So this post, the first in a series, explores those dicey writing want ads constantly clogging up online job posting sites. Through much time and frustration, I’ve discovered firsthand that many of them are outright scams, while others just seek to prey on the naïve or inexperienced. These sites can be a great resource to find work -- if you can separate the genuine opportunities from those trying to nab your work, your cash or your identity, or flood your e-mail with spam.
Dubious? Legit? Larcenous? Before you reply to ads, check for some warning signs:
*!#@%^&. Check for standard addresses. Do you know of any valid businesses with Web sites that resemble "www.$$$$.ru/34bdzxj835h/xx35.html"? Or e-mail addresses looking like "email@example.com"?
Worst Face Forward. Projecting an amateurish visage makes me, and I know I’m not alone here, click off the page quicker than a cheetah strung out on triple espressos (now there’s a mental image you don’t often see):
- Not stating upfront whether the gig pays or not. Making me rifle through pages and pages of a Web site to find out is not endearing.
- IF THE SUBJECT LINE (and worse, the ad itself) IS IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!
- If the ad is riddled with grammar, punctuation, spelling or syntax errors, what does it say about the quality of the publication or Web site they’re running?
Feel free to comment and add your own helpful hints.