There are many job-search scams to watch out for. There’s never a shortage of human scum: people who put their energy into taking from and taking advantage of others.
As a job seeker, you can be taken advantage of too.
Years ago, we could spot certain scams like these: “Work From Home and Earn $10,000 a week.” Those are easy for us to dismiss, then and now.
However, criminals are becoming far more cunning and strategic with their actions. This is why it’s important to know about the various job-search scams to watch out for so you don’t fall victim.
Let’s get started:
1. RESUME/ATS SCAN SCAM
This is how the scam works …
Job seekers are approached by someone who claims to be with a recruiting firm and told their resumes can’t be read or scanned by a hiring company’s ATS software.
To job seekers, the recruitment firm looks legit at first glance. Doing a modest amount of research on Google search, the jobseeker likely finds some recent firm mentions, press releases, and so on.
Job seekers, at times, can be desperate and lose control of where their resume gets published online. Being contacted out of the blue by a recruitment firm doesn’t seem strange because active job seekers often submit their resumes to job boards, hiring agents and employers.
They never know who can (and does) access their resumes once they are uploaded online. So, getting contacted by a recruitment firm doesn’t raise suspicion for most.
However, a red flag should go up when you’re told, “although we could open your resume, our system is unable to read it because it’s NOT in the company’s accepted ATS format.”
The scam gets modified slightly too.
Here’s how the scam draws the job seeker in further by creating fear and uncertainty:
“We are having an issue with your resume. I asked my colleague and apparently, it is a common issue. He instructed me to ask you to check your resume through layered-designs(dot)com* and see if you can identify and fix the problem.
We can open the file without any issues but the problem is with the way information in your resume is structured and formatting used which is resulting in a lot of missing information in experience fields when your resume is parsed by the candidate management systems. Please check your resume and try fixing the issue so we don’t have to manually type everything in our candidate tracking system.
We have a call scheduled with the client on Thursday and I will try to make a brief introduction. I am available for a call anytime on Friday. Let me know a time that works for you and I will give you a call to discuss the next steps and in the meantime please try to get your resume issue fixed so our timing is not affected.”
If you’re brave enough to visit the website, you’ll find multiple grammatical and spelling errors, which should start your doubt as to their validity.
Avoid This Vegetable
This is the scam because job seekers are dangled (a “carrot” of sorts) something they want, and the only thing standing in their way is a somewhat affordable fee of less than $100.
These scammers aren’t just after your initial fee. They are likely after your credit card number too, so be careful and avoid these scammers like the plague.
RELATED: The FTC shut down ResumeterPRO in February 2019 for scamming job seekers with unnecessary resume fixing services and requesting an upfront fee to get interviews for exclusive executive jobs.
2. COMPUTER-GENERATED RESUME REVIEWS
We’ve all seen the advertisements for free resume reviews.
Some of these resume review services are scams, not because they request an upfront fee but because they provide false information.
This is how the scam works …
Some job boards and “self-proclaimed top resume services” offer free resume reviews.
At first, a free resume review seems harmless.
For example, job seekers who aren’t getting many job interviews might think THERE IS something wrong with their resumes. And, getting a resume review can help shed light on exactly what’s wrong with the resume’s content, format, or whatever, right?
However, these Good Samaritan resume reviewers are too often “selling reps” in disguise.
These resume reviewers accept large volumes of resumes for review, and the computer system (not a human!) responds to job seekers with auto-populated, template resume reviews.
As you might have guessed, these free review sites provide job seekers with:
- Generic and irrelevant resume writing tips
- Advice that’s not job, industry, or individual specific — or not specific enough
- Inaccurate recommendations
As you might have guessed, the goal of these review services is to MAKE SALES. Plain and simple.
It’s a numbers game for them…
If you tell 10 job seekers that their resumes are inadequate, how many of those will convert to clients? These reviewers don’t need a high conversion rate … maybe a modest 1% does the trick.
One resume mill particularly that uses the above “sales tactic” to secure clients makes an eye-popping $5M in yearly revenue.
Jobseekers, at times, are vulnerable, especially when they’ve been exposed to a longer-than-expected job search.
Your best bet is to avoid resume review sites altogether because if they don’t get your money, they steal the confidence you have in your resume.
[Related Resource: Here’s a look at how the resume review service at TopResume works]
A recent scam we’ve learned about came from a fellow resume writer who applied for a contract writing (independent 1099) job through Indeed.com. At first glance, the writing gig looked legit.
However, the hiring firm asked the writer for a copy of her driver’s license early on in the relationship. Too early, actually.
For a job where she would be an employee, yes, the hiring company would need a copy of the job seeker’s driver’s license to process the new employee’s background check.
However, for a contract job, there’s no valid reason IMHO for needing a copy of a driver’s license.