Craigslist: The Lowdown

200x200-Craiglist-navigationWhat Every Job Seeker Should Know

There’s no doubt about it. Craigslist has become a popular online venue for job seekers. It’s the most trafficked site when it comes to searching for a job. Craigslist is also in a class by itself with jobs from small and medium-sized employers. Because it‘s managed to build a reputation of being a great source for free and low-cost classified job postings, it works for those employers — ESPECIALLY if they’re on a really tight budget.

So what exactly is the lowdown you, as the job seeker, need to know when it comes to making use of Craigslist to search for a job?

  • If you’re okay working for or like working for a small or medium-sized employer, then, by all means, make aggressive use of it. Bookmark Craigslist and check job postings religiously several times a day. While the job postings can be rather vague as to who is exactly doing the hiring, these small and medium-sized employers are serious about finding the right employees. Most respond to applicants and will conduct phone screens in the very least.
  • Not all Craigslist jobs are legit. You’ll need to sort out some scam ads during your browsing sessions. If you have common sense and a brain, you can weed out the B.S. and find some great jobs on it.
  • There are more part-time jobs on Craigslist than full-time jobs. If full-time work is a sticking point for you, you may want to re-consider utilizing Craigslist so you’re not searching for that proverbial needle in a haystack.
  • Craigslist is a good site for freelancers, contractors and those who’d like to seek an internship. If you fall into one of those categories, your odds of landing a job on Craigslist dramatically increase.
  • Craigslist works better if you live in a larger city people have actually heard of and not so much in smaller town. It doesn’t hurt to look, but unless you live in a larger city or close to larger cities don’t be surprised if you don’t find anything.
  • Craigslist is a lot like a thrift store in terms of being very hit or miss. It really depends on the area you’re looking in as well as the type of job you’re looking for. But just know that there may be more misses than hits. But just because Craigslist is more often miss than hit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make use of it. After all, there’s this old saying: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
  • Pay attention to what you are applying for. Figure out what they‘re really saying in the ad. Ads that go into a lot of details so the applicant knows exactly who and what they’re applying for ensures that the employer can cut down on wasted time shifting through inappropriate applicants. It also allows you, the applicant, to cut down on wasted time applying for an employer you don’t want to work for or a job you’re really not qualified for.
  • Companies asking applicants to sell a product or service, engage in door to door sales, work from home, purchase gift cards, and participate in focus groups and studies for cash and other incentives are prevalent on Craigslist.
  • If the employer states they want someone fluent in English, don’t send an E-Mail with the following: “My inglish is good so pleese hire me.” Employers get far too many E-Mails with that response. It looks bad, really bad, and it won’t get you hired let alone an interview or phone screen.
  • Avoid responses like the following: “Hi my name is Claudia I’m interesty to job…how to do for apply…thank” or Hi my name is Greg and I’m excited about this opportunity… call me at (555) 555-5555…I’m highly qualified for the job” Again, employers get far too many E-Mails with that response. It looks bad, really bad, and it won’t get you hired let alone an interview or phone screen.
  • Treat the job ad like an interview for your ideal job. Imagine that you are about to get interviewed for a position in a company that you really want work for. Spend some time preparing what you want to say and customize your E-Mail to the job that is posted. If you’re applying to get a position as a web designer, don’t send your resume full of glowing references to your past as an IT technician. It’s unbelievable how many “IT guys” apply for a job as a “web guy.” They are completely separate positions and require different skill sets and personality traits. Again, it goes back to the point of paying attention to what you’re applying for and figuring out what they’re really saying in the ad. Please don’t look like a fool all because you failed to do that.
  • Many applicants send a blank E-Mail with an attached resume. Avoid that and utilize the body of the E-Mail as a cover letter. Make sure your cover letter conveys the right message, is grammatically correct and, of course, free of spelling errors. If you utilize the body of the E-Mail as a cover letter, you’ll definitely stand out among employers.
  • Don’t be vague with the employer. If you’re applying for a web designer position, don’t say you’re familiar with all the designing software and leave it at that. Tell the employer what software you’re familiar with and in what context. Have you just heard of that software or have you actually utilized it at some point? Give them specifics of what you can do with that software and provide samples, if possible, unless they ask for them outright. Again, it goes back to the point of conveying the right message.
  • Upload your resume as an attachment. Make sure your resume is in the form of a Word file. PDF is even better. (PrimoPDF is a freeware program that creates a PDF from Word documents and I highly recommend it.)
  • Don’t customize the reply title. Utilize the title of the job posting in your E-Mail. Don’t change it to something as generic as “Craigslist Job,” as the employer may have multiple job postings listed. This just confuses matters where the employer is concerned. Feel free to add, in parentheses, extra words such as “This is PERFECT for me,” “Over 7 years of healthcare experience” or “I’m an ideal candidate for this job.” This is fine and most employers will not have a problem with it.
  • If the job’s being posted repeatedly posted, watch out. Ask yourself why this employer is posting the job every 2 or 3 weeks or every 3 or 4 months. With so many unemployed people, this shouldn’t be happening.
  • If employer advertises every single day or the job sounds too good to be true, don’t apply.

Remember, Craigslist was never set up as a job search site. Its job listings have both pros and cons. While it’s possible to find legitimate jobs on Craigslist, you’ve got to know how to spot the red flags in order to sort the good from the bad. That’s why I’ve gone ahead and have given you the lowdown on Craigslist. I want to make it safer and easier for you to make use of it if you choose to do so.


About the Author

Elizabeth has spent several years working in the healthcare field. She’s worked on both the clerical and clinical side of the industry. Elizabeth has a strong commitment to supporting the personal and professional goals of anyone who wants to realize their full potential so they can enhance their own lives, as well as the lives of those around them.

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