Help Wanted Ads: Reading Between the Lines

Whether you're desperate for a job or simply looking to make a few extra dollars, the help wanted ads are the first place you'll probably look. However, not all ads are created equally. To understand the help wanted ads, you'll need to read between the lines. If you don't, you can waste a lot of time and money on ads for jobs that aren't right for you.

Money should flow to the employee

The main thing you should understand when looking at help wanted ads is that money should always come to you and not from you. If you need to pay for a kit, an interview or anything else before you get a job, look somewhere else. At best, the advertisement is for a multilevel marketing "job." At worst, it's a scam.

Out of the area

It's also important to watch out for ads that are not local. Sometimes these are legitimate, but often they are for commission-only jobs, door-to-door sales jobs and similar types of employment. While these may be interesting opportunities, the average person searching the want ads knows these jobs' "potential" won't pay the bills. Also, it's just as likely that the ad is not for a job at all but for a service that supposedly finds jobs. Most reputable job-finding services don't advertise this way.

Too good to be true

Perhaps the most important help wanted ads to avoid are those that look too good to be true. If you wonder why everyone isn't doing it, be careful. You certainly don't want to pass up a good job. But if the ad promises hundreds of dollars for a couple of hours of stuffing envelopes or transcribing data, be cautious; it's likely the company is trying to sell you on the idea of putting similar ads in newspapers. That's multilevel marketing rather than a legitimate service.

Jobs are available even in a recession, and often the best jobs don't fit the traditional mold. If an ad is attempting to appeal to everyone, has nothing but a Web site for making a contact or wants you to send money, be very wary and understand it's more likely a dead-end sales pitch than a bill-paying job.

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