On the hunt for your next job? You could spend all of your time on Craigslist, scouring the listings, night and day. Or you could utilize the below hacks to find your dream position sooner and with less frustration.
1. Get Creative With Keywords
If you've spent any time on Craigslist, you know that keywords are king. However, the right keywords can make or break your job hunt, especially if you're looking for a position that there are hundreds of listings for - say, "executive assistant" or "marketing manager." To narrow down your search results, try typing your skills in the search bar as well. Let's say one of your many skills is speaking Korean fluently. Type "Korean" and see what comes up. In fact, write all your skills in one search attempt: Graphics, writing, HTML, Photoshop, etc. Any results you get will include all of the skills you've listed in the keyword field. It might be the easiest way to find a job that you're perfectly qualified for!
Also, keep in mind that not all hiring managers think alike or use the same verbiage, so be sure to also search for any synonyms for your skills or job titles in the keyword field. Also, HR professionals and hiring managers have been known to misspell "part-time" and "full-time." So try searching variations of these words as well, such as "part time," "full time," "parttime," and "fulltime."
Another trick to try: perhaps like many people, you wouldn't mind working from home. You can also use this keyword search for those options. Usually, they're labeled "telecommute," "work from home," and/or "remote." Make sure to try all of them. They may not even show up if you use the sidebar filters.
2. Check Unexpected Search Categories
The main Jobs keyword search may miss some really good listings, so it's important to also look at the subcategories listed in the Jobs section.
Just as employers may use different keywords to describe the same job, they could also categorize their post in unexpected areas. For example, if you want to write video scripts, the most obvious place to search would be under the writing jobs. But be sure to look under "tv/film/video" and "art/media/design" as well.
Likewise, if the title of a listing doesn't appeal to you, you may still want to click and read the listing, anyway, just in case the poster of the ad did a poor job of describing it in the heading. Don't forget to check sections like "etc", "gigs", and "part-time" too. Often, hiring managers will prefer to test the waters by hiring a part-time employee before jumping into a full commitment. It's often in your interest, too.
3. Get Updates With a Browser Extension
Don't feel like constantly checking Craigslist every half hour? A browser extension will fish for you and send you notices at regular intervals when a new listing appears in one of your saved searches. The notices will pop up at the bottom of your screen with a little chime alert.
Look up "Craiglist browser extension" on Google and choose one of the top ones. Craigslist Helper is a popular one. Click on the link and follow the instructions to saving appropriate searches and enjoy letting the extension do the work. It's like having a digital head-hunter on your team!
4. Spread an RSS Feed "Net"
If you find the constant interruptions from the browser extension to be distracting or annoying, setting up an RSS feed could be an excellent alternative and just as easy.
For every search on Craigslist, you'll find the orange RSS icon at the bottom right of the page. Click on that and follow the instructions to set up a browser bookmark that auto-populates with new listings.
Whenever you feel like it, just go to your selected bookmark and see if anything new has cropped up since you last checked. It's easy enough to set up an RSS feed for as many categories as you like. But when you first start out checking the listings, don't blow off ones from a few weeks ago. You never know when employers have gotten tons of lame applications and yours is the answer to their prayers.
5. Create an Email for Craigslist Replies
You may already know that a professional-sounding email is better bait than a quirky, overly personalized email address like "firstname.lastname@example.org." However, even if you have a more appropriate email on hand, consider setting one up just for your Craigslist job hunt. It eliminates sorting through all your other mail and will minimize the chances of missing a reply from a potential employer.
6. Post Your Resume
Proactive is attractive. So, when you post your resume to Craigslist's "Resumes" section, you improve the odds that an employer will find you! (Be sure to remove any overly personal details like your phone number or home address from your resume before posting and only include an email address as your contact info.)
7. Side-Step Scammers
Craigslist has gotten better at screening out the creepers, but it's still important to be cautious. Get familiar with and internalize this handy little checklist so you can easily detect frauds and scams. In general, watch out for:
- Overly generalized job descriptions. Red flags include listings that say no experience needed, high quality work environment, no location mentioned… (To name a few.)
- Limited openings or instant hiring, i.e. "You'll miss your big chance if you don't sign up immediately!"
- Requiring payment or financial information. No legit job would ask you for money or your personal information like a credit card or social security number.
- Poor grammar: (Youve scene it before,have'nt you)??
- A salary range that seems too good to be true. If you can't believe the benefits and salary offered, keep moving.
- Spammy headlines, such as ***FABULOUS once-in-lifetime job opp for DYNAMO Go-Getter!!!***
- Interviews via instant messaging. They probably do this so you can't identify them or know where they are.
- Don't forget to check out Craigslist's Avoid Scams page.
A Perfect Catch
With a little patience and by applying these hacks to your job hunt, hopefully, that awesome job will surface sooner than later, and you'll be able to reel in the big, juicy career you've been dreaming of. Happy Craigslist fishing!