Job Hunting? Eight Tips to Avoid Fake Ads – Online Scams – And Labor Abuse

It’s the middle of recession; you are looking for a job. As you become more desperate, you are more vulnerable to fake job ads, online scam, and labor abuse. Yes, these traps are everywhere – in fact, new legislations are necessary to protect job seekers like you. Before we ask our politicians to take actions, here are eight tips for you to avoid job-hunting traps.

1. Spot fake job postings. Why does anyone post fake job ads? Because recruiters build their own job seekers database by collecting resumes – even jobs don’t exist at that moment. In addition, companies in bad shape, usually start-ups, publish fake job ads, so they can make their potential investors believe that the company is hiring and expanding. Fake jobs ads appear on both free and non-free websites. If you have seen a recruiter repeatedly advertising a common job position, that’s probably a fake one.

2. If a job posting doesn’t contain the company name or contact information, the company is not confident about its reputation, or the employer is not serious at all. In either case, you don’t want to work for a company like that.

3. Avoid being abused as free labor. If a small company gives you a take-home test of writing an article about its product or designing the company’s website in two days, refuse it. This isn’t a test; this is labor abuse. However, it’s okay to take a 4-hour exam at an established company. Don’t accept any non-payment internship at a small company of less than two people. After all, that company may disappear after your internship.

4. If a job posting requires your credit card number or ask you to buy their products first, that’s a scam. A real job pays you, not the other way around.

5. Don’t apply for any sales job that doesn’t offer a base salary. Pure commission usually means pure exploitation. A genuine sales position always offers a fixed base salary, with commissions to reward great performance.

6. Avoid pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing traps. Here is a classic example: “you recruit 10 people, then each of them recruits 10 people, who in turn recruit 10 people each…you will make millions in commissions”. This is a scam, not a business model.

7. Use reliable job search websites. Even in the recession, there are still lots of well-paid and secure jobs, especially in the expanding public sector. For example, provides federal government jobs; offers state and city-level government jobs; lists many university and school staff jobs.

8. Always question experts, even on CNN. Experts are not always correct – that’s why we are now in recession. Moreover, every individual is different; you know yourself better than those experts talking on TV to attract advertisers. If you need any career advice, ask people around you first.

Without laws to protect job seekers, fake ads, online scam, and labor abuse become increasingly common. Raise your awareness, and I hope my tips can help you avoid these traps and eventually land you a great career. Good luck!

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