 'Australian university'.

You can typically use a confidential job application for any career, except those that require identification, such as law enforcement, government and national defence positions.

Related: How to Choose the Best Time to Send a Resume to an Employer

How to write a private resume

Below, you can consider nine tips for writing a private resume:

1. Include specific contact information

The section that usually changes the most in a private resume is your contact information. In traditional resume styles, you may include most of your information, such as your full name, email address, phone number, city and state. For a private resume, you typically exclude all this information, but you do require at least one piece of contact information, so that hiring managers may still contact you. You may consider only including your email address or phone number, though it can be important to ensure your name isn't identifiable through these methods.

2. Create a new email address

If your identity is easily identifiable from your email address, you might consider creating a new one for a confidential application. It may seem like an unnecessary precaution, but your personal email address might include your initials and first and last name. If you use a work mobile or email address, including those might not be a great idea, as they identify your current employer.

3. Write a professional summary

A professional summary is a section on your resume that essentially serves as an advertisement for your suitability. Your summary typically highlights your primary employment attributes and credentials, such as work experience and qualifications. If your professional summary impresses the hiring manager, they may feel encouraged to continue reading your resume and consider you a suitable candidate to interview. Depending on the credentials you highlight, there may be some information that requires exclusion. For example, if your primary attribute is your qualification, you may exclude the name of the institute where you graduated.

Related: Resume Summary Examples for Students (Plus How to Write One)

4. Detail certifications or licenses

A certification may refer to online courses or workshops that provide skills specific to an industry or activity. Some certificates or qualifications may only be offered by a single institution, so supplying its name may enable hiring managers to identify where you gained it. Other certificates are typically available from many institutions, so referencing the certificate name won't break your confidentiality. Licences may also be a requirement for a vacant role. Some licences are state-specific, so the licence names might suggest where you live. These identification methods are relatively broad, so hiring managers might not be able to identify you.

5. Reference your skills

The skills section on your resume is typically the only section that remains unchanged when developing a private resume. Your skills, while highlighting your personality, rarely allude to your personal information. You may list your technical and soft skills without altering any information or formats. Depending on the role you're applying for, you might have a separate section for technical skills or you may group all your skills together under and single heading.

Related: How to Show Active Listening Skills on Your Resume

6. Highlight generic work experience

Work experience can be an extremely beneficial credential on your resume, but it can involve business names and locations. If you're a professional within a relatively small industry, employers might be able to identify you based on your current or most recent employment. When writing about your work experience, you may utilise generic terminology for describing your working environment. For example, if you're listing experience gained during employment as a software developer, you can completely exclude the business name and instead list your job title. You may also highlight your years of employment or current employment status.

7. Mention qualifications

Qualifications can be an excellent addition to your resume, but if you want your resume to be completely confidential, you might exclude the institution's name. When including your qualification, you can replace the institution's name with 'Nationally accredited university' or 'Australian TAFE'. You may detail your graduation year, as there may be hundreds of students who graduated that year within your state, so it may be difficult to identify you based on that information.

8. Proofread your resume

After you write your resume, you can review it for any potential mistakes, errors, missing content or confidential content that requires exclusion. This can ensure your resume is confidential and that hiring managers can't identify you from your application. Proofreading your resume can also be beneficial for ensuring the professionalism of the document because it can allow you to resolve errors before submission.

9. Consider including a disclaimer

A disclaimer isn't always necessary, but it can be helpful, particularly for hiring managers who want to determine why your resume is confidential. Depending on the reason you provide, most hiring managers may respect and appreciate your desire to remain anonymous for the interim. It might also be worth detailing your willingness to provide personal details upon a successful application. While you may like to remain anonymous, the hiring manager may eventually require your full name and identity. You can dedicate a sentence or two of your professional summary to highlight this disclaimer.

Resume template for a confidential job application

Here, you can explore a resume template for a confidential candidate applying for a vacant role:

Confidential Candidate

[Email address] | [Phone number]

Professional Summary

[Here, you may detail your professional summary. This is usually three to five sentences long.]

Certifications

[You can reference your certifications here in bullet-point format.]

Technical Skills

[Here, you may write your technical skills with a pipe character or comma separating each skill.]

Soft Skills

[In this section, you may reference your soft skills, using the same formatting as the technical skills section.]

Work Experience

[Most recent job title]
[Employment dates]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

[Second most recent job title]
[Employment dates]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

  • [job responsibility]

Qualifications

[Qualification name]
[Generic institute name], [Date of graduation]

Related: Guide to Using a Modern Resume Template (With Tips and Examples)

Resume example for a confidential job application

Here, you can explore a detailed resume example for a confidential candidate applying to a data engineering role:

Confidential Candidate
Private_Candidate@email.com.au | 049 483 5937

Professional Summary

Experienced data engineer with several years of industry experience, applying for a data engineering role with Sable Products. Currently employed in a software development company and would prefer to remain anonymous during this application process. Has completed a Bachelor of Software Development and acquired advanced skills and knowledge in industry procedures and processes. Excited to contribute an excellent work ethic and team-oriented mindset to the team at Sable. Thank you for respecting and understanding the confidentiality of this resume.

Certificates

  • Data Tools 101

  • Creating Reliable Pipelines

  • How to Utilise ETL Software

  • Understanding the basics: ETL

Technical Skills

Managing data warehouses | Creating efficient and reliable pipelines | Monitoring database performance | Expertise in various operation platforms | Exceptional coding skills | Knowledge of popular program languages | Automating processes | Setting up company-specific dashboards | Integrating third-party applications

Soft Skills

Strategic-thinking | Problem solving | Time management | Communication | Collaboration | Teamwork | Critical thinking | Attention to detail | Multi-tasking | Adaptability

Work Experience

ETL Developer
December 2019-January 2022

  • prioritised data sources

  • created effective data pipelines

  • managed multiple company database warehouses

  • implemented visualisation models for dashboard interfaces

  • integrated extract, load and transform features for a central infrastructure

Software Developer
January 2018-December 2019

  • monitored software performance

  • analysed coding languages

  • utilised development tools for debugging codes

Qualifications

Bachelor of Software Development
Nationally Accredited University, 2019

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