How to Find a Job on Craigslist: Advice From Kevin Donlin

Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are getting a lot of press these days as job search tools.

But have you considered adding Craigslist to that list of online employment destinations?

You might want to.

Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is a vast network of online classified ads that includes job listings. Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, Craigslist now serves all U.S. states and major cities, as well as countries from Argentina to Vietnam.

And it just might help you find your next job. If you use it right. Here’s how …

Start by visiting Craigslist.org to find your city or state. Then click on Jobs, where you’ll find listings ranging from Accounting, Engineering and Manufacturing, to Marketing, Software and Web Design.

“You can browse job postings by headlines, but searching is more effective, especially in the busier communities. And it’s best to search for skills rather than job titles,” according to Jenna Lloyd author of the forthcoming book, “Craiglist 4 Everyone” (Que Publishing).

Example: If you want an administrative position, you could search for Secretary, Executive Assistant, Office Manager, etc., and still miss out on listings. But almost all administrative job postings mention typing or word processing, so searching for core skills like these can uncover a large number of relevant results, according to Lloyd.

Mark Chatham, from Ridgefield, NJ, found his current job on Craigslist in October 2006, when he was hired as a Managing Director for online retailer Big Joys Distribution.

“I found their job posting on newjersey.craigslist.org, emailed my resume and was asked to interview a few days later,” says Chatham.

Chatham must be doing something right — he’s landed four jobs on Craigslist. His advice is to position yourself as both qualified and memorable. His resume included the facts that he held a patent at age 18 and once appeared on the TV show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? “Employers remembered me,” he says.

Because employers receive an average of 51 replies for each job ad, according to Craigslist’s own data you must work hard to stand out. Do this by writing a resume that connects with hiring managers, one that proves you understand their business and that you have the skills they want. “I tweaked my resume each time to make it relevant to the job I was applying for,” says Chatham.

One thing to keep in mind when using Craigslist is time management. You only have about 960 minutes per day to spend on a job search. So make sure you limit your time using online tools like Craigslist. Otherwise, you may find yourself wondering where another day went, and why you’re no closer to finding a job.

Another issue is trust. A quick look through the job postings will turn up dozens of potential work-at-home scams and get-rich-quick schemes. “In larger cities, there’s a fee to post jobs on Craigslist, which weeds out most scammers, but this is not the case in smaller cities. So listen to your instincts — if a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says Lloyd.

If you’re unsure about submitting personal information to an employer on Craigslist, don’t. Simply send them a resume that masks your home address, names of your employers and other identifying data.

Also, it’s important follow directions when replying to a job posting on Craigslist (or anywhere). “Pay close attention to what the employer asks for — do they want you to email your resume as an attachment or paste it into the body of the email, for example,” says Lloyd. Because companies can afford to be picky, they may drop you from consideration if you botch instructions.

And don’t forget the cover letter, even if it is only emailed. “Take the time to write a message in your email that tells employers which ad on Craiglist you’re responding to and where you saw it. Don’t skip this last part!” advises Lloyd.

A final note on Craigslist: To me, it’s a throwback to the days of Usenet bulletin boards in the 1990s. You won’t find any fancy graphics, audio or video here. But you will find the sort of DIY community spirit that helped build the Internet into what it’s become. And that makes Craigslist worth a look if you’re looking for work.

About the Author
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes and the creator of GetHiredNow.TV. Since 1996, he has provided job search assistance to nearly 10,000 people. Author of “51 Ways to Find a Job Fast — Guaranteed,” Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and others. His latest product, The Instant Job Search System, is available at http://www.collegerecruiter.com/guaranteed-resumes.php
copyright (c) 2007 by Kevin Donlin

Editor’s NOTE
I’ve included this article here because his advice can easily carry over to searching Craigslist for telecommuting jobs as well! I’ve mentioned it several times in the past, but it’s always worth mentioning again if it helps someone find the job they’re looking for. For further info you can read what I wrote about Using Craigslist to Find Telecommuting Jobs last year.

The article above is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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