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Beware of Employment "Marketing" Firms

N.Y. Times

Job seekers must be wary when accepting career assistance that seems too good to be true – invariably it is. As the pool of long-unemployed job seekers grows larger, it also becomes more susceptible to cons and swindles promising to find high-paying jobs, fast. Careers 2000, for example, is a California company that promised to help match job seekers with six-figure jobs. That service, however, came with a $3,600 up-front price tag. One job seeker who paid the fee received little more than a slight revision to his resume and a listing of job posts he had seen elsewhere on the Internet for free. When it comes to job-search scams, we may be seeing the tip of the iceberg. The number of complaints against career counseling and job-search services filed with the Council of Better Business Bureaus was up 12 percent in 2001 – the 2002 increase is expected to be even larger when final figures are tallied. While the Internet has made it easier for shady search services to find their victims, it has also provided a central location where job seekers can check to see if the service they are about to enlist is a suspect organization. How do you know if an organization is fraudulent? One of the biggest red flags is if the company refers to itself as a career or employment "marketing" firm. While there are many legitimate service providers in this field, others promise big salaries, access to hidden job listings and career coaching, for a four-figure fee. They also have trouble delivering on those promises. These unscrupulous companies pressure desperate job seekers to sign contracts and promise to arrange interviews with top-level execs of Fortune 500 companies once the fee is received. These deceitful career marketing firms also cast a shadow of doubt over up-and-up companies that provide legitimate assistance to job seekers.