It's happened to plenty of eager job-seekers: You come across a job posting that looks like it could be the perfect opportunity, but something about it seems just a little "off." Unfortunately, these are often job scams. To avoid falling victim to one, here are a few ways to identify them.
Conduct Research: Doing adequate research on the company to which you're applying is always a good habit to practice. Not only can it help you tailor your resume and cover letter, but it also can assure you that the company and posting are legitimate. Make a point to visit the company website. Red flags should go off if they don't have one or if the site doesn't fit with the job description. Ask yourself these questions when researching: How professional is the job posting and the company site? Is company contact information listed? Does the contact information match with the job posting's information?
Do Not Pay: Be cautious of an employer that asks you to pay anything for a job. The whole point in finding work is so you get the paycheck, not the other way around!
Check the Job Description: Be sure you get a general understanding of what the job is about by reviewing the posting. If there isn't anything listed then it's time to contact the company to get a better understanding of the position before you offer up your personal information to them.
Research Again: Now, some smaller companies may not have websites. That is when you want to do an online search of the company's name to see what information you can find. You can also get company information from the white pages, yellow pages, yelp.com, manta.com or even Hoover's, which maintains a database of companies and can be accessed on AIU's Virtual Campus. See if you can not only find the company and contact information, but also whether any scam alerts have been posted.
Check Scam Reports: Use organizations like the Better Business Bureau to see if a company has a large amount of complaints against them, along with any unresolved or unsettled complaints.
It's Too Good to Be True: Job postings that list unrealistic outcomes and pay typically are, in fact, unreal.
Be Safe, Not Sorry: Scammers are getting very good and what they do, so job postings and companies may look and sound very professional. Ensuring that you conduct adequate research before applying to a posting can save you a lot of trouble in the end.
Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.