How to Find and Apply for Jobs on Craigslist

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Craigslist is a popular site for classified ads with plenty of job listings. However, employers can post jobs anonymously, so you don't always know who is doing the hiring. That's one of the reasons that Craigslist is as well known for scams as it is for legitimate job listings. It can be tough to tell which jobs are real and which are scams.

You can find good jobs on Craigslist, but you do need to be careful. Review these tips for finding and applying for jobs and for how to avoid scams

Job Search on Craigslist

The easiest way to find jobs on Craigslist is to go to the city where you are interested in looking for jobs. You'll see a directory of sites on the right side of the original Craigslist page, or you can go directly to the list of Craigslist Cities.

Not all cities have a dedicated website, so if you don't see your city, use the state site if listed as a whole state or an appropriate section of the state like "Southern Illinois." Once you've reached the location you want, either click on the type of job from the categories list on the right side of the page, or click on "Jobs" to run a keyword search.

You can input skills you would like to use, certifications, the software you know, or specific job titles in the search box to narrow your listings.

You can search by keyword, job category, or both.

Options for Applying for a Job

Once you identify a listing of interest, you can apply by clicking on the Reply button above the listing. You can then select an email option to apply:

Use Your Email Client

Options include Use Default Email, which opens a new email message in your email client with the "To" and "Subject" lines filled in. There will be a link to the job posting included as well.

Reply via Webmail

Another option is to Reply Using Webmail.

Click on one of the options to send a message from your webmail account:

  • Gmail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • Hotmail, Outlook, or Live Mail
  • AOL Mail

Send a New Email Message

Or you can send an email message from scratch. Select Copy and paste into your email, and paste the email address listed (for example, mbkbz-3721227449@job.craigslist.org) into the "To" section of your email program.

Be sure to fill in the "Subject" of the message, so the company knows which position you are applying for.

Sending a Cover Letter and Resume

You can use your email message as a cover letter and attach your resume to the message unless given other instructions like applying online at the employer site.

How to Post a Resume

You might also consider posting your resume on Craigslist, since employers (and others) can search through resumes to identify candidates. However, it's also essential to be cautious to avoid getting scammed. Don't include any identifying contact information other than an email, preferably not your main account.

Consider setting up a separate email account to use just for job searching.

Here's what you will need to do to post your resume:

  • Click on your preferred location from the main page (on the upper left-hand side of the page)
  • Click on the link to create a posting; select the posting option resume/job wanted.
  • On the next screen, you will need to select I am an individual seeking employment.
  • When you press continue, you will need to list a preferred title, location, and description of your target job and some other details.
  • When you press continue, you will see a link to "add images."
  • You can upload your resume by clicking on that button and selecting a document from your files.

Watch Out for Scams

There are legitimate jobs on Craigslist. However, job seekers need to exercise caution when using the site to apply for jobs.

To use the site safely, Craigslist suggests avoiding offers that involve shipping, not wiring money, never giving out your financial information, and ignoring messages about Craigslist voicemails.

When the Job Sounds to Good to Be True

Avoid any positions that seem too good to be true. You should also be very cautious about following up on ads that do not include the name of a valid employer. With these job postings, inquire about the company name before arranging any meeting.

Be Careful About Interviewing

Never meet with an employer at a private residence or questionable location out of public view. Legitimate employers will generally be willing to meet with you at their well-marked corporate location. Ask for a business phone number.

In some cases, a legitimate employer may not have an office in your location but will be willing to meet with you at a coffee shop, public library, or at another public place.

Be very cautious in those cases as well, and consider taking a friend along with you until you feel safe. It is often a good idea for candidates to ask about arranging a phone or Skype interview as a possible first interview.

In many cases, it is better to rely on other job listing sites that are more transparent and less impacted by scammers.

Article Sources

  1. New York State Department of Labor. "Job Scams." Accessed Jan. 5, 2020.

  2. Craigslist. "Avoiding Scams." Accessed Jan. 5, 2020.