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How to Avoid a Job Scam

Have you ever had a feeling that the job description or company sounds just too good to be true – so good in fact, that it might even be a scam? Many of us have passed by light poles displaying ads for earning six figure incomes from home before you roll out of bed.  In this difficult economic climate there are some disreputable “companies” that try to take advantage of unsuspecting job seekers. These companies are often after your money or personal information that will give them access to your identity or your contacts.

  1. Research the company and the position – Your first stop should be Google (or another search engine of your choice.) Search for the company’s website and see what other results come up. Evaluate whether their website is professional and is consistent the company’s stated mission/purpose. Identify contact information for the company on their website and any other pertinent information.
  2. Check with the authorities – The Better Business Bureau website permits you to search for companies and can provide some basic information about a company and reviews. The Federal Trade Commission’s website has a section devoted to job scam advice, including tips on how to avoid scams.
  3. Check the company’s references – Ask the company for a list of employees and/or customers you can speak with. You can also use the major social networks to find people currently working at the company. For example, you can use LinkedIn to see the profiles of current or past employees working at the company. Once you find some employees on a social network, reach out to them to see if they would be willing to speak to you about the company and their experiences with the company. If you reach out to former employees you might get a less biased perspective since they no longer are directly associated with the company.
  4. Protect your personal information – The people running a job scam can be after your personal information to carry out identity theft. Information such as your name, address, and telephone number are a standard part of all job applications. However, your social security number and bank account information are not.  If a job application or website requests your social security number or bank information up front, your “scam radar” should be on high alert.  Of course, there are legitimate companies that will ask for more personal information during the job application process.  But if you are unsure, or are uncomfortable, you should question the hiring manager or the HR department about their policies for protecting applicants’ privacy.  When it comes to your personal information, it pays to be extra cautious.
  5. Distinguish job phishing from legitimate postings – Job phishing scams that are focused on accessing your personal data or money are often posted on multiple websites. However, legitimate companies can also post on multiple sites.  If you do come across copies of the same job on multiple sites, follow the steps above to help identify the real jobs and avoid the scams.

Sometimes, when you apply to a job, it’s difficult to determine whether it’s a scam, or not. Rather than giving up your job search, focus on educating yourself to spot fraudulent jobs.  At Ivy Exec we have a team of researchers who do the screening for you, so you don’t have to worry about the authenticity of the jobs. For resources beyond Ivy Exec, make sure to have the tips above in mind during your executive job search.

If you ever feel that a company is asking you for inappropriate information, trust your instincts and proceed with caution.  A second opinion from a friend or someone you trust never hurts.

In this economy, and in this day and age, trust your instincts.  Protect yourself.

We’d love to hear how you protect yourself from scams.  Please share your answers to the questions below and help other job seekers protect themselves:

  • How do YOU to tell if a company is a scam? What steps do you take?
  • What did you do once you decided that a job was a scam?

This is a guest post contributed by the Ivy Exec Blog, an exclusive site where pre-screened, high caliber professionals find relevant job opportunities with leading companies.”

4 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd

I just finished reading a great article on job search. Hannah Morgan listed four ways to stand out in a job search. I am in total agreement with the four ways she mentioned in her article. It is the same things that we have continually stress in our blog. The four ways are:

1. Revised your resume for each job

It is better to revised your resume to match each job than to send the same old resume without making any changes. Your resume is your marketing tool. It is the only thing a hiring manager knows about you. If you want to land an interview, your resume has to show the skills and experiences that they are looking for in the job description.

2. Take responsibility

As a job seeker, you are responsible for getting your next job. It is your responsibility to follow-up on each job lead that you are truly interested in pursuing. Don’t expect the employers to call you. You must be proactive and assertive in your job search.

3. Networking

It is easier to get an interview at a company when you know someone who works there. This person can open doors for you that you won’t be able to do otherwise. So it is important to tell your colleagues when you are looking for a new job so that they can ask their managers.

4. Don’t be a victim

By taking action and responsibility, you will be in the driver’s seat. You are ultimately the one that will get the job. Do not rely on other people to get you a job. That means you need to take action. While you cannot control the outcome, you can control what you do everyday to make progress on your job search.

10 Tips From a World Class Recruiter


I had the good fortune of interviewing one of the best technical recruiters in the business. She was instrumental in getting me an interview at my current client. She has been in the technical staffing business for about 5 years. Below are 10 surefire tips to land a job quickly:

1.       Work diligently to find a job
2.       Use job boards to post your resume and search job boards for jobs that fit your skill set
3.       Be honest about your skill set in your resume
4.       When interviewing speak slowly and clearly when responding to questions
5.       It is ok to be honest with the recruiter you are working with.
6.       Do not accept an offer verbally / written and then decline it several weeks later for another
7.       Always show up a couple minutes early  for an in-person interview
8.       If you confirm an interview please show up for it.  If you cannot make it be sure to cancel
9.       Always be truthful
10.     Never burn a bridge and be courteous to those you work for and with

Bonus tip:

If you don’t have an interest in the job and it does not suit you just say so.

The 3 most common mistakes job seekers make:

1.       Not being truthful
2.       Incorrect spelling and grammar mistakes in resumes
3.       Showing up late or not showing at all for interviews

How to Find a Job

In today’s tough economic times, finding a good job can sometimes be a challenge. The reason for that is simple, the job market is shifting and changing constantly. As new technologies are advanced, new job markets open up, but at the same time, the market for other jobs is dying out. If you want to work in today’s world you are going to have to do everything better than the person who came before you. This includes job interviews.

If you are just starting a job search, you are going to end up in a lot of interviews. A lot of people make the common mistake of thinking that once they get an interview, they are guaranteed a job. This is not always the case. Some companies will hire from the interview, others like to take more time to check out references. The key thing to remember is not to be discouraged if you aren’t offered a job on the spot.

For lack of a better way to put finding a job is all about the numbers. There are only a certain number of jobs available in any chosen field. And there are usually quite a few people looking to find work in the same places that you will go to. So if you want to increase your chances of success, then increase the number of applications you submit, and then you will have more chances to find work.

You may not get the first job you apply for. You might not even get the second or the third one either. The key is not to take it personally. Rest assured, the manager who just conducted your interview certainly didn’t mean for you to take it that way. Business is business pure and simple. You may have been rejected for many reasons, but they were not personal ones. It was a business decision made in the best interests of the company.

If you want to have a successful interview that leads to a job, then you need to know your own strengths and weaknesses as a person and that includes as a potential employee. Don’t go for jobs you won’t be able to get. No one benefits when a person tries to do something they aren’t capable of just so they can say they did it. Not every job is right for you. Just remember what you can and cannot do, and use that as a guideline.

The most important thing to remember about finding work and going to interviews is, it really is all up to you. This is your chance to shine, as a person, and as a valued employee. The one thing that employers want from you first and foremost is honesty. Tell the truth about your abilities, be yourself as best as you can. You wouldn’t want to be hired for a job you can’t do, and if you are going to work with people it’s best to start off on a good note by being honest with them.

Take responsibility for yourself, and for your actions, especially when it comes to employment. The unemployment lines are full of people who are sure that their being fired wasn’t their fault at all. If you don’t want to be one of those people, then buck up buttercup, it’s a grown up world out there. No one is going to care whose fault it is, this isn’t grade school anymore. Responsibility is a key part of maturity. And maturity will get you the job over those other applicants.

5 Ways to Get a Personal Referral

A well-written resume made heavy by your qualifications can get your foot in the door, but it’s only with a personal referral that you also get someone to actually open the door and welcome you inside. Knowing exactly where you want to work or which company you wish to work for is already good news, but you shouldn’t stop there. You need to make a big impression to get the job you want next, and to do that you need to apply the following steps and get yourself a personal referral.

1. Personal referrals should come from the right people.

Forget about your contacts in the HR department or from the rank and file. Personal referrals only matter if they come from one of the company’s senior managers or top executives. These are the people others automatically listen to and would have followed as much as possible.

To find out whom you should approach for a personal referral, you can do the following:

  • Visit the Glassdoor and search for its review of the company you wish to work for. The website has reports on more than 74,000 firms and these include information you’ll find vital such as salary ranges, the interview process, and their organizational culture.
  • Login or create an account with LinkedIn and check out which individuals have listed your target company as their employer.

When visiting these sites, make a list of the names that show up as well as any other crucial details about them.

2. Choose whom to write to.

Aside from having one of the top positions in the company, the person you should be contacting must also have a personality, a situation, or any other factor that would make him or her in need of your services or be able to appreciate it.

You can know more about these professionals by searching for their LinkedIn profile.

3. Schedule a meeting.

How you get to schedule a meeting is all up to you. The ends justify the means in this case. You can call, visit in person, or email. Do whatever is necessary as long as it will give you a chance to establish contact with the other party.

4. Prove your worth.

But don’t boast about it. Take your time to listen to the other party. Figure out a way to make your contact talk until you find out how it is that you can be of help. And when you know what it is, then that’s when you start talking about your skills and services. Don’t be too bashful, either. It’s very important that your contact realize you’d be an asset to the company and, consequently, he’d be an asset, too, for being the one lucky or skillful enough to recruit you to their side.

5. Ask for a personal referral.

If you’re lucky, it would be offered to you on a platter but don’t wait too long for this to happen. Sometimes, you just have to make your own fate and in this case that’s by letting the other party know straight out that you want to bat for his team, too.

6 Habits of a Successful Job Seeker

Habit 1: Be Responsible for your own Job Search

 There are many things that can be learned when searching for a job, like what types of positions suit you best and what aspects are important when it comes to a job. This is why you being responsible for your own job search is so vital; if you let others take the reins when it comes to this step, you might miss out on some important information and overall, you will be more lost and confused when it comes to the actual interview process itself.

Habit 2: Set a Goal

Along the job search, there are many things that can happen that can stray you off the right path. This is why it is so important to set a goal when it comes to seeking a job. Make sure that you tell yourself that you want to complete the job searching task by a certain date or time period. By setting this goal, you are telling yourself that you respect your job search and that you take it seriously and as a priority. Without a goal in tow, you job search could lag on for longer than is necessary.

Habit 3: Stay Focused

There are several things that could happen when you are searching for a job, family troubles or someone getting married or wonderful vacations that you have not taken yet could be on the horizon. The point is to not deviate from the job search at all and stay focused as much as possible. Looking for a job can be very stressful and this is why focus needs to be your top priority. The only way to complete a successful job search is to stay focused until your job search goal has been met.

Habit 4: Be Organized

There are many things that have to be noted and remembered and taken into consideration when searching for a job that is why being organized is such an important aspect in successfully finding a job. Stay organized by writing down every interview that you go on, every job that you apply to and even every person that you talk to. Write down what was said and the name of the person who said it complete with a date. When you look back on your notes, you will notice that the organizational aspect of everything will make your job search that much easier.

Habit 5: Be Good to Yourself

When searching for a job, you might get so focused that you forget to be good to yourself. Remember when you search for a job that you are the most important instrument for the job, so you need to be in tip-top condition. That means that you must get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, maybe learn yoga/meditation, and spend your downtime in nature. When you take care of yourself, you will notice your stress level going down and your overall outlook becoming more positive, which is vital to the success of getting a great job.

Habit 6: Never Give Up

At the end of the day, it can be difficult to get job that you like, even if you follow all of these habits religiously. The secret is to never give up! There are always new jobs on the horizon and new and interesting people to meet that might be your ticket to getting your dream job. Don’t give up on your search and don’t give up on yourself. If you told yourself that you are going to get a wonderful job, then stick to your goal and follow the habits until you do. Sooner or later, you will find yourself with a great job and it will be because you did not give up.

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