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BBB Scam Alert: Job hunting? Stay alert to resume formatting scams

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  To find the job of your dreams, you need a well-crafted resume, right? According to recent Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker reports, con artists have devised yet another way to trick job seekers out of money and personal information. If you are asked to pay to reformat your resume for a company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) during your job search, think twice before you agree. This scam is convincing because many companies use software to automate resume reviews.

  How the scam works: You’re contacted by a headhunting company that found your information on LinkedIn or a job search website. They claim you are an excellent candidate for a well-paying position they are looking to fill. You must send them your resume and do a virtual interview.

  The request seems reasonable, so you email them your resume. Shortly afterward, they contact you letting you know they received the resume, but it isn’t properly formatted for their ATS. Now, the “recruiter” directs you to a website where you can get the resume reformatted.

  You visit the website, where you find out you’ll need to submit personal information and make a payment for the service. If you accept, you’ll receive a “formatted” resume that doesn’t look much different from your original resume – if you receive anything at all. The formatting service is a dishonest scheme to get your money and personal details. The job you’re applying for doesn’t even exist.

  How to protect yourself from resume scams: Research the job offer. If you get a job or interview offer, especially one that sounds too good to be true, research it. Visit the company website or call them to see if a job posting or opening exists. If a third-party headhunter contacts you, research that company or service. Look for any reports of suspicious activity or scams. If you can’t find a legitimate website or contact information, think twice before you message them back.

  • Never pay to get a job. If someone says paying for resume formatting will guarantee you a job – or even just paying a fee in general – don’t believe it.
  • Guard your personal information. Don’t be quick to share your details. Scammers may insist they need payment information to fix your resume or bank details to set up a direct deposit before you’ve even been interviewed. These are common scam tactics that put you at risk for identity theft.
  • Format your resume before you send it. If you are worried about ATS formatting, Forbes recommends using traditional and simple fonts. Don’t include extra colors, tables and charts. Spell out acronyms. And submit your resume as a Word doc instead of a PDF. These are easy “fixes” you don’t need to pay for.

  Report job scams. If a scammer contacts you through LinkedIn, report them to the platform at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/ask/TS-RPS. Learn more about spotting scams on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a1336387/recognize-and-report-scams?lang=en. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker. Subscribe to weekly BBB Scam Alerts. Read up on other common job scams at https://www.bbb.org/article/tips/12261-bbb-tip-employment-scams, including a job scam that uses messaging apps(https://www.bbb.org/article/scams/26919-bbb-scam-alert-new-job-scam-twist-interviews-candidates-via-messaging-app). You can find more helpful information at BBB.org/AvoidScams.

  Looking for employment with the BBB? Check out our employment listings at BBB.org/employment.

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