Using Craigslist to Find a Job

Last Updated Jul 13, 2009 4:14 PM EDT

As my BNET colleague Jessica Stillman documented recently, older managers have been hit hard by the recession. I imagine many laid-off industry vets have heeded the advice of employment experts by seeking opportunities across the web. Inevitably, that means searching Craigslist for relevant jobs as well.

While looking for a bike, an apartment or a job on Craigslist may seem like second-nature to folks in my generation, the web's most prominent community classifieds site probably evokes "To Catch a Predator" to anyone above 45. Sure, the site is filled with sketchy types and seedy listings because often it costs nothing to post an ad. But there is a reason this ugly site helped to turn the $10 billion newspaper classifieds business into a $100 million dollar online operation. The site is brutally efficient and it connects you with the broadest array of local employment options. And in this economy, everyone needs to swallow their pride and consider all opportunities.

If you are new to Craigslist, here are a few pointers from Bizzia to help you avoid job scams:

  • Check for jobs with pay listed so you don't end up applying for places that expect you to work for free. "Negotiable upon experience" is usually a bad sign and TBD or "experience" is never good. Real jobs have real money connected, not "potential."
  • It's a good sign if there's a contact person listed or a website as a reference point. There are, of course, legit jobs where the poster just uses the Craigslist-provided email address. But it's much more common that jobs with real promise have more transparent contact information.
  • Look for listings that give clear directions and descriptions of the job as these are more likely to be legit.
  • If the job listing has been posted multiple times over the past few months, beware. A re-posting once might be ok, since it may mean that they just didn't find a good candidate the first time around. But posting multiple times over a short period usually indicates some kind of scam.
Of course, never give out any personal information like your credit card or social security number to any Craiglist contact. You can help the community out by flagging inappropriate posts. And make sure the interview is in an actual office or public place.

Feel free to share your best and worst Craigslist job hunting experiences in the comments section below.

  • Stefan Deeran

    Stefan Deeran helps environmental nonprofits and green businesses develop and execute their new media campaigns. He also publishes The Exception magazine, a nonpartisan news platform serving his home state of Maine. You can follow him on Twitter @RStefanDeeran or via Facebook.