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How to Avoid Useless Job Listings

How to Avoid Useless Job Listings      

How many times have you applied for a job with all the enthusiasm you could
muster because you were SURE your skills were perfect for it, only to never
hear from anyone?

You tried calling the recruiter, but only got their voice mail. You tried
emailing them with a "Read Response" attached, but it was never validated.
You even went to the recruiter's website to apply directly through their own
system in hopes it would somehow get more attention, but in the end, it was
all for naught.

There are a lot of reasons why you might never get a response from a recruiter
or employer. It may be that the sheer number of applicants that respond make
it virtually impossible to send an acknowledgement. It might also be that the
job is just old. Some jobs have been sitting out on job boards so long that
veteran job hunters can recognize them immediately and know not to even bother
applying. Even still, there's always that chance, that hope that they are still
looking; so you apply again anyway right?

So how does one go about applying for "the right jobs?" First of all, I will
acknowledge that when you are out of work, there are no "wrong jobs," just
maybe jobs that your skills don't quite fit. Even so, a lot of job leads that
appear on today's job boards are misleading at best, and sometimes they are
just flat out nonexistent. But how can you tell?

There are many telltale signs associated with some of these job leads. Let's
look at a few of them.

1. The job has a date affixed to it from the weekend - Now while this may
not be a sure sign of a bogus job, it is almost without question, NOT a new
job. Very few recruiters work on the weekend, unless they are really HUNGRY
and behind schedule. However, in this economy, that wouldn't appear to be an
issue. So, if you see a job with a Saturday date, you can probably skip it,
knowing that you've already covered it sometime in the past.

2. The job board that you found the job on, has a link to another job
board - While this isn't always indicative of a defunct job listing (because
of the many "mega-search engines" available), it does tell you that the first
job board has no exclusivity to the job. It also means that the original
recruiter has pasted the job everywhere, thus narrowing your chances. Many
times you will find what appears to be a job posting with a recent date, only
to be redirected to another site that tells you the job no longer exists. A
sure sign of a dead end.

3. The job posting redirects you to one of the many "Consulting" websites -
This is my new personal favorite "trick" being used by many job sites. With
all of the layoffs, many people are turning to consulting or freelancing in
hopes of bypassing the job boards and recruiters and going straight to the
client needing work done. Because of this consulting boon, many new consulting
boards have popped up, seemingly overnight. The only problem is they all want
you to pay for the privilege of being able to "connect" to the projects and
RFP's (Request for Proposals). So when you see what appears to be a great job,
only to be directed to one of these consulting sites, be wary. There is no
sense paying for access to the site, when you can't be sure the job really
exists. Not to mention the fact that if you were paying to be able to view
the projects, and they were still being offered publicly, that's a little

4. The job listing gives very few details - As anyone in the job market
knows, today's employers want specific skills. You can't get by with a resume
giving generic information about your background. They want to know what
you've done, who you did it for, how you did it, what tools you did it with,
and what was the final dollar number outcome. See - specifics. Therefore, jobs
with requirements that are too generic or detail-lacking to be informative,
you can pretty much bet it's nothing more than a resume-gathering tool for a
recruiter or a new start up job board. Don't waste your time.

5. Jobs that redirect you to a training company's website - This is also a
growing trend. Many companies have come into existence whose sole purpose is
to train you for a job in a particular industry. The more honest companies do
put in the job listing that they are offering training. Others place legitimate
looking job listings only to redirect you to their training site, or they will
send you an e-mail about their training company only after you have spent time
applying for the job. They typically make promises about guaranteed job
training and tell you how great they are. But in the end, you still have to
pay for the training. Most every college and university offers job placement
upon graduation. The only difference is, you leave with a degree versus a
"certificate of training" from a company that may or may not be well respected.

6. You find the same job listed by several recruiters - This sort of falls
under heading 3 above, but it is a little different. Many times you will see
the same job, listed multiple times, by multiple recruiters. What does this
tell you? It tells you that the employer sent a fax (or e-mail) to as many recruiters as they had in their database telling them to submit candidates.
While the good news is that you have many different recruiters evaluating
resumes from all sorts of places, the bad news is that now instead of being
in competition with only a few hundred other candidates, you are now in
competition with possibly thousands. But on the bright side, someone always
wins the Lottery too. So hey, feel free to apply.

Keep in mind that not every job that falls into one of these categories is
going to be a false lead. Who knows, maybe they are worth checking into. Just
don't get your hopes up and then be crestfallen when nothing comes of it.
There are enough job listings on the job boards placed by direct employers
and recruiters with exclusivity to keep most of us pointing and clicking for
an hour or two a day.

Be smart, use your head and stick to your qualifications and you will not only
save time, but you won't pin your hopes on as many leads that may never pay off.

Good Luck!

-Chris Souther
Corporate Writer and Trainer in the Atlanta area.
Author of the free E-book on Job hunting at: