If you ask me how I got here, I will tell you it’s because of Craigslist… The grace of God, and Craigslist.
Some call it “Craigslist hacks,” others prefer “Craigslist secrets,” some simply say “Craigslist tips and tricks;” whatever your word choice is, there is no denying that I’ve figured out how to be seen and heard on Craigslist, and how to land Craigslist jobs. Now I’d like to share my knowledge with you.
After college I was at a loss for what I wanted to do, but Craigslist and its world-wide-web of possibilities was always there reassuring me that there is an indefinite amount of jobs in need of filling.
Craigslist had my back. I navigated Craigslist, learned the ins & outs, and ended up working for three different companies via Craigslist in the span of seven months. I was very pleased with each of these jobs; the first two were seasonal, and I’ve been with the 3rd for two years now.
You heard me correctly. I got my Bachelor’s, moved back home 1000 miles away, and found three jobs on Craigslist; the third allowing me to move out, fully support myself, and begin my career.
I’ve figured out how to be seen and heard on Craigslist, and now I’d like to share my knowledge with you.
This didn’t happen overnight. I’ve applied for dozens of positions, and survived a handful of interviews. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned through them. Now that I’m in the workforce I’ve also used the “gigs offered” portal of Craigslist, and hired my own freelancers through it.
Here are the best lessons I’ve learned on the front-lines of Craigslist, as well as from behind-the-scenes as a hirer.
Best of luck on your own job-seeking journey.
10 Ways To Land Craigslist Jobs: How To Be Seen & Heard On Craigslist
There is more that goes into a Craigslist search than one might think. The simple answer is: “type in your search, mark the fields, and hit enter,” right? But how do you know what to search? How do you shuffle through all the options? And what happens after you find the perfect job posting? How do you make sure YOUR response is seen? Just keep reading.
1. Watch the Dates
Craigslist can be ordered by date. Your first day will be a bit overwhelming because there are so many posts to look through, but after you’ve skimmed through all of your options, the consecutive days will be much easier because you only have to look at what is fresher than what you’ve seen before. Don’t let the large number of postings hinder you. Every day after your first day will be a breeze.
2. Search across Multiple Categories
Search everywhere. Look in multiple categories. You never know where your future employer might have placed their post. Sales? Hospitality? Marketing? The more places you look the more options you have. They only had the option to choose one “gig” or “job” when they posted it, so unless they posted multiple ads, you need to do the dirty work. For example, while I had looked for a job under marketing, I decided to also look for a job under writing, and that’s where I found my position. Be opened-minded about possibilities. The same goes for location. You might only be looking in your small region, expand to the outer cities and see what you can find.
3. Use Keywords
Use keywords. Vary your keywords. Be specific. Be vague. Try different scenarios. Search high and search low.
For example, you might be looking for a “writing” position, but the ad is looking for “writers.” Using different verbage in your searches will make a difference.
4. Ignore the Salaries
Don’t even look at the numbers provided, it’s not worth it. Those numbers are probably just there to entice people, they even add DOE so they can lower it after talking to you. If these people had large salaries to hand out, they probably wouldn’t be posting on Craigslist. If you say yes or no to a job based on the salary listed on Craigslist than you’re not thinking things through. While this might sound rude, it’s true 90% of the time. See, I can make up numbers too.
While a well-paying job might be exciting, there’s more to consider. You should say yes or no to a job depending on if it’s right for you. If it does look like a good fit then go through the hiring process and when you’ve proven yourself worth of a job offer THEN you can talk to them about your needs. If they’re going to underpay you turn them down, otherwise, settle for the best and work hard to earn more. At the end of the day a job is a job. I’d rather be working and contributing to society than sitting at Starbucks responding to more Craigslist ads.
Glassdoor is your blue-book of salaries, and available online: Glassdoor.com. Check them out for a good estimate of how much you should make at your future position. Keep your location in mind.
5. Read the WHOLE POST before Replying
It’s very important to read everything before you send off your response. You only have one shot at impressing them; don’t waste any awkward mistakes because you weren’t paying attention. Understand to the best of your ability what it is you’re applying for. If they offer a company name, or any contextual insight about what or who they are AT ALL, you should do some research. Some ads are very vague and don’t offer a website or name, but, for the sake of writing a good response, you can still use deductive reasoning to figure out who they are and why you’re the perfect fit.
6 Always Use Your BRAIN. Always Use Proper GRAMMAR. Always Be PROFESSIONAL. Always SPELL CHECK.
Always. They are judging you. It’s what they do.
7. Customize Your Response Subject Line
Be very thoughtful of your subject line when you reply. Think, “what can I say to tell them who I am before they even open my email, what do they want to see?” BUT BEFORE YOU DO THIS it’s very important to reread the Craigslist post! Often a good CL ad will ask you to put something specific in the subject line. For example “respond with your name & your favorite ice cream in the subject line.” This helps them weed out the people who bulk reply to everything, and to weed out the people who can’t follow basic instructions: aka, shitty employees. I’ve done this before, and it works great. Attention to detail is everything.
8. Make Yourself WORTH THEIR WHILE
Ok, so they’ve opened your email. Now what? Why are you better than the other 500 people who also replied? Because YOU have what they don’t have. YOU are exactly what they’re looking for. No but really, say that. Now is the time to sell yourself. Attach your updated resume (if requested), they might look at it, but more importantly write an awesome cover letter. Something that will impress them and leave them wanting more.
9. Be Persistent
Apply for as many jobs as you want, you’ll only hear back from a handful anyways, so the more options YOU have the better! Consider each job you apply for as practice, each cover letter one step closer to the right cover letter. I know this optimistic BS isn’t what you WANT to hear right now, but trust me, it works. I’ve found every job I’ve ever had through Craigslist, and I’ve actually enjoyed them too.
Part of being persistent is following through. Be as tactful as you can without being annoying, but persistence can be a virtue. If you haven’t heard back and YOU’RE still interested then wait a week and apply again with a different subject line. I’d acknowledge that you applied once, and then reiterate all the key points you made. Following through is a sign of a good employee, so they can’t be too peeved. If anything, maybe they’ll reply with a polite “no thank you.” I have never been mad at someone for following up with me.
Story Time: If I didn’t follow-up on a good thing I never would have found my first apartment in LA. The place was perfect, so I applied. About a week later I noticed the ad was still up though I’d never received a response. So I reached out again and it turns out the girl had ignored all inquiries because she couldn’t offer a parking spot. This was great news for me because all I had was a small scooter! I was able to move in with her, and the parking issue was no matter. Following through made a world of a difference for me, and it just might for you too.
10. Be Human
You’re a human. The person who wrote the ad is a human. The person reading the responses is a human. Even the person forwarding your responses to their coworkers to either show you off or point out everything wrong with you, they too are human.
Remember, these are real people you are corresponding with, and you’re a real person too. Time to present the best version of yourself.
Do It To It!
These tips worked for me, and I hope they work for you as well. Best of luck out there, the job market is scary, but with the right angle and attitude you’ll do just fine. NOW STOP READING AND START APPLYING!
Here is the cover letter, or “REPLY” that I used on Craigslist that got me the job. The job that I still have to this day. At the time I was hiring for a crafting position for a new DIY craft website: DiyReady.com. Since then I’ve moved from crafter to writer, from writer to editor (my articles here), now I have a full editorial team and we kick ass. I am currently the Editor in Chief of PioneerSettler.com: a site for homesteaders – check it out!
Let me know how your search goes! I’d love to hear about what tips worked (or didn’t work) for you. Did you get the job? Share below. If you like what you’ve seen, spread the good word and tell your friends.