As most of you know, I was laid off by The Commercial Appeal (after 27 years) last year, and laid off again by the Riverfront Development Corporation six months ago. I have been doing the job-search thing since.

But what's happening now is my inbox is being flooded by I-don't-know-what. I'm trying to ignore things that I didn't exactly apply for, but I can't entirely -- or what's the use of Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, and so forth?

But who the hell is Mark (newsletter@climber.com), and why is he giving me so much advice? What the hell is Nexxt.com, and why am I signed up for it? Why do so many people want to re-write my resume for me, and why do they all want me to pay them money to do so? Some are obvious frauds, but others are Linkedin, Indeed and Monster.

It's pretty obvious to me that an industry has grown up around desperate, college-educated job-seekers. And I am one of those, and am a target. But how do I tell what is real and what is not?

My immediate need is: What's Red Rover? They seem legit and want a telephone interview. But I just don't know.

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My last (and I do mean last) job search was eight years ago when I too was laid off. I don't remember quite that level of electronic intensity, but I'm sure it has increased since then. Plus, I was a librarian.

I'm assuming they sent you a link to their website? Looks legit, but really hyped-up. I don't see what a phone interview could hurt. Should give you some kind of read on them.

I don't know anything about Red Rover, but if its a phone interview I don't see the harm in talking to them. This would be a time when Linkedin would be helpful you could look them up there and get a better of idea of who they are. 

I've used Monster with mixed results at best. I had a lot better luck with Indeed. 

Yeah, this is the time when LinkedIn is useful. If you're interested, look for the profiles of those companies, and look at the list of their employees who are on LinkedIn. You might see some names you know, or the names of people who know people you do. If you do find a guy you know (or a guy who knows a guy), contact them and ask about the place.

I'd also recommend looking those companies up on Glassdoor, which has company profiles and anonymous reviews from current and former employees and people who have interviewed with the company. The bigger the company, the more of those things will be on the site.

How accurate/valuable are Glassdoor reviews? I say use them like Trip Advisor hotel reviews: Ignore the extremes -- way too positive or way too negative -- and notice where the majority is.

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