Monthly Archive for August, 2012

How to avoid a job scam

Posted by Maciej in Employment | Executive Job Search | Executive Jobs and Executive Job Search

Ivy Exec was founded on the idea of a secure network where jobs and users are screened to ensure the authenticity of all parties, and all personal information is handled with the utmost discretion and safeguarded.  However, we realize that Ivy Exec is not the only career resource you may use.  We want to help you evaluate career choices and services as an informed consumer.  It’s worth your time to arm yourself with information on how to spot a 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.

Read on…

How can you determine if a job is real or a scam?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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I recommend this blog as a great source for career advice.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work





Take Your Vacation; It Will Be Good For Your Career

Consider this as summer draws to a close.

You may think this is a difficult time to take a vacation. Well, it is, but remember this career advice: Time away from the job will improve your efficiency and help accelerate your career…and, of course, improve your personal life. In the end, personal downtime will benefit your employer as well. Hopefully, you have the courage and wisdom to act on this axiom.

Eight Steps To A Successful Vacation

Let’s all hold up our right hands and swear we will abide by eight common sense ideas that will help assure that our vacation times will serve their best purposes.

1. Come to grips with the fact that you are not indispensable. Fact is, absent a serious emergency, your employer can get along for a few days without you. However, it is to be hoped that your absence will cause everyone to understand and appreciate how much you contribute when you are on the job.

2. Reject the macho idea that long hours with your nose to the grindstone demonstrate strength and commitment. It’s what you produce that counts for your employer and for the advancement of your career. Even an ox needs time out of the yoke.

3. Plan your vacation well in advance. Set a date and hold to it, come hell or high water. Cancel your time away from the job only on a direct order from your boss or a personal emergency.

If your employer forces you to cancel your vacation, make sure he has a good reason. If this happens more than once, absent a sound cause, consider whether you are working in an environment that will nurture your work to reach your career goals.

4. As you near the date of your vacation, begin to execute your plan with the same attention to details as you do projects on the job. Do work in advance. Advise those with whom you work of your plans and what you expect to happen while you are away. Delegate tasks to be accomplished during your absence.

5. Name a “gatekeeper” through whom you can be reached. Be sure this is a person who will protect your turf and time.

6. Don’t check with the office while you are on vacation. Someone will call you if you are needed. Don’t panic if they don’t contact you. Instead, take satisfaction in two things: (1) you are working with capable people who can and will follow your directions and (2) your vacation plan is working.

7. Flush work out of your mind. Put other components of your life in perspective. Recharge your batteries. Read things totally unrelated to your work. Get plenty of rest. Re-bond with your friends and family. Appreciate the time you have away from the pressures of your job.

8. Be prepared to double your efforts when you return from vacation to catch up and move ahead on your career path.

Career Advice: It’s well to remember that there is no known record of anyone wishing on their deathbed that they had spent less time on vacation.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in this widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. My e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned is available from Amazon.




Career Advice: You’ve Been Passed Over; Now What?

You sincerely believe you are the best qualified among the candidates for the promotion to manager of your department. You believe you deserve it. Your friends agree.

But, wham! The rug has been pulled out from under you.  The position you would have given an eyetooth for goes to someone else. Your ego has taken a hit.  You are mad and disappointed.  You want to march in, tell the boss where to go and leave the place.

But hold on.  Apply a little common sense before you go off the deep end. You’ve still got your job and this is a good time to consider where you want to go with your career.

Force your chin up.  Congratulate the winner right away.  This will be painful, but it actually will help you regain your balance. Moreover, it will strengthen your position as a team player.

This is a dangerous time for you.  Simmer awhile before you act.  Brood and grieve a little in private if it makes you feel better. Reject bitterness; it’s poison. Look beyond your ego.  Sure, your feelings have been bruised.  No need to be ashamed of that.

But really has all of this been damaging to your long-term career goals?

Time To Be Objective

Your greatest need at this time is to understand the “whys” behind the situation.

Start with a discussion with your boss. Remember, you are there to gain information, not to argue your case.  Don’t beat around the bush. However, you may calmly make the case as to why you believe you have earned a promotion. Admit you are sorely disappointed.  Assure your boss you are not bitter or resentful. Pledge 100 percent allegiance to the team. Admit, however, that you are concerned about what has happened and what it may mean for your future.

Focus on the critical questions about what happened and why. Has your past performance and your preparation for the next step been at least up to par? Are you as qualified or better than the competitors?  What might you have done to improve your chances to win a promotion?

Did you miss some signals from your boss, telling you to improve you performance? Were there any bonafidex indicators saying you were a candidate for promotion?  Or have you been engaged in wishful thinking?

What qualification did you not have?  Will there be other chances to win promotions?  What can you do to improve your qualifications for advancement?

You must listen as you have never listened before to both what is said as well as what is implied between the lines.  Be aware that you will be strongly inclined to hear the best side of the story. And don’t forget, it is the most natural thing in the world for the boss to try to soften the message. Besides, if you have been doing an adequate job in your present slot he will want to keep you around.

Now you are ready to get to the bottom-line. Review all of the facts. Do you agree with what you learned from your review with the boss? Have you been treated fairly?  Were there legitimate reasons you were passed over?

Do you care enough to take the necessary action to win the next time? Do you have a reasonably secure future in the organization? Can you be happy where you are? What are the acceptable alternatives? Do you want to find a more rewarding situation elsewhere?

Being passed over may be a blessing, although if it is, it at first appears to be quite will disguised. You have an opportunity to gain a more realistic view of where you are, where you want to go and what you have to do to get there.  Or you may conclude you are satisfied with your present position; or you may decide it’s time to move on to greener pastures elsewhere.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in my widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. My new e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned, is available from Amazon.