Where NOT to look for work, no matter what


Over the last decade, hardly a person in the workforce hasn’t been tested in some way or another. Whether a newcomer to the job market or a thirty-year veteran, you most likely were challenged by the most extenuating circumstances we’ve seen since the Great Depression. That’s no news: we all know it and we’ve read our share of articles and blogs about it. Enough already, especially in light of the improving conditions!

But one thing that still needs discussion is something that many people, unfortunately, have bumped into – and gotten hurt in the process, a beast that continues to raise its ugly head, claiming victims long after the worst is over for the job market in general.

That beast is the job scam – the too-good-to-be-true or too-easy-to-make-sense deal – that takes many forms. Even after the worst is over in the job market, these scams pick up steam, persuading many unsuccessful job seekers to abandon searches for traditional jobs and to reach out for what looks like a lifesaver in rough seas. The cycle is easy to spot (and predict). First the economy picks up (it has). Then the job market follows (it is). But for some who have not yet landed, the scams continue (they are).

Desperation leads to desperate acts, and the scammers know it. So if you haven’t been able to find or keep a job for a prolonged period of time, these scams start looking like your only chance. It’s understandable, but if you’re not aware, you’re prey. Here are the most common forms of this beast. Beware!

Work-at-home schemes. While there are many legitimate jobs with reputable companies in which you do work from your house, these real jobs are generally not advertised that way. Ads for these jobs generally discuss the job and the company first. Questionable jobs with blaring ads about working from home and making buckets of money are suspicious, to say the least. Really, who makes $9,500.00 a month working five hours a day at home in a job that requires no skills or previous experience? Yet many otherwise aware people still fall for that.

Money up front. Many schemes require money up front to buy materials or a “starter kit.” No legitimate job requires this unless you’re clearly taking on the role of a distributor, but in that case, this shouldn’t be presented as a job, but as a business venture. Up-front schemes usually start with a relatively small amount of money that is not too imposing – a couple of hundred dollars, maybe less. Problem is, the minute you plunk it down, you’re faced with one of two next steps: either no further trace of the company or the necessity to buy something else. See what’s just happened? 

Showing just one card at a time. Many schemes start off with a fantastic statement about the job and the money, but tell you little else. You’re led to a web site where they tell you just a tiny bit more before you have to start entering personal information to go further, usually just a name and a password at first. Right there – the password – you’ve got a problem. Many people unsuspectingly use the same password for everything: email, shop on line accounts, on-line banking, and...OMG, they just got your password! Your private information is being sold God-knows-where. If you have to keep jumping through hoops to get more crumbs of information, you’re being sucked in.

No salary. HUGE commissions. “Make 90 percent on your first sale!” That’s an ad I saw recently. When I visited their web site and saw a man and woman sitting by a pool out behind an enormous mansion, I saw enough. These high commission offers typically involve no salary. Well geez, I could hire every unemployed person in the country under those conditions and, in the process, instantly create the world’s largest company. Sure.

Guaranteed jobs. There’s no such thing. Any “employment service” that guarantees to get you a job is a fake. There are no guarantees, and anyone promising one is a fake.

Previously undisclosed” federal jobs. Once again: no such thing. The government doesn’t work that way. I know, I know...after last year a lot of people don’t think the government works at all, but seriously, the government is the most legitimate hiring organization of all. Sure, it’s a painfully long process, but all federal positions are announced to the public and easy to find on www.usajobs.gov. Anyone else claiming to be part of this process is a scammer.

Credit card, please. Under no circumstances should you give out your credit card or bank account information over the phone or when you get called in for an “interview.” Same goes for your social security number. Think you don’t need to be told? So did many desperate job seekers who found out too late. 

An email from where? Many credible businesses now use social media sites to recruit. However, be wary of unsolicited emails from unrecognizable sites claiming that a company is interested in your resume, especially if they can’t tell you where they got it.

So don’t be fooled and don’t let yourself be scammed. Credibility hasn’t changed. Stay the course.

Career Coach Eli Amdur conducts workshops and one-on-one coaching in Job Search, Career Planning, Resumes, and Interviewing. Reach him at eli.amdur@amdurcoaching.com or 201-357-5844. Please visit www.amdurcoaching.com and "like" him at www.facebook.com/AmdurCoaching.

 

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