Using Craigslist for Your Job Search – A Complete Guide

craigslist job search gide Finding a job on Craigslist is not as difficult and painstaking as some may believe. It’s definitely doable, considering the site is full of jobs from all fields and industries.

This article will make your Craigslist job search a lot easier by providing you with the pros and cons of using Craigslist, what to watch out for, the rules to follow, and a list of success tips.

Why Should I Use Craigslist to Find a Job?

Craigslist has become the go-to place when it comes to selling your stuff or buying the occasional smartphone for cheap. Although Craigslist does these things exceptionally well – the site is so much more than an online garage sale.

It’s a quick and easy online job board that has become one of the leading places for people to check out when they are in need of employment. I’ve seen friends find jobs ranging from upper management positions to plumbing gigs – whatever your skill set, you’re bound to find a position suiting your needs.

craigslist job categoriesHere are the top 5 reasons why you should use Craigslist to find your next job:

Jobs are updated more frequently – New positions are added every day – meaning you’ll have access to more jobs and have a greater possibility of getting hired.

Up-to-date search results – When you search for jobs, you will be shown the most up-to-date search results, meaning you won’t have to sort through a bunch of inactive or outdated listings. Instead, the most recent job postings will appear at the top – saving you time and energy from having to plow through a bunch of irrelevant search results.

Small businesses and start-ups love it – Small businesses and start-ups use Craigslist for recruitment purposes rather than other online job boards because with Craigslist they don’t have to pay premium monthly fees. Using Craigslist will provide you with access to jobs you won’t find anywhere else.

Faster application process – Other online job boards are full of time wasting activities. You have to sign up, fill out your profile, and go through a long and dull application process. With Craigslist, all you have to do is send your resume and cover letter. It’s quick and easy.

Popularity – The site is the 12th most visited website in the US – meaning employers and businesses are posting a lot of positions here.

Why Should I Avoid Using Craigslist to Find a Job?

Like with any website or service, Craigslist is exposed to a wide variety of negative issues.

Everyone is using it – This is both a good and bad thing. Small businesses love using the site because it’s very quick and easy to find candidates. Unfortunately, the quick and easy nature also attracts a lot of scammers. You’ll find the job boards are full of get-rich-quick scams, identity theft scams, and multilevel marketing positions.

Posting your resume under the services offered section is just asking for spam– Scammers plow through the resumes under the services offered section and will use your email to send you scam jobs or invitations to join other job sites.

Scammers love using the site – Craigslist doesn’t monitor postings or require any verification of information – meaning there’s a high possibility you may apply to a job and get a call back, only to find out it’s an MLM opportunity or a commissioned based door to door sales job (they won’t tell you this on the phone, instead they’ll call you in for an interview and try to lure you in).

Higher risk of identity theft – A lot of scammers post false jobs with the goal of getting your personal information. They’re praying on unsuspecting job seekers to send in resumes with their contact information.

Lots of applicants – Keep in mind the jobs posted on Craigslist receive a lot of applicants in a very short period of time – meaning if you’re planning on finding a job through the site, you have to be fast and quick.

Now that you’re caught up with the pros and cons of using Craigslist, below is a comprehensive list of what you should watch out for during your job seeking process.

What to Watch Out for…

Jobs with very few details – Real employers will post positions with details outlining the job description, qualifications, skills required, compensation, and duties. Scammer jobs, on the other hand, offer very little details because their goal is to appeal to a broader audience.

Below is an image of what a real job posting looks like (notice the level of detail and information provided):

craigslist legit job posting example

Below is an image of what appears to be a multi-level marketing position, 100% commission based sales job, or a scam.

craigslist mlm job example
No unique email – When applying for a position, you want to check the reply email. Scammers often use Craigslist generated emails such as, whereas credible and legit employers will often use real company emails such as (take this point with a grain of salt, sometimes real employers will use the Craigslist generated email as well because they want to remain anonymous).

Jobs titles with “No Skills Required” – These ads are usually not jobs, and instead are fake listings that are created with the goal of getting contact information from as many people as possible for scam related purposes.

Beware of titles that include the following: all caps, stock images, dollar signs, “call today”, “no experience necessary”, “hiring all new graduates”, “make money fast”, “be your own boss”, “achieve financial freedom” – These are usually scams, multilevel marketing positions, or 100% commission based door to door sales jobs.

craigslist shady job example

Read the compensation policy carefully – Real employers will either post the compensation or they will tell you to send in your salary expectations alongside your resume and cover letter. Scam jobs on the other hand or employers looking merely for free work will include “compensation to be decided after trial period”, “competitive”, “fast track”, “unlimited” etc. You want to avoid these jobs because there’s a high possibility you won’t get paid for your work.

Craigslist.doc Google Docs

6 Rules to Follow when using Craigslist for your Job Search

Finding a job on Craigslist is different from other online job boards. There are certain rules you need to follow to increase the chances of getting a callback.

Apply fast – The faster you apply to a position, the better. Employers are bombarded with a large amount of applicants and usually make decisions quite quickly. A good rule of thumb is to apply within the first 24 hours of the posted date.

Double check the description before applying – Many employers will ask you to include a specific word in your subject line or respond to a particular email. Make sure to reread the description before applying to the position – you don’t want to miss out on a position because you failed to follow instructions.

Do not give out your personal information – Only include your email and your phone number as contact information on your resume.

Create a new email account – You don’t want your primary email stolen or overwhelmed with spam.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is – If you’re reading a job description and it makes huge promises about money, it’s probably a MLM opportunity. Trust your instincts.

Check the posting date – Avoid applying to positions that are more than 2 weeks old. They have most likely been filled and the employer simply forgot to remove the listing.

Now that you’re familiar with what to do and what to avoid – you want to keep in mind the following success tips during your job seeking process.

Tips for Success

I’ve had friends land jobs from IT specialists and bookkeepers to management consultants and sales executives. The jobs are out there, the key to finding a job through Craigslist like with anything is to remain determined and persistent.craigslist search filters

Follow the tips below and you’ll be ahead of the competition:

Target your search by specific keyword – Craigslist has a great search feature; you can search the site using specific keywords related to your skill set. For instance, if you’re experienced in HTML or WordPress – use those keywords to find jobs with those exact qualifications.

Filter your search results according to your needs – Use the side panel to narrow your search results by part-time, full-time, contracting, or telecommuting.

Apply for positions where you meet 60-80% of the requirements – Don’t shy away if you don’t meet all the requirements. Most employers will hire you if you meet at least the majority of the qualifications.

Differentiate yourself by writing an appealing and eye-catching email – Majority of applicants are lazy and they only submit a resume. You can separate yourself from the competition by writing a brief introduction that explains why you’re the perfect fit for the position (focus on what you can do for the employer).

Apply to 5-10 jobs a day – Craigslist is a numbers game, the more resumes you send, the greater your odds of getting a callback. A good rule of thumb is to expect one callback for every 20 applications you send out.

craigslist gigsCheck the gigs section– The gigs section is separate from the jobs sections – although the gigs section is meant for one time jobs, sometimes employers will mistakenly post full-time positions here.

Do I Recommend Using Craigslist?

Despite the negative things you may hear about Craigslist, it’s still a great tool to use to find a job. The thing to remember is there is a lot of shady stuff out there, so keep in mind the red flags and things to avoid and you should have a much easier time finding real jobs through the service.

I’ve had countless friends and colleagues land jobs by using the service so there’s no reason why you can’t as well. Small businesses and startups are posting positions daily, it’s just a matter of time before you land your next job.

The key is to be persistent! In today’s competitive job environment, you cannot afford to pass up Craigslist as a tool to land your next job.

About the Author Wendy

Wife, Mother, Entrepreneur. I've been making money online for the past 5 years with online marketing and blogging, and I love helping others learn to do the same. You can read my full story here

Leave a Comment:

connor says

I am currently looking for a job and must have signed up to about a dozen websites. I have been receiving loads of promotional emails and have to filter through them daily just to keep on top of them.

I’m glad I found this post because it hadn’t even occured to me that I could use Craigslist to apply for a job and I’m going to use your advice for my next wave of job searches.

Great article and very detailed!

    Wendy says

    Yeah unfortunately the load of promotions comes with the job search, that is why I use a specific email for that purpose. 🙂 Glad I could point you in a new direction – CL is worth checking out at the very least in my opinion.

Veronica says

Greetings Wendy,

Like many, I have used Craigslist many, many times, over the years: I bought a 60″ used TV that was in great condition; became employed by a “real” company, and actually found a great apartment.

What I like about your post, is that I still managed to learn something new about Craigslist:

I never knew that I could search for jobs by putting in keywords; I usually just went straight to the appropriate link (full-time, part-time, etc).

I don’t think I ever noticed “Gigs”!

Your “Tips for Success” are perfect, for anyone using Craigslist for the 1st time, and for anyone, like myself, who may be a bit rusty.

    Wendy says

    Thanks Veronica! I’ve used CL a lot over the years as well. It’s definitely a cool platform to check for all kinds of things!

Ryan says

Hi, Wendy.
I’m glad I came across your review. I’ve always felt suspicious of ads that had one line of description and not much else to go on and now I understand why. Thank goodness for gut feelings, am I right? As a creative, would you recommend Craigslist over sites like Fiverr or UpWork to find appropriate gigs as a freelancer?
Thanks again.

Oliver Chamberlain says


I really LOVE this article, for a lot of reasons:

(1) Over the years, I, myself have used Craigslist extensively to not only search for opportunities, but to place ads myself, and it’s been proven to be a very useful and effective tool for both.

(2) I liked the way you broke down HOW to effectively look through Craigslist and things to avoid. I had spent most of my time in the sales part, which is the most notorious for MLMs and other schemes masking themselves as jobs. You have to vet these things very carefully.

This is about the best tutorial you can ask for to find a great job using Craigslist, and avoid some of the pitfalls of using it ineffectivvely.

    Wendy says

    Glad you liked it Oliver! I am hoping others will find it useful as well!

Trev says

This is a great article on job searching on Craiglist. I like the way you explain the positive and negative aspects. When looking for work I think Craiglist is just as good as a platform to search for a job just as many job websites are.
The popularity of Craiglist means recruiters will look to advertise jobs on this platform, and therefore it is an ideal platform for candidates to search for a job

    Wendy says

    Honestly yeah I think besides the fact you need to actually know what to look for, it can be a great alternative source for finding work. Despite the scams, many legitimate recruiters do use CL!

Sue says

Thank you for the review and pointers for using Craigslist. I have always stayed away from this approach because of the horror stories I have heard.

You advice is very good on what information to give out and things to look for in the ad. I will check it out as well as your #1 recommendation. It is always good to be cautious about anything online because there are so many scammers out there.

    Wendy says

    Yeah you definitely have to watch out. There are too many people looking to make a quick buck, not caring about anyone else or the long term implications of what they are doing. Unfortunately Craigslist is an easy target.

Nenad says

Hi Wendy,

Very good article you have here. I have used Craiglist before. Unfortunately, I was the inexperienced young guy and left my real email address.
I was thinking if I play by the rules, everyone will. Oh, how wrong was I?

Someone almost did me harm by trying to steal my identity. Not to talk about thousands of spam emails in my inbox. I have used that email for more important things, so I end up deleting that address.
Can you imagine the time I lost notifying my contacts about the new email address?

If I could read this post a couple of years ago!
Thanks for the great information!

All the best!

    Wendy says

    Whoa someone tried to steal your identity? That is horrible… the worst that happened to me was spam emails. I made the mistake of using my real email address for many things a long time ago… I know better now lol

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