Weekly business rail, with tips for overqualified job seekers, BBB advice on summer jobs, and more.

Tip of the Week


Today's highly competitive job market presents challenges for everyone seeking employment. Recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike encounter limited opportunities. After submitting a resume and cover letter, these job seekers sometimes do not get a reply from prospective employers. This is discouraging, but not a surprise when employers often receive hundreds of resumes for every job posted, as reported by GetHIred.com, a website that helps people find the right job, and companies find the right employees.


The tight job market can be especially hard on job seekers with 15 or more years of work experience. As they look through posted jobs, they often find entry-level openings that require less education or experience than they have accumulated. Sheryl Decker, director of Career Services at Brown Mackie College - South Bend, offers steps that can help overqualified job seekers find employment.


"An overqualified job candidate is someone who has too much education or experience, or can be too highly-paid for the position sought," Decker says. "When employers review a resume, they first tend to weigh the level of education and a candidate's past experience against the job opportunity. If the candidate possesses qualifications that are higher than the position requires, a manager may set the resume aside."


"The employer's top priority is to make the right hiring decision. It costs money to hire and train a new employee, and it is beneficial to the organization when the employee comes on board for the long haul," Decker says. "It can be scary for an overqualified person who isn't finding job openings that match their credentials." How can you overcome this negative perception?


- Change the format of your resume: "If you have a lot of skills, it can be helpful to organize your resume into a functional resume format," Decker says. "Rather than presenting information in chronological order under each position held, highlight your skills and accomplishments as they pertain to the position you are seeking." You can include the companies you have worked for in the past without emphasizing titles that may raise concerns. Quintessential Careers, a website dedicated to empowering job seekers, supports this tactic for overqualified applicants.


- Customize resume to each specific position: "Tailor each resume to include the attributes the prospective employer seeks," says Decker. "Highlight the things that show you are qualified, not overqualified." Be sure to include characteristics of your personality that show you are motivated, a team player and dedicated to performing the job effectively. Along with a positive attitude, these soft skills can help define you as an asset.


- Call on your professional network: Never underestimate the importance of joining a professional association. "People who know you can vouch for your experience and value to the company, even though your qualifications may be higher," Decker says. "This is one of the best ways to overcome negative perceptions."


- Honesty is the best policy: "Prospective employers call your references, check your background and criminal history, and speak with the company where you last worked. Be honest about the reasons you left, and make it known that you are flexible about salary in a new position," Decker says. "Today's economy makes this a reality."


Above all, focus on how your learned skills can benefit the company. Employers want to provide good service to customers in a positive atmosphere for employees.


- ARA


BBB Watch


Many students are off for summer break and find themselves searching for temporary work. The Better Business Bureau is warning high school and university students looking for work this summer to avoid common job scams. Here are 10 tip-offs that the "employment opportunity" could be a scam:


1. Big bucks for simple tasks. Watch out if they promise to pay you a lot of money for jobs that don't seem to require much effort or skill. If it sounds too good to be true, it might be a scam.


2. Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If they offer you a job without getting an application from you, meeting you or doing an interview, it's probably a scam. Don't hand your personal information, especially your Social Security number or credit card information to such people. This could lead to identity theft.


3. Requests for up-front payments. If someone wants you to make an advance payment to partake in a new business opportunity - especially if it's a big investment, or you don't have much information about the deal - this is a red flag. "Advance fee scams" are very common and they come in many varieties.


4. They ask you to wire the money. If you wire a payment to somebody, it's gone forever. Wire transfers of money are a convenient and perfectly legitimate service. But scam artists often ask you to wire payments that they are requesting (especially to destinations in other countries) because they know you won't be able to get your money back.


5. High pressure to do it now. Don't be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer of work, or to make a business investment, particularly if the other party is asking you to spend your money on the deal. Take your time and check it out. If somebody tries to convince you that this is a "limited time" offer and you have to act now, just tell them to forget it. High pressure is a common sign that something's wrong.


6. Refusal to give you full details in writing. Ask for complete information in writing. Look carefully at any documentation they might provide to make sure it answer all your questions. If they won't give details, or don't respond to questions, don't do business with them.


7. References are missing or a bit suspicious. A real business should be able to give you professional references, ask for references and check them yourself. Even if the references seem good, don't make your decision based on references alone. Do a careful background check; free Business Reviews are available at www.bbb.org.


8. Contact information is missing or doesn't make sense. Be very cautious if a company is trying to get you to accept a job, but seems to lack any established physical location with a real street address. A cell phone number and website address are not enough contact information. If there is an address, it's worth taking a moment to check it out on the Internet.  


9. They want you to buy expensive items. Be cautious if they expect you to make a major purchase of equipment, software, inventory or information in order to get started in business. It seems like it might be a real business opportunity - but it's not; the buyer makes the purchase and never receives the things needed to set up the business.  


10. It has a bad rating with the BBB. Victims do complain to the BBB about work-at-home scams. It only takes minutes to check a company's record with us at www.bbb.org.  


The List


According to Yahoo, here are five cities with great deals for renters:


5. Riverside, Calif.


4. Atlanta


3. Jacksonville, Fla.


2. Phoenix


1. Las Vegas


Number to Know


$2,750: Cost of an Android smartphone by Lamborghini.


Tech Talk


Verizon recently announced it will roll out new pricing plans that will let customers share data usage among cellphones, tablets, computers and family members’ devices.


GateHouse News Service