With graduation a few short months away many college Seniors are embarking on a job search to end all job searches. Everyone is feeling the pressure: to graduate, to get a steady job in our field of choice, to repay our college loans, and to enter the real world as real people. Unfortunately this search is anything but easy.
As someone who has already started in on this long process, I can say from experience that there are a lot of bad job postings on the Internet. Last week I started my job search by going on Career Builder, I thought it would be a good place to start if nothing else. Immediately I found hundreds of listings from several companies touting “Entry Level Marketing and PR Positions.” Score? I immediately looked at the websites for a few of the companies, and they all looked legitimate. I couldn’t believe my luck at finding so many great entry-level jobs after searching on only one website. I submitted my resume and cover letter, impressed with myself for my hard work.
Now, I’m a night owl, so this was taking place around 11pm. After submitting my resume to one of the companies, I almost immediately received an email back from them thanking me for submitting my resume and inviting me to call or stop by their office to discuss job opportunities. I found this extremely odd, but decided I would call them the next day anyway. I never got the chance. Instead, I received a phone call at 9am from the same company thanking me again for my resume on congratulating me: I had been chosen for an interview based on my numerous qualifications.
This seemed fishy. There was the desperate college Senior in me who wanted to believe that I was actually so qualified that X Company really wanted to secure me for a position after graduation. Fortunately, my logical side took over. I thanked them for the phone call and asked if I could call them back later that day to work out a time, as I didn’t have my schedule in front of me. They agreed. As soon as I hung up the phone I began an aggressive Google search of the company. It didn’t take long to see the large number of hits that popped up as soon as I typed the word “scam” after the company. Needless to say, I never called them back.
There are a whole host of companies just like this around the country. Companies that claim to be marketing or consulting firms, but in all reality are sales organizations. The reports on this particular company stated that their employees work on a commission basis and have to go door to door to offices and ask the people working there to buy spa/sports/etc. packages. Most people who have interviewed with these companies say that they are taken away in cars to shadow employees on their first interview.
Since finding out about these “scam” employers, I have been called by several other companies that I applied to on the same night. Some have a similar Internet reputation to the company I described above, but others have nothing bad written about them on the Internet because they are simply too new (or have recently changed names). But, there are a few trademarks of companies like this that are important to keep in mind when searching for a job:
- Avoid any jobs on general career boards (like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com) that have the listing title “ENTRY LEVEL SPORTS/ENTERTAINMENT MARKETING/PR/ETC JOBS”. They use titles like this to catch the attention of, mostly, college students.
- Always Google search the company name. If Google wants to fill in the word “scam” after the company name, do more research.
- Look at the website for the company. I’ve found that most “scam” employers are very vague and tend to list no clients or job description/mission statement.
- If all else fails, it can’t hurt to go on the interview. But just be wary when you do.