Beware Phony PR Job Come Ons


Three college graduates recently told me about bad experiences involving bogus ads seeking “entry-level PR professionals.”  One found herself in a large crowd that showed up for “sports PR/marketing positions” that turned out to be phone sales for basketball season tickets.  Another PR job posting in southern California involved door-to-door sales of regulatory signage.  And the third involved catalog sales. 

While job seekers feel compelled to follow through on every potential job opportunity, it’s wise to analyze any that seem too good to be true–especially those that don’t mention the company or agency where the opening exists.  Most organizations today include their names and locations in job postings.  Always make sure a job sounds like a legitimate position before sending your resume.  Don’t send resumes to unidentified organizations or post office boxes.  Never pay for job lists or a fee for submission of an application. 

Like other professions, perhaps PRSA should have an enforcement service where individuals could report misleading advertising and other misuse of PR.  Until then, you can report phony job opportunites that come via the mail to the U.S. Postal Service.  Local Better Business Bureaus record and pursue phony come ons, and an interesting site — Ripoff Report — allows victims of bad business dealings and phony job ads to post complaints online. 

5 thoughts on “Beware Phony PR Job Come Ons

  1. As a recent graduate I had an extremely similar experience to the sports scenario you posted. In fact I am wondering if I was scammed by the same company that the person you wrote about was.

    It’s unfortunate, but taught me a lesson; reputable companies will always post their name, a detailed description of the position and clear requirements. After all, reputable comapanies are reputable for a reason and don’t have time interviewing just about anyone which is bound to happen if requirements aren’t listed!

    Recently I inquired about a job posting I saw that didn’t list the name (I didn’t send my resume, just an email asking for more information to see if I would be a good candidate); a secretary called me back and refused to tell me the name of the company or more information about the position. She just kept repeating the hiring manager would tell me at the interview. Needless to say I hung up and haven’t thought about that job until this entry brought up the memory.

  2. Anything that sounds great? Probably isn’t.

    The less glamorous positions that don’t sound like they could be James Bond’s front company are almost always legit.

  3. This is indeed a problem, not only for entry-level positions, but also for internships. On a number of occasions I followed up on a listing only to find out it was in fact a sales position.

    My advice is to watch where you look for job/internship postings. Free classifieds are great, but oftentimes are full of traps like these. When searching, look first to credible sources like the PRSSA Job Center or even a company’s own Web site for information.

  4. I often wonder why companies do keep their name private on job listings? I understand that they don’t want to be hassled, but it seems like a bad move in terms of transparency.

    I too, fell for this once. I inquired about a marketing job posting and after a simple email asking for more info, they wanted me to come in for an interview. I agreed, made a time, then did research – and found out they sold knives door to door.

    I cancelled, pronto. It’s a shame that companies post jobs like this under titles like marketing or PR, because it makes the industry seem less professional than it really it.

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