Posts Tagged “How-to”

As a job seeker, how can you protect yourself from job scams that are posted right alongside legitimate jobs? There are still job scams being posted every single day on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and especially Craigslist. Why are these people preying on job seekers through job ads? Because they want your personal information. They want your name, your address, your phone number, your email address and your place of employment (or last employment). They compile the information from the resumes they receive from the fake job ads. It’s all part of an elaborate scheme to collect and sell personal information for the purposes of identity theft.

Don’t become a victim! Protect yourself by recognizing the 2 main indicators of a scam job:

1. The job title is basic. Administrative Assistant, Intern, Customer Service, etc. By using very generic job titles they are casting a wide net hoping to catch as many job seekers as possible.

2. The description is basic or seems too good to be true. Everything about their job ads screams “easy”. Again, they are casting the widest net possible.

Here is an actual scam job posting we encountered recently: “This company is seeking an experienced administrative assistant for an immediate opening. You must have direct experience with invoicing, accounts receivable, payroll and general clerical responsibilities. You must be proficient with computer applications including Excel, Word, Outlook and Quickbooks, or similar accounting platform. You must have an outgoing personality, strong attention to details, excellent organization skills, reliable accuracy and be capable of working with minimal direction. We provide a competitive hourly wage that is commensurate with experience. This position is for full time employment. Compensation includes wages, healthcare benefits package, 401K, etc.  Applicants must be over 18 yrs old and able to pass both background check and drug screening. You must be free and clear from any existing non-compete agreements.”

It sounds like a legitimate job, right? That’s part of the trick. They want you to have a hard time recognizing it’s a scam. The ad above was for “Stanley Furniture” in Springfield, VA. According to an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Stanley furniture cut 530 jobs in the last year.  That’s a red flag.

The bottom line? Don’t send your resume anywhere without researching the company first. If you can’t identify the name of the company from the job ad, and you value your personal information, we’d advise against sending your resume. This is obviously a personal choice to make/chance to take but the surest way to protect your information is to know who you’re sending it to.

imagefetchashxA lot of focus is on the job market these days. Much is being said about how to search for a job. What sites to visit, where to look, how to network. What is missing from this? How to input the correct search strings into the search boxes of Google, Twitter, or any job search engine you might encounter during your job search.

That’s just about as important as where to look. If your search phrases are not specific enough, you’ll be wasting your time sifting through jobs that are not relevant to your skills or profession. If you’re too tight on your search specifics your results will be too small to work with.

Each person will go about this in a slightly different way. Dependent on your skill sets your search phrases will vary. However, the logic behind search queries will be fairly consistent across almost any profession.

Boolean Search operators are very useful when conducting a search on google. Setting up google alerts to do this for you should be a integral part of your job search arsenal.

Before you begin your search, first make a list of keywords related to your chosen industry. Also make a list of cities, or geographical locations that you will be searching for jobs in.

When you enter your keywords into search fields, you can search for either a specific word or string of words. This can prove useful when you wish to enter multiple criteria e.g. software developer Tampa Florida. If your job requires a particular skill or qualification you may also wish to include this e.g. C#, PHP, Java, SQL etc.

Do not enter words that are not keywords, a, an, the, at, on etc. There is no need for them and they could throw your results off. You might just end up with movie titles for results. Not what you are looking for.

Use the Boolean operators  AND, OR, and NOT.

You can also combine words using AND, OR, and NOT. For example, network AND engineer will search for jobs which contains both the words network and engineer, although not necessarily next to each other.

Sales OR manager will search for jobs which contain either the word sales or manager.

Sales NOT manager will search for jobs which contain the word sales but not manager.

You can also search for a phrase by typing it exactly as you wish it to appear. E.g. typing “Quantity Surveyor” would return jobs containing the phrase ‘quantity surveyor’. placing your search phrase inside of quotes will return result that only match what was put into the quotes.

Try this search string (without the quotes) in Google and see what you get.  “(job, tampa, fl) network OR engineer -Novell”.

Parentheses ( )If you are sure about one search term, but not so sure about the others, you can group them together with parentheses. For example, I know for sure I want to search jobs in Tampa, fl. I also told Google to narrow my results to postings that contain network OR engineer but not Novell. Since I don’t know squat about Novell, why would I need to see search results that need filtering further?

Just try to keep in mind that Google automatically inserts the AND statement automatically anytime you enter multiple keywords. Most job search engines do as well, but if your not getting results use the AND statement. See if it helps; each person should get comfortable using operators, and search phrases that are relevant to their own careers, and goals.

Searching for jobs on twitter.

This is where your search takes on a different spin. Twitter and job authorities on twitter make use of what is known as hashtags. Hashtags are preceded by the ‘#’ symbol. e.g. #jobs or #seojobs, or #prjobs.

Here is an example search phrase to put into a search window in tweetdeck or twhirl. #jobs tampa .net developer. Not using a 3rd party client like tweetdeck of twhirl? Well if you’re serious about your job search you should be.

Using a tool to manage your search on twitter, such as Tweetdeck or Twhirl will put your search on autopilot. You wont have to sit in front of your computer waiting for the perfect job to come along. Leave your client running in the system tray and check it periodically.

Good Luck with your job search I hope this helps. If you would like to contribute more information to this article feel free to contact me @tall_geek on twitter.

Using RSS Feeds

Posted by | January 21, 2009 | How to ...

By now, every internet savvy job-seeker has heard about Blogs. These are typically websites that take the  form of  an online journal. But what you may not know about blogs and job boards is that there’s a great way to stay current with your favorites: you can subscribe to them!

Most boards & blogs have what’s called an RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) which makes it easy to stay current. In fact, these feeds have become so popular, that even large organizations like the NY Times has their own feeds.

Continue reading »

How to write a Professional Resume

Posted by | November 6, 2008 | How to ...

So the economy is in turmoil and you’ve suddenly found yourself without a job. What now? It’s time to update that resume, or in some cases, build one from scratch. What should you include; what should you leave out?

Before you get started, it’s important to know that a potential employer only spends about 30 seconds scanning your resume, initially. If they like what they see, they may spend up to 2 minutes reviewing it further. That’s a short window of opportunity to make a good impression.

Here are some helpful tips to guide you on your way to building a great resume:


  1. Always use a common, easy to read font; such as Times New Roman, Arial, Book Antiqua, or similar. Using an odd font not only makes it more difficult for a human to read your resume, but also more difficult for OCR software. OCR is Optical Character Recognition; it translates what it “sees” into predetermined data fields (name, address, etc).
  2. Bold Sparingly. Only titles, employer names/dates, headers and footers should be bolded. Too much bolding creates confusion for the reader.
  3. Use bullets sparingly. Bullet if you must; however, it is always best to use full paragraphs when composing your summary and/or work experience.
  4. Do not use tables. Ever. Every person that processes your resume, including recruiters who are often required to reformat your resume, will hate you if you use tables.
  5. Learn how to set and use tabs. Simply hitting the Tab key over and over until you get to the right spot isn’t proper formatting. Using set tabs will help your resume to have a more “even” appearance. Make sure dates of employment line up accurately, to make it easy to see the “years” at each employer listed.
  6. Text or Microsoft Word format are the preferred documents. Very few employers use WordPad, Works, WordPerfect, et al. PDF files are acceptable in some cases, but generally it needs to be a document that can be editable. This is especially the case when working with an agency recruiter; they must have the ability to remove your contact information before sending to their client.
  7. Your resume does not have to be 1 page. It doesn’t need to be 10 pages, either.


  1. A good resume includes a header with your full name, address, phone number and email address. Below that should be your summary (not an objective), a skills section, education and/or certifications and employment awards or accolades, and finally, your employment content.
  2. Do not include your hobbies, marital status, religious beliefs, number of children, charities or any other irrelevant information. While some experts believe that including this information will help the potential employer to see your “human” side or character traits, it won’t. It only distracts from your experience. Stick to relevant information only.
  3. Use an appropriate email address for your resume header. Email addresses like [email protected] are seen as unprofessional. Sign up for a free email account on Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail or the like using only your name or initials. For example: [email protected] or [email protected] et al.
  4. It is imperative to include skills used within the meat of the job description. Employers want to know when you last used your skills and in what capacity.
  5. If your experience spans more than 20 years, it is best to cut short the information regarding your early years of employment. Instead, include any relevant information in a summary. For example, instead of listing every employer for the last 20 years – include only those worked for the last 10. Summarize the rest, using a date range as your header.
  6. Keep your resume concise. Review and rewrite paragraphs if necessary. Your goal is to be informative without boring the reader.
  7. Last but not least, SPELL CHECK. Make sure you use complete sentences; do a complete read through to make sure what you’ve written makes sense when read out loud. You can also ask a friend or colleague to review and give their feedback.

Additional tips:

  1. It is always best to send an electronic copy of your resume. Faxed or mailed copies of resumes clutter desks, fill trash cans and kill trees. Be green.
  2. Google other resumes of professionals like you, to use as an example. It’s always a good idea to include current buzz words pertaining to your position and industry. These buzz words change over time so if your resume has dust on it, it’s time to update those!
  3. When in doubt, consult with a professional. Resume writing is an art; if you aren’t a good writer it’s wise to invest in a professional to assist. This isn’t just a document, it’s your career!

These tips were written and contributed by Robin M. Eads, Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Expert; President @ A Place 4 People, Inc.

Have additional tips not listed here? Please share!