Craigslist is widely known as a local venue for selling items, posting local news, providing services, and even seeking jobs. Many people may not realize that the site is also used for job hunters. The site offers a large number of job ads in many areas of work. Both companies and individuals continually use craigslist to post their employment needs. This is why many Job seekers have found a great job hunting resource in craigslist. Not only can jobs be found but there are often employment opportunities that are not found anywhere else. While there are some job ads that are either scams or attempts at obtaining personal information, most ads are legitimate. By using a set of safety measures, anyone can find job opportunities without exposing themselves to undue risks.
Types of Jobs
Many jobs posted on craigslist run the gamut from full time, salaried positions to temporary, contractual jobs. There are some jobs that have a very short window of work, sometimes numbering in the hours. Other jobs may last for a year or more. The types of jobs can widely vary due to job type and area.
Some areas such as Washington, DC have more technology based jobs than say Cumberland, MD. On the other hand, there may be more job ads in the Cumberland, MD section for white water professionals. Many jobs on craigslist are contractual positions or opportunities which can help applicants new to a field to get their proverbial foot in the door.
Fake Job Ads and Scammers
Unfortunately, the large amount of job ads found on craigslist also provides an opportunity for spammers, advertisers, and fraudulent posters to also post ads as well. During my job searches, I have found different types of scams, fake jobs, and even attempts at identity theft. Jobs that are simply too good to be true are often one sure sign of a scam. Job ads that offer $100,000 a year for those without any experience or skills are more than likely to not be real job offers.
The types of fraudulent job ads can vary. Some job ads simply want job seekers to click on a link that is either listed in the ad or sent via email when a job seeker responds to the ad. Clicking on a link can make the posting party money with click through advertising. Other ads have had links that can lead to websites that run scripts to download spyware and viruses. There are also false job sites where applicants are told to fill out their application information including social security numbers which then may be resold. The number of scams can sometimes be too much for job hunters.
1. To help deal with such ads, here are some steps to job hunt safely:
2. Consider using a secondary email address. This can help derail potential spammers.
3. Do not send resumes with the first email contact unless you are sure the job offer is verifiable real.
4. Never fill out information on a website that is not secured and verified as being legitimate.
5. Never send or submit personal information including address, or telephone numbers on email messages to
6. Think twice about automatically sending out resumes or even links to online web portfolios.
7. When answering a job ad, send a cover letter that asks for more information and perhaps for an
official website for the company.
8. For unknown job ads with no verifiable information about the job poster, consider asking for
further information about the job .
9. For job interviews or meetings, always meet at a secure, public place. Again be sure to verify
that the job is real and that the job poster is credible.
These strategies can help lessen the occurrence of being taken advantage of for job seekers. Using caution can be a good tactic, especially with job ads that are too good to be true. Fortunately, the majority of job ads on Craigslist are both real and provide potential employment opportunities. Using Craigslist in conjunct with other job listing sites and avenues can be a very beneficial source of job listings. However, not all real job ads posted on Craigslist are necessarily desirable.
Some job ads posted on craigslist may lack sufficient compensation, may have disputable working conditions, or even be illegal. Some jobs may in fact be “volunteer” opportunities or unpaid internships. Double checking the compensation details can help weed out these offers. Other jobs may pay so little for the service required that they are basically short paying job seekers. Then there are the jobs found in the “Gigs” section of craigslist can reveal grey area or even illegal jobs. Several examples include a job ad by an escort service that needed a driver while another job ad was for a female assistant which appeared to be a solicitation for prostitution. Sometimes transportation or delivery jobs may not be safe opportunities. One job ad wanted someone to deliver fireworks into a state that did not allow such commodities. Common sense can go a long way towards avoid such ads, unless of course these types of jobs appeal to you.
There are also unique job opportunities that are usually not found anywhere other than by word of mouth. Many individuals post ads for all types of jobs or “gigs” for everything from mowing a lawn to hauling items from their house. Some ads are for movers while others may ask for gardeners. Sometimes people ask for others to install computer systems or appliances. These types of jobs can be tricky but often for real. Asking for third party references and meeting in a safe location can be two good steps in order to be safe with these types of ads. Be sure to have a clear arrangement about payment and have a written contract. Relying on word of mouth agreements for payment can be difficult to enforce.
The Resume Section
Another area for job seekers on craigslist is their resume ad section. Many people post their resumes or backgrounds on craigslist. While this can be one way to obtain exposure, it can also set people up to have their personal information misused. When posting a resume on craigslist, always consider leaving out sensitive information such as your address or phone number. It is also important to remember that resumes posted on the site may also loose specific formatting and may require polishing up before officially posting due to formatting errors.
Become a Service Provider
Beyond answering job ads and posting resumes, job seekers can also become service providers on craigslist. Many people post ads in the “Services” section of the site. With such ads they can offer services for specified rates of payment. This is one area that craigslist excels at. Job seekers that provide services can be abundantly found on the site for every type of service. Services such as computer training, babysitting, house repair, yard work, writing, moving, and even acting can be found on craigslist. This type of posting allows job seekers that may be having difficulties in finding jobs to take a proactive approach to their job search.
The huge variety of job ads, opportunities, and potential markets for skills make craigslist a great resource for any job hunter. However, caution should be used for anyone using the site. Replying to job ads should be done with safety in mind. Avoiding sending sensitive information to unknown parties is crucial in conducting safe job searches on the site. Utilizing the different job posting areas including the “Gigs” and “Services” sections can help many people find job opportunities either as prospective employees or as service providers selling their services. The uniqueness of craigslist and the localized listings of job ads make the site good part of any job hunting strategy.