Tips for Identifying Fraudulent Employers & Job Listings

By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

For many of us, our number one goal right now is to do everything in our power to secure that coveted full-time employment title with a company whose mission and promised salary aligns with our own values and goals. There are resources left and right that are here to get us there—Handshake is one of them. However, despite the fact that employers are vetted before allowed access to Handshake, sometimes a few bad apples slip through the cracks.

A “fraudulent employer” could be a made-up company, or, it could be a scammer or impersonator pretending to be affiliated with a legitimate organization. We need to protect ourselves from such scams by watching for suspicious requests and actions. Here are a few warning signs to look out for when applying for jobs or communicating with employers on any online job search site, including LinkedIn, Career Builder, and Handshake, to name a few.

They ask for your money

If an employer is requesting your bank account information, credit card numbers, etc. this is a great sign to run the other way. Legitimate employers will not ask for this type of information online or even over the phone. Many times these employers will justify this ask by saying they need this information in order to cover a startup cost or initial fee associated with your application or employment; real companies will not ask you to pay for your job. Now, let’s say you missed this warning sign. If you have given a scammer your credit card information, contact your bank immediately, close the account, and dispute the charges.

Company contact information isn’t legitimate

Rutgers University found that fraudulent employers usually possess non-business email domains or utilize personal email addresses in place of company email addresses. This is a red flag. Keep in mind that getting in touch with a company should not be a challenge. If their website link doesn’t work or only provides rudimentary information with little to no depth on the company’s mission, available jobs, or location, etc. you should proceed with caution and verify their business status through more research. Check out the Better Business Bureau, Glassdoor.com, AT&T’s Anywho and the Chamber of Commerce to verify employer legitimacy.

There is a clear lack of professionalism

The telltale sign of a fraudulent employer is a job posting riddled with misspellings and grammatical faux pas. Ask yourself, if the employer can’t get a simple job posting right, what else are they doing wrong?

The position sounds too good to be true

The University of Michigan points out in their guide against fraud that these employers often try to entice you with the promise of a position that allows you to work from home, has only minimal responsibility, requires vague skills and offers a hearty salary. It’s important to recognize that legitimate employers will be up front in providing a detailed job description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if you are right for the job.

You’re immediately hired

Let’s get real—no application process is so seamless that you are immediately hired without an interview. Actual employers take their time reviewing resumes and cover letters; therefore, if you receive an immediate response from someone after you send in your application, proceed with caution. In their fraudulent employer guide, the University of Iowa points out that oftentimes, fraudulent employers use this technique to pique your interest and gather as much personal information from you as possible in a short window of time.

Your research efforts indicate fraud is a possibility

The power of Google should never be underestimated. Put on your detective hat and start searching the company name along with key phrases such as, “fraudulent job postings” or “scam.” If the search results show a slew of online articles detailing a hoax, there’s a good chance this so-called job is the work of a scammer.

If you encounter any suspicious activity—on Handshake or otherwise—please be sure to notify Kate Dalin, the Career Center’s associate director of employer engagement and on-campus recruiting. With a watchful eye, you can aid in the Career Center’s efforts to create a safe and rewarding environment for job seekers. If you or your friends do become victims of fraudulent employers, contact DePaul’s Student Legal Services for further guidance and support. Please also consider reviewing the Federal Trade Commission’s resource for navigating and reporting job scams, and filing a complaint report with their agency.

Handshake Hacks: Scheduling Appointments with Career Advisors

Whether you’re interested in learning about job opportunities or seeking career guidance around a specific topic, you have access to resources on Handshake and the Career Center’s website, 24/7. Now, let’s say it hits you at 2 a.m. that you still need to schedule a mock interview with a career advisor to prep for an employer meeting later that week—What do you do then?

You now don’t have to wait to schedule an appointment during normal business hours; you can request an appointment through Handshake at any time, day or night. This means you can log onto Handshake at the crack of dawn—if you so choose—to check your advisor’s earliest availability, and request a meeting. As soon as the Career Center office opens, our terrific front desk staff will do their best to ensure you get in at the earliest availability.

Requesting an Appointment How-to

Assuming you don’t always have a laptop on hand, you can always use a smart phone to log onto Handshake to request an appointment, as it is mobile friendly. Once you are logged in, look at the navigation column on the left-hand side of the page and select “Appointments,” which is located under the My University column. Click “Schedule a New Appointment” and then follow the prompts to choose a Category and an Appointment Type:

From there, you will see a list of your designated career advisor’s upcoming availability. Pick an available slot, briefly share what you hope to learn in the meeting (e.g. “discuss career options based on my major” or “prepare for an upcoming interview”), and submit your request. Our front desk staff will then review all requests, and confirm your appointment or reach out with alternative availability.

Aside from Handshake, you can still schedule an appointment with your career advisor during normal business hours by calling us directly—or, you can drop in between classes:

Loop office: DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson, Suite 9500 | (312) 362-8437

Lincoln Park office: Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 N. Kenmore, Room 192 | (773) 325-7431

Now, for those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night and remember that you’ve been meaning to research internship opportunities, you can jump on Handshake and rest assured knowing you are in good hands.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Teaching Abroad

By: Samantha Ng, College of Computing and Digital Media Admissions Officer and Former Career Center Grad Intern

Postgraduate planning involves a myriad of difficult decisions that will lead you down new and exciting paths; paths that may even take you abroad. One great opportunity to consider post-grad is teaching English abroad. When it comes to relocating to a different country, however, there are certain questions you should ask yourself to determine if you’re ready for this type of career path. Before you embark on this journey, here are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Am I up for the challenge?

You should first dig deep and ask yourself this: is teaching really your interest and passion, or is this really more about traveling and immersion, coupled with time to think more about what to do later? Also, keep in mind that moving to a new country comes with many challenges. Depending on the teaching program, you may receive minimal support when it comes to housing arrangements, adjusting to local culture, overcoming language barriers, etc. However, there are also many programs out there that will pick you up from the airport, provide an orientation for new teachers, set up housing, etc. The level of support desired or independence required is important to consider when applying for different jobs.

Am I willing to pay for a program?

There are generally two routes you can take: find a program that places you in a school, which sometimes requires a fee; or, find a teaching job on your own that provides compensation. Oftentimes, the programs that require a fee are non-profit organizations and sometimes include some sort of teaching certification. However, there are many teaching abroad programs that do not require fees or search sites that can help people find jobs abroad.

Can I afford to teach abroad?

There will most likely be some upfront costs when it comes to teaching abroad. This may include the flights, passports and visa(s) (if applicable), accommodations, health insurance, or a teaching certificate. When considering teaching abroad, do not forget to consider the initial costs you may have to pay.

Do I want to save money or am I willing to break even?

For programs that provide compensation, teachers will either earn savings or break even. In many countries, teachers will receive large compensations, and even housing and airfare. In Asian countries like Thailand, China, and Korea, where the cost of living is cheaper, teachers can earn some savings. However, some European countries like Paris, Spain and Turkey where the cost of living is much higher, teachers are more likely to break even in those locations.

Will I take a certification course?

Many schools and institutions look for their teachers to be qualified in TEFL/TESOL/CELTA. There are online and in-person options for these certifications. These courses will provide you with a better understanding and set of skills in teaching English as a foreign language. The certification can range from $1,000 USD (online) to $3,000 USD (in-person). While there are many programs/schools that do not require a certification, it can help position you as a more competitive candidate, especially if you do not have an education background.

How long do I want to live abroad?

Every teaching program has different placement commitments. Some programs require at least a one academic year contract, while others have weekly or monthly options. Consider different factors (i.e. family, finances, holidays, etc.) in deciding how long you want to live in a foreign country.

Where will I live if I go abroad?

Some schools and companies will provide housing for their teachers. These may be single apartments or shared. However, for some teaching jobs, you may be responsible for finding your own accommodations. Many countries have similar websites like Craigslist that may help with your apartment search.

What do I know about the destination?

Before embarking on a journey to a whole new country, it’s important that you do some research on the culture, food, local customs, laws, safety issues, etc. Since you will be immersing yourself into a new lifestyle, it’s essential that you become familiar with the surroundings in which you will live and work. Some initial research may even get you more excited for what’s to come.

I sat down with Career Advisor Ed Childs to talk teaching and moving abroad. Here are a few top questions he will often raise during advising appointments:

  • Have you explored alumni with first-hand experiences in these target areas?
  • Have you reviewed the skills developed from students and alumni who have worked abroad to help give you ideas for your own guidance?
  • Have you considered augmenting your pay with private tutoring, tours, and restaurant work, or remote freelance work?
  • Would you create a vlog/blog or utilize photo/film equipment while abroad as a potential independent study, or for credit in a grad program?
  • Have you explored grad programs with working abroad built into the curriculum?

Navigating these questions can be tough, but remember, you don’t have to do it alone! Stop by the Study Abroad Office or schedule a chat with Ed at the Career Center to talk about teaching and exploring abroad!

Communication & Media Degree: Career Possibilities for Every Interest

By: Brittany Wierman, DePaul University communication & media major ‘20

Few things are as frustrating to a communication and media student as being asked the ultimate, inescapable question, “what job are you going to get with your major?” Some students have their career goals cemented, but for those of us who are still unsure of how our major will lead us down the path of success, have no fear—the communication and media program is equipped to prepare you for a career in whatever niche fuels you.

So what exactly does a major in communication and media look like? Michael Elias, career advisor for the College of Communication explains, “the major itself was designed so students could experience classes across the entire curriculum in the College of Communication.” Essentially, students in this major can explore all different types of communication avenues including film, journalism, public relations, advertising, broadcasting and more to discover which field suits them best.

…Michael suggests that students reflect on their personal interests and skills to narrow down possible career paths.

Since the field of communication is so broad, Michael suggests that students reflect on their personal interests and skills to narrow down possible career paths. As a communication and media major, you can consider seeking career paths as a reporter, press agent, communication coordinator, event planner, human resources manager, and even a disc jockey, all depending on what peaks your interest.

The possibilities are expansive, which means taking different courses to help you uncover your interests and choose a concentration is key. Even if you have a hard time choosing just one specialization, don’t fret; at the end of the day the development of good communication skills through this program will benefit you in your future professional life. Michael elaborates, “[communication] is the foundation of how we relate with one another… it’s what makes us who we are, the ability to express ourselves.” In other words, whether you’re in an interpersonal, intercultural, mass media, or professional setting, the ability to communicate effectively is fundamental to your success.

For more information on specific career paths, major advising and career planning, check out these major and career guides, and stop by the Career Center to connect with your career advisor.

DePaul Diaries: Life in the Startup World, as an Intern

By: Sydney Sewell, DePaul University relational and organizational communication major ’17

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


Picture this: you had your first human resources internship in a corporate environment. You had your own desk, there was a kitchen with a myriad of snacks that accommodated everyone’s dietary restrictions, and you had a career advisor. Sadly, your internship term has ended, but as an eager college student wanting to explore various work environments, you decide to take on the startup world.

From corporate to startup, I can truly say I received the best of both worlds. During the fall of 2016, I had the privilege of interning at a startup digital marketing company as a human resources intern. Before going into this role, I had no clue what I was getting myself into aside from what was listed in the job description and what was stated to me during the two-part interview process. Needless to say, I was in for an eye-opening and completely different experience from what I was accustomed to in the corporate world.

Eye-opening experience number one: The environment

On my first day I was introduced to the coffee shop; the coffee shop was where the company temporarily worked out of while waiting for a permanent space. Therefore, for the four days out of the week that I would come into the “office,” I was welcomed by the fresh smell of grounded coffee beans and the whistling sound of the door continuously opening and closing. Let me start off by saying that I was not use to this.

Eye-opening experience number two: The depth of the job

Upon starting my internship, I was expecting some type of formal training to assist me with getting acclimated with the company and their human resources department. Their idea of training was showing me the various platforms they use for personnel folders and recruiting. Once I understood their platforms, the human resources manager entrusted me with their talent management and training/on-boarding procedures. Again, I was not use to this either. I was only an intern yet they trusted me with creating and implementing company-wide procedures.

Both of my eye-opening experiences are not to deter students from startup companies, but rather shed light on what might be expected out of a startup that is literally establishing itself from the ground-up.

In fact, I have taken away some vital things. First, I can truly say I have had meaningful conversations with individuals in the coffee shop that might not have happened if we were in an office space. This goes to show that your workplace environment and atmosphere truly do matter. Second, the most meaningful experiences came from the human resources manager and the CEO of the company giving me full autonomy over projects. And, as I had more time with the company, I later learned this was the CEO’s goal; he would always state, “My goal with this company is to give student workers [interns] ownership of various projects in order for them to see and reach their fullest potential.” Being able to detail my role for these major projects in my portfolio helped me score other internships as well.

…The most meaningful experiences came from the HR manager and the CEO of the company giving me full autonomy over projects.

I’m positive I am not the only student who has had a corporate to startup experience, or, maybe you had the opposite. Regardless, take these pivotal moments in your life for what they are. See past what may seem as a negative, and envision the best outcome; you never know what can come out of it. So, from this day forward, ask yourself, what environment will you tackle next? You never know what it can bring!

DePaul Diaries: Life as a RefugeeOne Intern

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


Alysa Punjwani, international studies major, is spending her winter quarter tackling classes, an on-campus job, and her HR internship at RefugeeOne.

As an HR intern, Alysa said her main responsibilities are redesigning information pamphlets and updating employee handbooks; however, she said her projects change rapidly to fit the needs of the company and she often gets the chance to meet with clients and work with the care managers. Her favorite part of her internship is her “exposure to many different cultures and languages.”

The major skills Alysa is focusing on right now are her language skills and adaptability, as she is constantly on the move and because every day could bring in a new project or client. Alysa is embracing this as she works with a full office of many care managers and other staff members.

On top of her internship, Alysa is balancing her academics and her on-campus positon as a peer career advisor in the Career Center. One of the courses on her plate this quarter is UIP 250: You, Your Work, and the World, which is helping her figure out her transferrable skills and how to get the most of her internship experience. Alysa especially likes that the UIP 250 course is helping her figure out how to create an online portfolio and make an online presence for herself.

However, it’s not always easy to balance work, an internship, and a full course load. Alysa said it can be difficult at times, but, “a clear schedule and understanding supervisors made it easier.” She explained, “many times if there is an academic conflict, I can speak to my supervisors and they’re very understanding of the situation.” Alysa stressed that open communication is key to making it work.

Overall, Alysa is enjoying her quarter working at a large, non-profit and is especially thankful for the scholarship provided by the Internship Plu$ Program to help make it work for her. Her biggest piece of advice to future interns is: “Be flexible with the work you’re assigned and be confident in yourself and the skills and talents you bring to the table.”


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.