Using Craigslist To Find Work

Opportunities Abound

Craigslist can be a great resource for finding work. Whether you’re looking for freelance gigs, a day job to cover expenses while your business is getting off the ground, or that perfect split-window VW Bus restoration project for when you do find work, you probably can find it on Craigslist.

What’s So Great About It?

Craigslist has dedicated sites for most sizable cities in the country. Even if the city where you’re looking for work doesn’t have its own Craigslist, you can always search by the state and use the city as one of the keywords.

Another bonus: Craigslist also doesn’t charge employers for postings seeking candidates for short-term work (AKA “gigs”).


If you’re a freelancer, this is great for you, as it means you are likely to have a broad selection of gigs to choose from. Craigslist only charges employers seeking submissions for permanent positions in certain major metropolitan areas, and not in smaller cities.

Again, this means more variety for freelancers. Indeed, the site features categories for just about any type of employment you might be seeking, whether it’s computer programming, sound design, housekeeping, or writing.

The Basics

Given the multitude of postings on Craigslist at any given time, it can be somewhat challenging to find the diamonds in the rough. First, make sure you are searching in the area where you’d like to find employment. This should be readily apparent when you first access the website, but it bears mentioning, as it would be pointless to find your perfect job in Miami if you’re trying to find work in Milwaukee.

While you can browse specific categories of jobs, those categories are pretty broad. Perusing the “labor” category if you specialize in custom masonry, or scouring “talent” if you’re a graphic artist is likely to be quite a time-consuming (albeit potentially interesting) process. Narrow your results with specific search terms.

You can also post your resumé, but be aware of the fact that while it may make it easier for prospective employers who haven’t yet gotten around to posting their vacancies to find you, it may also alert your current employer to the fact that you are seeking employment.

Making Craigslist Work For You

Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, there are some tricks you can use to give yourself the edge when hunting for jobs. First, you can turn any Craigslist search into an RSS feed. If you look at the bottom-right corner of the page that displays your search results, you should see an orange icon that says “RSS”. If you click on it, you’ll be led to a page that will allow you to choose which RSS reader you’d like to use to receive the feed.

There are several popular readers available, and chances are, you already have one of them. If not, you can download one for free. Just do a search for “RSS reader,” and you’ll find plenty of options. RSS feeds give you up-to-the-minute updates on many sources of frequently refreshed information on the web, for example, your job search.

Another way you can stay a step ahead of the pack when hunting for jobs is by using mobile apps. There are apps in which you can save specific searches, such as Craigsnotifica for Android and Craigslist Mobile + Notifications for iPhone. These apps function similarly to RSS feeds, in that they provide you with near-constant updates on the searches that you have saved. These can be of great benefit to job-hunters. After all, it can’t hurt to at the top of a stack of resumés.

What To Look Out For

One of Craigslist’s major advantages (that anyone can post a job for little or nothing) can also be one of its downfalls, if you’re not careful. Beware if:

  • It seems way too good to be true
  • It requires you to submit your bank account information (for “payment”, etc.)
  • The post contains egregious typos or misspellings
  • It requires you to pay money to apply
  • The job title doesn’t match the description

These are just a few things to look out for. As a general rule, if your nonsense-detector goes off while you’re reading it, you’re probably correct.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Rick Klaras

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