By Manifesto Joe
Ever heard the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is?
I recently joined the ranks of America's unemployed, and that bit of wisdom is coming in quite handy for me as my job search heats up. There are job scams galore out there, and if you've got e-mail addresses involved in your search, you're certain to be getting all kinds of offers from con artists.
With as many nervous and vulnerable job hunters as there are out there, there are countless vultures ready and willing to prey on them and put their unemployment benefits in a different bank. I can identify several types of these scams.
1. Insurance companies
However good their pitch, and however reputable they sound, this is one of the most common scams. Oh, it's legal, and they tend to merely stretch the truth rather than outright lie. If you've uploaded a resume, any resume, on any kind of a site like careerbuilder.com, you've either gotten these kinds of offers or will soon get them. The requirement for their interest: a pulse.
I almost fell for one of their common ploys -- a presentation that serves as a sort of preliminary interview. I decided recently to accept an offer to do this, so I suited up, printed out my resume, got my briefcase out and used this as a "dress rehearsal" for a one-on-one interview.
The presentation was good, I had to admit. But I looked around the room. These prelim events generally have five to 15 prospects in the room. I was one of 10, so we were very average. There were people there from all walks of life, all levels of education. Most already had jobs and were looking for a different sort of opportunity.
It all sounded pretty good, until you are told that it's going to cost quite a bit of money to get licensed by the state. It's also 100% commission, and they avoid telling you that most "agents" don't survive the first year. Even among the ones who do, there's a trainer there who's going to help you build a call list, and that person is very likely to take the lion's share of the money. They say it's not a pyramid scheme, but you eventually find that's how it works.
When a company sends you an e-mail, Google the company's name and then type in "scam." I'll bet you get numerous hits on that every time.
I'm not going to name names, but I'll go so far as to say that it's every single one of them that directly contacts resume posters. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you didn't send a resume directly to this company, chances are 99.44% that this is a scam.
Again, these outfits will send you an e-mail and lay lots of flattery on you about your "experience." They will tell you how much money you can make, and how you can be your "own boss" as a franchisee.
Delete, with extreme prejudice.
3. Work-at-home schemes
Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. A common one of these is how one can make $77 an hour working at home on one's PC.
Do yourself a favor and get rid of it.
4. For-profit colleges
Ever gotten into what looks like a job-search website, then get bombarded by pop-up ads for those "for-profit" online colleges?
They'll gladly take your money for a degree that, in the end, you may be unable to use.
Exit these, post haste.
One problem that's not exactly a scam, but is a disgusting time-waster, is when you're trying to apply for a company's advertised job, and your software isn't communicating with the company's. This is tied in with how unhealthily dependent companies have become on computer programs. In this case, the company's IT people haven't updated their system to be compatible with a wide range of PC software. So, you get taken around in circles until you realize that this is an exercise in futility.
Perhaps the worst scammer of all is Corporate America itself
This is happening where I used to work, and it's common all across the U.S. People get laid off from full-time jobs with benefits. Then, six months to a year later, if they're still available, the same company offers them a part-time job, with no benefits, of course.
Also, have you noticed how many of the advertised job openings are part time, or for temporary contract posts, etc.?
We live in the age of the Throwaway American Workforce. More than ever, people are being replaced by computers, and employee pension plans are being abandoned so that corporations can "afford" to pay lavish executive pensions.
The official U.S. unemployment rate has generally been 8-9% for years. If you take into account the number of people who are underemployed, stuck in no-future jobs with no benefits, I think you could double that percentage for all practical purposes. And then, there are millions who have just plain given up.
Bottom line: If you are hunting for a job, be careful out there.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.