Common Job Board Scams
In the past I worked in the marketing department of a major job board for several years. For the most part job boards care little about the actual user. Until recently, most were focused on one major goal: selling more job postings at the highest price point possible. However, in recent years, with the economy shifting into the employer’s favor most major job boards are trying to make up revenue by selling more products to desperate job seekers. Most of these upgrades and services are entirely useless and can even hurt your search efforts in some cases.
1. Resume “Upgrades” or paid search engine “Spotlight”
You know all those offers to upgrade your resume? Offers they’ll put you in the top search engine position to help you stand out to employers for only the low, low, price of $150.00? Yep, a heaping pile’o’scam. CareerBuilder even offers a service with different levels from “Copper” to “Titanium”. Not only is there not a difference between the levels, but it won’t make any difference in how many employers view your resume. In fact it can even hurt. When employers search the database, the resumes are returned much like job search results are returned. It first goes by keyword relevance, then how fresh or new the resume is. After 90 days or so, if you haven’t actively updated your resume, you’ll slowly slip into oblivion from the search results. When there’s an “upgraded” resume in the search results it displays it with a nice colored bordered box around it and a bolded title. The main problem: the employer doesn’t really care whether or not your Resume has a border around it, they just care if you fit what they’re looking for. In fact when I was doing training years ago for a client, one of the HR people asked me why there was a green border around one of the resumes, I said that person had paid for the “upgraded” resume service, the manager chuckled and said “wow, that person must be desperate.” Quite honestly, in this economy employer’s don’t need to search the database as much, they have people beating down the door to work at their company, so all you’re really doing is filling a profit gap for the job board.
Pro-Tip: All job boards work on keyword frequency. So if you want to make it to the top of the list on the search results, all you have to do is use a particular keyword more than anyone else. For example, if you want to make it to the top of the list for “project manager”, you just need to use the keyword “project manager” more than anyone else. One time I searched that term to see who was on the top of the list, the guy literally had “project manager” on his resume 400 times.
2. Resume writing services
Hey it can’t hurt to have someone take a look at my resume for free and tell me if anything is wrong with my resume, right? Wrong. First you’re resume will always have something wrong with it. You could be Donald Trump and have a resume hand crafted by J.R.R. Tolkien and their automated system will always kick back a response that says your resume needs to be rewritten. In fact, I remember a story of one woman who used our resume rewriting service, then submitted the rewritten resume to the resume checker, only for it to tell her that it needed to be rewritten :-).
The main problem is most of these job boards outsource their rewriting service to places like India, where they churn and burn rewritten resumes all day long. They may clean up the formatting and your grammar a bit, but it’s not worth the cost. You’re better off following free tips and templates online. Then have one of your unemployed English major friends look it over for grammar.
3. Resume Distribution
Hey they’ll distribute your resume to 1000 of qualified employers, think of all the interviews!! The only problem is these are going to places like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org , generic e-mails which will likely go ignored, or if someone does look at, will likely be deleted. Employers aren’t eagerly waiting around for the next e-mail “blast” to come through. Recruiting firms and large employers get massive amounts of resumes sent to them each week. It’s just not humanly possible to look at each one, let alone ones come from some sort of blast service. Most have spam filters or you will go into their generic database, never to see the light of day by anyone.
This is what you’re paying for. Colored borders no employer cares about. Resumes being rewritten by people whom only care about getting to the next one. Your resume is being sent to addresses that aren’t valid and aren’t qualified. It’s being sent to, and received by, people who didn’t ask for it, don’t look at it, and don’t care. If it still sounds too good to be true, remember what your mom told you when you were a kid: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
September 22nd, 2009 by Andrew S.