5 Tips for Navigating the Craigslist Jobs Jungle
Unemployment is an issue in much of the world today. There are many people looking for work, but not enough companies hiring. As a result, job hunters are trying to find ways to find and apply to as many jobs as possible.
Craigslist is an obvious solution, and one I’m familiar with, as I’ve worked with several businesses that I found through Craigslist’s Jobs section. However, I also found myself wasting time on supposed opportunities that turned out to be scams. Learn from my experience and you’ll save yourself time and heartache.
Don’t Pay To Play
Okay, okay. This one might seem a little obvious, but I feel like it is worth saying for those who are just starting in the world of Craigslist job hunting.
Never, ever pay for job opportunities.
Often, these are scams, but they’re not always so blatant. Creative types, such as writers, graphical artists and even programmers, will often come across advertisements for job boards and job search engines focused on a specific area of expertise. Joining is usually free, but you’re not allowed to apply to jobs without paying – or if you’re allowed to apply, your application is given some disadvantage that virtually guarantees you won’t be selected.
Technically, sites like this aren’t always scams because some people do in fact find jobs through them. Even if you do find an opportunity, however, it will often be of poor quality. The employers who use these boards are often aware that someone desperate enough to pay money to find jobs will also be willing to work on the cheap.
Avoid Suspicious Sales Jobs
Another folly that often trips up Craiglist job searches are the mysterious sales jobs. These are companies that compensate their employees primarily by a sales commission, and often promise outrageous income for little work. Such a job might not be bad if reasonable base pay was available, or if employees weren’t often expected to spend significant amounts of their own time and money in the search for a big sale.
Ironically, these jobs often catch searchers off guard with promises of high base pay. Usually this is qualified by a phrase such as “per appointment” or “expected” because employees are paid not by the hour but for individual sales appointments and leads, plus whatever commission comes from them.
Also look out for group job interviews or promises of preliminary training sessions made by overly enthusiastic employers. Often these so-called interviews turn in to sales pitches, where employers eagerly convince a captive audience to ignore the terrible base pay and lack of benefits in the hopes of earning big commissions.
Apply Now! Seriously
The Internet is all about the now. News, now! Entertainment, now! And of course, jobs – right now!
If you’re going to be successful on Craigslist, you need to approach it with the ability to act immediately. Often, an employer who posts a general advertisement will receive a few hundred resumes within a day. The chances that you’ll be picked aren’t great if you’re not one of the first twenty or thirty applicants. Job hunters applying to positions that require special skills will have a little more time, but it never hurts to be quick.
How can you make sure that you’re one of the first to apply? Use Craigslist’s RSS feeds! Many people forget that this function is available, and I don’t blame them, because the site tucks its RSS feed button down in the bottom right hand corner of its pages. If you want to be lightning-quick, subscribe to your local Craiglist Jobs RSS feed both on your computer and on your mobile device.
Tapping Out Templates
Using templates is controversial among job hunters, but I fall on the side of using them. Today’s high-volume online job search forces hunters to be brief, giving them time to apply for as many jobs as possible.
What I don’t recommend however, is that hunters use pre-packaged templates. Instead, create your own resume template ! My suggestion is to create templates for each specific type of job you might apply for, such as customer service, office management, etc. Make sure the template has sections where the name of the specific company you are applying to, if known, can be inserted.
You can even save a copy of the template to your email or on your mobile device so that it can be altered with a document editing app. This will make it possible for you to apply while out and about, ensuring that your application arrives first!
Use Alternative Craigslist Search Engines
Perhaps the biggest limitation you’ll encounter when using Craigslist to search for jobs is Craigslist itself. The grouping of jobs and locations that you are sorting through may not be the best for your specific job hunt.
Fortunately, there are other Craigslist search engines like Search Tempest that can help you and save you a lot of time.
Job hunting is no one’s idea of fun, but these tips will hopefully keep your time unemployed as short as possible. If you have any of your own advice, let us know in the comments!