“Is It A Scam?” Probably. 10 Tips for Job Seekers.

Looking for a job takes sweat, tears, and tenacity.  We all know this.

In the midst of our hard work and a desperation to get hired at this very moment, there are many phony corporations who prey on just that.  Whether they are hidden pyramid schemes or phishing emails (emails hoping you’d provide important personal information), these companies are obviously something to avoid.

Scammers not only hinder your job search progress, but allowing them to hire you stagnates your skills and abilities.  Normally, there is essentially no real growth with these organizations, unless you pay your way up.   Ultimately, they have the potential to ruin your financial inventory and professional reputation.

So how can you tell if a potential job offering is a scam? Well there are many!  In my years of job hunting, I have dealt with a good amount of these companies trying to reach out to me, and it didn’t take long to pick up on the patterns.

I’m taking these observations from my own experience, as well as my closest friends’.

Tell-Tale Signs of a Scammer

1) The company name is extremely generic.

Some mess like “Better Management Inc.”

2) There are spelling errors or an extreme informality in their emailed approach to you.

’nuff said

3) If you’re on Craigslist or classifieds site: The posting only talks about benefits with barely any requirements and NO information about the company.

4) You have no idea how they got your information.

Just like if any other person walked up to you, talking about you, soliciting you, and you know you never met them in your life. You should probably run.

5) If you applied to one of these jobs and they call you in less than 24 hours. 

6) The company tries to schedule an in person interview with you AS SOON AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN.

Most legitimate places will try to schedule an in-person interview with you within 2 weeks of receiving your application(and of course, this could take much longer).  A scammer will literally ask you to come in today or tomorrow.  Again, they’re preying on your desperation.

7) Once the interview is scheduled, they tell you to bring your resume and dress professionally.

WHY WOULD A PROFESSIONAL TELL YOU TO COME TO AN INTERVIEW DRESSED WELL WITH YOUR RESUME?  This is one of the most understood practices of interviewing.  If a recruiter feels the need to tell you this prior to your interview, then it’s a scam.  They know that they are literally just calling anyone and trying to get them in, so they feel the need to put out that reminder for those who never had a professional job.

8) At the interview, they discuss salary and benefits before they even get 2 sentences deep into the job description.

They shouldn’t be discussing it AT ALL, but it is a super sure sign of a scam if it’s almost the first thing they bring up.

9) Under the guise of “marketing and advertising”, will ask you to join for a managerial position, even if you REALLY don’t qualify.

These people will put out job postings for a Marketing Manager or something similar, but the requirements would be that of a high school student.  Let’s get real, no one is asking you to manage something with ZERO experience right out the door.  They use these words to make everything sound too good for you to pass up.  Then you apply, and the company has you canvassing, cold calling, or setting up store demos asking people to “try this” when they would rather ignore you.

10) It requires you to spend money first. Such as buying a demo product.

Looks like you applied to a Scam already? It’s Cool.

You could do a few things.  In fact,Google can help you with most of it.

A lot of these companies have already been figured out, because the internet is great with connecting people with others based on shared experiences.  8/10, if you Google search a scammer, the first page of results will confirm your suspicions.

If Google doesn’t help and you’re still wary of a company, you can respond by paying attention to the signs above the way you see fit.  Many times,  if I see a good amount of tell-tale signs, I just won’t show up to the calling.

If I REALLY can’t get a handle on it, then I entertain the first interview.  There’s honestly no cost in that other than the gas to get there.

I hope this helps in your future job endeavors!  Protect your identity, and protect your wallet.


Brand Yourself: Correcting Your Online Presence

Everyone wants to have a good reputation online, but we often feel like that’s something out of our control.  Well good news, it’s not completely.

Go visit the website BrandYourself.com, sign up and search your name.  Many links will pop up and you may be surprised at what you’ll find.

You can rate each link as:

  • POSITIVE: Relevant to you specifically
  • NEUTRAL/NOT ME: Something that has nothing to do with you
  • NEGATIVE: Something damaging that is also relevant to you.

I even had an assignment from high school lurking around on Tumblr that still comes up when my name is searched.

This tool helps assign relevant links to you, while getting rid of ones that are irrelevant.

The point here is to improve your grade, or at least make sure the right links appear when your name is searched.

I did this with mine over this past semester at Grand Valley.  Here’s my before and after .







My score decreased because I was able to search through the links and identify a negative result to my reputation.

I enjoyed this exercise though.  I was able to view the scope of what others see when they search me, while catching a whiff of nostalgia in the process.  I highly recommend that everyone try this out.  Strengthen your web presence and  shoot for that A!


Infograph Tid Bit

Infographs are a creative way to explain a process or show data.  Even the most conservative audiences tire of paragraphs and bulletpoints.  It’s healthy to have fun every once in a while, even if it’s with data.

With infographs, you could create valuable content to share on….well…anything you can put content on.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, anything.

Content can be created through a variety of different platforms and programs.  Don’t worry, there are resources available for all skill levels.  You don’t have to be an Adobe wizard.

I created one just for this blog and it was pretty easy! I used canva.com and it’s pretty much drag and drop.  This site has plenty of free options and is very easy to navigate.  Check it out below.

How to Become Famous

Like every other creative, just be sure to keep an open mind.

Happy designing!

Looking for Tech in ArtPrize 7

It’s a warm evening in late September.  The streets of downtown Grand Rapids become densely saturated with people and food stands decorate each corner.  Public lots raise their prices by $5 and it becomes apparent that the largest art competition in the world has commenced.

Man in the midst of it all
ArtPrize Crowding

ArtPrize is an annual event that began in 2009, and from the beginning there has been a technological component to the competition itself.

A total of $500,000 will be given out to two sets of winners: one judged by a panel of expert art critics, and the other by the votes of the general public.  Each ArtPrize entry is accompanied by a code, which public viewers can text to 808080.  This is one way to vote.

Another is to download the mobile app, which has many other useful functions.  The official ArtPrize app has been evolving for years.  The 2015 version dropped the routing feature, one that allowed users to map out their own tour according to what they wanted to see.  Regardless, you can still do things like vote quickly, search for art, and get walking directions to anywhere you need (and thank goodness, it tells you where the nearest bathroom is!).  The city of Grand Rapids is also offering free Wi-Fi to the public.  How generous!

Speaking of generous, Pantone is a main sponsor of ArtPrize 7.  Pantone is a company that specializes in color measurement and management, leading in coloring and lighting technologies. Meaning if you want an image to show up one color, this company makes sure the rest of the world receives it in precisely that color.  You might recognize one of the featured pieces on their blog.

Mural under US 131
“In Our Element” By Ruben Ubiera

Throughout ArtPrize, you can find many pieces that have some immersion in technology.  For instance, each year there are a number of entries that include a great deal of LED lighting.  It’s a very simple addition, but one I can’t get enough of!

“Bones” piece

Another trend I’ve picked up on comes from the number of installation pieces that include a visual or film component.  For instance, there’s an entry called “A Mouthful of Flesh” nestled in an edge of the Calder Plaza.  It is a white “room” that observers can walk into.  There is nothing in this room except a bare twin mattress to the left and a small TV screen in the middle of the center wall.  “Blood” is splattered on the walls and the bed, and the TV played a short film that I still have yet to interpret.  It aims to explore themes like love and risk-taking, but there’s a relation to a futuristic cell and Jungian psychoanalysis.  Definitely one to check out yourself.

Inquisitive Roommates.
“A Mouthful of Flesh” exterior

Shot Film Blood on walls Blood on bed

Normally Artprize is concentrated in downtown Grand Rapids, but the competition has been spilling over to residential streets in recent years.  This year, I found myself on Rumsey Street where many abandoned houses and buildings have been converted to artistic representations of varying concepts.  If you walk past the port-a-potties, through the lot, and follow the mulch pathway, there is a piece called “How to Feed a Wolf”, an installation with two projectors involved.

Projectors through 9 panels
“How to Feed a Wolf”

Technology present in ArtPrize is either for visuals or practicality with engaging in the event.  Otherwise, the bulk of technology you’ll see is all the obsolete hardware used to make sculptures.  When it comes to voting and the mobile app, I appreciate the minimalism.  It’s honestly all anyone would need for a competition of this nature; though I will note that I feel the routing feature was a great idea and should probably come back.

However, I could see a great deal of potential with artists incorporating more technology in their work in the future.  Some interesting things could happen with use of that public Wi-Fi alone.

Of course, this is all going off the tip of the iceberg.  I have much more ground to cover, and two weeks to do it!

Kaczmarczyk, J. (2015, September 5). Check out ArtPrize 2015’s new app at Google Play Store. Retrieved September 29, 2015, from http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/09/check_out_artprize_2015s_new_app_at_google_play_store.html
Shapiro, B. (2015, April 8). Here’s Everything You Need to Know About ArtPrize 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015, from http://observer.com/2015/04/heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-artprize-2015/
Xrpdigital. (2015, September 22). In Our Element: Brought to life through color and light – X-Rite. Retrieved September 29, 2015.