Warning Signs- If it looks too good to be true- It Probably Is.
The two most common types of job seeking scams involve getting you to supply your bank details; or getting you to supply your private data so that it can be passed on to unauthorized third parties:
1) Phishing scams- Sites will collect a raft of your details such as your email address, maiden name, security questions, passport numbers etc. Legitimate recruitment sites will always let you know why your data is being collected and will have policies in place to ensure the protection of your data. Look for privacy policies normally at in the website footer. They will also expressly obtain your permission if they intend to pass your info onto any related third parties.
A scam website will collect your details for the sole purpose of selling it on to other companies, most likely wholly unrelated to the recruitment industry. Whereas a legitimate recruitment site might ask its users whether they can pass their details on to their trusted partners, such as sites offering CV advice or other jobs websites; a phishing scam site will sell your details to the highest bidder, without your permission and without telling you they are doing it.
Sites like this may ask you to provide your details because they have job vacancies available currently, but when you enter your details it says that the positions have been filled. They will then use your information to sell to other companies who might use the info obtained to spam you, or, more seriously, for identity theft.
2) Guaranteed employment for a fee- Scammers have been known to pose as recruitment agencies. They will email you and guarantee that they will find you work, in exchange for an upfront fee. As soon as you have supplied your bank details or transferred the money, you will hear nothing else. Whereas legitimate recruitment websites may have specialised services that benefit the jobseeker, for which they may charge a fee; such as professional CV writing, a jobs website will never charge their users in order to apply for a job, or guarantee someone work, for an upfront payment.
Overseas jobseekers are a target for recruitment scams as they are asked to pay an upfront fee for 'visa arrangements' or 'travel costs'- which again is not something a genuine recruitment agency would request via email. Legitimate agencies are likely to be registered with the REC; a representative body for the UK's recruitment industry which acts to raise recruitment standards and to enforce certain codes of practice within the recruitment industry. They also offer jobseekers advice on how to keep your personal info safe when job seeking. See the website for more details.
If you see any of the following warning signs- then you need to be aware that they may be scams:
* Jobs offering you hefty wage packets for doing minimal work.
Check their contact details. If there is a phone number on the email, check it against the website of the company. Try and speak to someone directly: it is likely that scam job sites will try and avoid personal contact, and if you can't contact someone via telephone or find a registered business address then be careful. Check the 'terms and conditions' or the 'about us' sections of a website to find the registered company address. You can also lookup all registered UK businesses that are legally operating by visiting the Companies House website.
* You are being offered a job that you haven't applied for- this is likely to be a scam. If you are applying for lots of jobs, write down all the jobs you have applied for to be sure, don't get caught out by this common phishing scam.
* You receive an email with a job opportunity but it is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors- be aware that this is a common sign of a scam. The odd spelling error doesn't make you a criminal, but look carefully at the correspondence, judge the content, the spelling and if it all seems a bit fishy... leave well alone.
Protect Yourself. You are entitled to request references from a company so you can check that they are a legitimate business. Utilise the power of Google - search for the company who contacted you. Add the word 'scam' to your search to see if you get any results. See what kinds of things are being said online- if no-one has heard of them or the things they say are bad- then be careful.
Most professionals today know that they need a great 30 second commercial-or elevator speech-to effectively gather new business. But what about job hunters? Can a well-crafted 30 second commercial increase a job seeker’s chances of finding a new position? Absolutely! Used in both networking situations and in job interviews, your commercial succinctly conveys what you have accomplished in the past, and what you can do for a future employer.
While you are out of work, when asked in a social situation what it is you do for a living, instead of mumbling that you were recently laid off, give the inquirer your elevator speech. You never know who might be in a position to introduce you to your next employer. And once they hear you confidently profess how you helped your last company and what you are looking to do next, they will be happy to assist if they can.
In a job interview, more often than not the first question asked is something like, “Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?” Rather than spouting off the names of your pets and your penchant for piano playing, hit them with your 30 second commercial. Voila! You are off to a great start.
There are four items you must address in a job hunting elevator speech. The first is a sentence summarizing your post high school education. And remember your grammar: a male graduate of a particular university is an alumnus, a female is an alumna. Don’t worry if you didn’t graduate, but don’t bring that point up either. Do mention if you graduated with honors or won any awards. Leave out the year you graduated unless it is recent or anticipated.
The next section is a brief synopsis of your professional career. This should be no more than two to three quick sentences or your audience might tune you out. Mention only what is relevant. If your previous job title was similar, state it. If it was senior or junior to the position you are seeking, leave it out and offer, “I’ve worked in industry XYZ for 13 years.”
The third section of your 30 second commercial is the most critical, and also the hardest for many people to craft. Here is where you mention one of your favorite accomplishments. Again, brevity is crucial. Give the problem, how you solved it, and the outcome as clearly as you can.
The wrap up of your elevator speech should let the listener know what job you are seeking.
Here is an example of a polished 30 second commercial:
I graduated summa cum laude from Regis University with a BS in Economics and a minor in Math. For the last fifteen years I’ve worked for various investment banks and I managed the regional hub office for Piper and Piper, supervising more than 40 employees. When I accepted the position the office had a profitability of 10%. I recognized three areas where efficiency could be improved and implemented gradual changes. In less than two years the office reached a profitability of 30%. I’m currently looking to use my experience in management directing an office of a mid to large size company.
Does a 30 second commercial have to be rattled off in 30 seconds? Your listener will never pull out a stop watch. The name does suggest, however, that it should be brief and a good guideline is one minute or less.
Practice your commercial in front of the mirror until you have it memorized. Then practice it on friends and family. It might feel a little awkward at first; after all, we’re conditioned not to toot our own horns. Soon, however, you’ll give it comfortably, taking the first step to using networking as a powerful tool in your job search.