In life, if it is not one thing, it is another thing. Technology can be a good thing, or it can be bad. The article below is a warning of what to watch out for when job searching. On the surface, it sounds legitimate, but it is a scam to get your money. It is scare tactics about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

The Recruiter / ATS Scam is back. 

This is the gist of the scam:

1. You are approached by a “recruiting” firm and told you are being considered for an executive job – they ask you to send your resume (and most likely sign a non-disclosure agreement).

2. You search for the “recruiting” firm, and you find a few recent press releases that they are actively recruiting folks.

3. You get back an email that your resume could not be loaded properly in their ATS, although they could open it. They send you a link to “score” your resume. (or just to a site to “fix” your resume for a fee – depending on how it was set up).

4. You load your resume (with NO job announcement) to be scored. It fails the “scorer.”

5. You are sent to a website that will “fix” your resume for a fee.

I will not name the websites involved since they change their names often – but are most likely all related to each other. They change the name of them when too many people post on the scam and/or they are shut down by law enforcement authorities. Note that the names of the websites might be similar to legitimate headhunters or recruiters that actually exist in their city or another location.

This scenario has been set up many times over the past few years. Note, in over ¾ of the cases, the resumes I have been sent are mostly “ATS-friendly” by folks who have sent me their resumes when I am asked about these sites.

These sites are FAKE. These folks are DANGEROUS. There have been articles on Forbes and Ask the Headhunter on them.

Red flags for these sites:

1. An ATS resume scorer without a job announcement is likely not valid. ATS score resumes based on a job announcement or job description.

2. If a recruiter recruited you, and the job will pay them likely $50,000+ to fill, they can hire someone to cut and paste the resume into the fields in their ATS (especially if they can open your resume).

3. If you do a WHOIS search, the ownership of the sites is hidden behind a privacy domain company so you cannot find out who they are.

4. If you carefully look at the physical address they list in their emails or on their website; it is not listed correctly in the way we would write an address in the United States. For example, it may list a neighborhood of a city in addition to a city name in the address, have a comma between the state and zip code, or other error (this does not happen each time).

5. There are only a few fairly recent press releases (even if the company goes back to 1996 – which seems like a common number for these sites).

6. You Google the images of their “recruiters,” and they match pictures of different people (perhaps even “recruiters’ on previous incarnations of the scam).

LinkedIn Vanity URL

Have you ever wondered how some people have simple LinkedIn addresses like Others are next to impossible to remember, and they are something like this….078953. The long one was assigned by LinkedIn when you joined and set up your profile. You do not have to live with it. You can change it and here are the directions.

I recommend that you create a vanity URL. Below are the steps to accomplish this. For additional information on customizing your public profile URL use this link:

  • Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
  • Click Edit next to the URL under your profile photo.
  • In the Your public profile URL box in the bottom right, click “Customize your public profile URL.”
  • Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Click Set Custom URL.
  • You should add a clear, crisp photo to your profile. This image should be professional looking and ideally a headshot. Here is a link to LinkedIn guidelines for profile images:
  • I recommended you spend some time looking into the various professional groups that are on LinkedIn. Join and follow groups that are in-line with your professional goals. This not only adds to the overall professional picture of you that LinkedIn provides to prospective employers but also creates new networking opportunities for you.
  • It is important to get recommendations from supervisors, colleagues – peers – co-workers, people who worked for you.
  • It is also important to connect with people you know. You can do it under Network. It is best to ask people outside of LinkedIn if they want to connect with you and when they say yes then send them the LinkedIn request.

The Pronoun Problem Resolved

  • Use gender-neutral/inclusive writing as evidenced by the academic and scientific communities. It has become the standard practice in journalistic writing.
  • Use they, them, and their rather than his or her.
  • Use Chair or Chairperson rather than Chairman.
  • Use mail carrier, letter carrier or postal worker instead of mailman.
  • Use person or individual for man.
  • The list goes on and on.