How Do You Know if It's Real? Identifying Real Jobs in Your Internet Job Search

Finding a job on the Internet sounds pretty easy, and it is. The same is true for employers, in that it is fairly easy for them to post openings online, generally for a fee unless it's on their own site or through their local state employment service in the US. When you view online job listings, it's not always apparent how current the posting is. It's especially important to remember that some Web sites contain sample jobs posted by recruiters. These listings are frequently out of date and in some rare cases, the jobs aren't really available; they're simply posted as bait to lure job seekers into posting their resumes so the Web site owner can build up a database of applicants. Make sure you know exactly what job you're applying for and who it's with. There are many recruiters and headhunters advertising jobs on behalf of a company; they know only as much as the hiring manager has told them. That may not be your best way to get a foot in the door, though many companies use these services exclusively. The only caveat is to be sure and do your research before giving them your personal information. Employer Versus Staffing Firms Be aware of what you're looking at when viewing a job posting online. Before sending off your resume, determine who you're dealing with. Some employers will always use a recruiting firm, and others will never use one. If you're working with a headhunter, be sure to ask lots of questions upfront before spending too much time on an opening that you're not sure about. Staffing firms have also been known to post an opening in anticipation of an order from their client, but the job may actually be on hold. If you do want to use recruiters, it's best to get to know them personally and develop their trust. Verify Current Job Openings Whether you've discovered an opportunity through the job boards or a corporate Web site, keep in mind that this particular job may or may not be available at the time you view it online. This is not to say that a company is falsely advertising, but some postings are old and outdated. It's worth a little extra time to look around the Web and determine if this opening is valid. If you've found it on a job board, verify the same opening on the corporate Web site. Better yet, if you have contacts within the company, contact them to verify the position. While many companies won't list every available job online, you may find extra information on the company Web site. Business Opportunities There's one in every crowd and a black sheep in every family. So it goes with the Internet. While most job postings are reputable, there are some companies out there advertising what appear to be regular jobs, but are really "business opportunities." You know the kind, offering a huge income for working part time. You don't usually get something for nothing. If you apply for a job that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be on the lookout for these business opportunities, because many of them are scams, and the last thing you want to do is give them your personal information. If you're interested but skeptical, provide only a secondary e-mail address to avoid spam.