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Employment Agencies

Times have changed with job-searching, and there are numerous websites now available that post jobs for private industry. Many companies also offer a way to apply online. However, these sites do not replace traditional and proven job-hunting approaches such as networking, personal contacts, business organizations, and interviewing.

If you're looking for a job, you might come across ads from employment agencies that promise wonderful opportunities. While some companies honestly want to help you, others are more interested in taking your money. Be wary of:

  • Promises to get you a job and a guaranteed income.
  • Up-front fees, even when you are guaranteed a refund if you are dissatisfied.
  • Employment agencies whose ads read like job ads.
  • Promotions of "previously undisclosed" government jobs. All federal jobs are announced to the public on the USAJOBS website.

Get a copy of the employment agency contract and review it carefully before you pay any money. Check with your local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed about a company.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sues businesses that fraudulently advertise employment openings and guarantee job placement. Contact the FTC if you have a complaint.

Social Media Profiles and Your Job Search

Are you in the market for a new job? If so, remember that potential employers aren’t just reading your resumé; they are also reviewing your social media profiles, blogs, pictures, and videos. In 2011, the FTC ruled that background investigation companies can keep your social media history for as long as seven years. Even if you clean up your profiles, companies can still have access to older content that you posted publicly. To err on the side of caution:

  • Use the privacy settings to manage who has access to your profile.
  • Refrain from making defamatory comments about current or past employers.
  • Avoid making statements that are discriminatory or demonstrate intolerance.
  • Untag yourself in pictures or posts that are inappropriate.

Unemployment

The government's Unemployment Insurance Program provides benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet other eligibility requirements. Each state administers its own program under federal guidelines. Eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and length of benefits are determined by the states. For more information, contact the Department of Labor.

In addition, some states are extending unemployment benefits for eligible recipients for up to 13 additional weeks.