5 tips to avoid job scams, how to craft your online resume

Almost 300,000 job scams, resulting in steep losses totalling $737 million, were reported in the United States over the last five years – with 2023 witnessing a record high ($277 million lost to fake job offers).

On average, victims stand to lose around $12,000 – nearly double compared to 2019.

In response to this alarming surge, we have partnered with business-building experts at Wix.com to provide some top tips on identifying fake job adverts, as well as advice on preparing a stellar online resume to impress employers right from the get-go.

Don’t get duped! Here are the job listing red flags to look out for, according to experts…

1. Vague job descriptions with too-good-to-be-true promises

A legitimate job description should clearly spell out the job duties. You shouldn’t be left guessing about what the role entails or what your day-to-day tasks will involve. Job listings that advertise extravagant benefits, short working hours and sky-high pay for little to no experience should ring alarm bells for potential scams. 

While remote jobs are increasingly common today, scammers often dangle buzzwords like ‘flexible’, ‘work at home’, ‘earn $XXX’ to lure unwitting candidates. Steer clear of job postings that give the impression of get-rich-quick schemes: if an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Bogus web addresses that are devised to deceive

Nearly three million new phishing and fake websites were spotted in the first half of 2023. Job scammers often utilize counterfeit company website URLs in their postings to create an air of legitimacy. 

Examine the domain name for any subtle variations, and check the domain age as fake websites typically have short lifespans. Take that extra step to investigate its online presence and the LinkedIn profiles of its employees – a reputable company usually has an official website and active social media accounts. 

3. Unprofessional communication with poor language quality

Exercise skepticism about unorthodox job application methods and communication via messaging apps, as scammers often exploit these platforms to conceal their identity. Legitimate organizations typically refrain from using personal emails for job-related communication, deeming it unprofessional; and would always ask for face-to-face or Zoom interviews to properly evaluate candidates. 

Furthermore, be wary of job postings riddled with multiple grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences as trustworthy companies are unlikely to risk their reputation by publishing sloppy job postings.

4. Unsolicited job offers that fall right into your lap

If you see an email or message from a recruiter offering you a job out of the blue – hold your excitement and proceed with caution. In recent tactics, fraudsters have been known to impersonate reputable companies, sometimes even using the names of real recruiters to establish trust.

These offers often arrive through social media platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, or Facebook, promising lucrative job opportunities without requiring you to go through the typical application process and stages of interviews. Such unexpected offers should strike you as a red flag.

5. Listings involving monetary transactions

Fraudsters often find ways to charm hopeful jobseekers into paying for seemingly reasonable items like training materials, certifications, ‘work from home kits’, office supplies and software. However, remember, you are looking for a job to get paid, not to pay the company for a job.  

Legitimate hiring managers don’t require candidates to shell out for training or application fees. Be cautious if a company requests your personal bank account information upfront, sensitive information should not be a part of the early recruitment stage – move on with your job search and steer clear of such requests.

Expert tips on building a stellar online resume

Long gone are the days when a black and white resume would suffice in today’s fiercely competitive job market. Recognizing this new reality, Wix.com provides further guidance on creating a winning online resume to set your talents and skills apart from the crowd…

1. Customize your resume to reflect your personality

Resumes should never be cookie-cutter; avoid generic formats and stand out by presenting a functional and visually appealing online resume. With plenty of free and professional resume website templates available online, simply pick one that resonates with your style and profession, then tailor it to showcase your skills and experiences. 

Depending on your preferences, consider whether a long scrolling one-pager for a quick overview, or an extensive website with dedicated pages for different projects would best align with your needs.

2. Optimize for SEO and mobile-friendliness

Boost the visibility and accessibility of your online resume by optimizing it for search engines (SEO) and mobile phones. Choose a relevant domain name, and incorporate strategic keywords throughout your resume to improve its ranking on search result pages and attract prospective recruiters. 

Additionally, ensure that your resume website is mobile-friendly. A responsive design will provide a seamless user experience across different devices, increasing the likelihood of engagement from potential employers.

3. Adding the relevant resume sections

Ensure your resume website has all relevant sections just as you would include in a traditional resume – skills, education, experience, personal interests and projects – in order to provide an accurate representation of your qualifications and achievements.

Remember, readability is key – a good resume should always feature an inviting homepage that serves as the initial impression for recruiters. It should be both eye-catching and informative to entice visitors to delve deeper and learn out more about you!

Chris Price