How To Use Craigslist to Find Job or Sell Products

How To Use Craigslist One of the beautiful things about Craigslist is the several d...

How To Use Craigslist

One of the beautiful things about Craigslist is the several different ways that it's used. People visiting Craigslist use it in several different ways. Among the popular ways to use Craigslist are marketing and advertising, finding jobs and meeting people.

You've got some stuff to sell, but all those horror stories about the online classified site has you spooked. Here's what you need to know.

Marketing And Advertising

One of several uses that proves valuable on Craigslist is the marketing and advertising of goods and services. People who wish to make a profit by selling their goods and services will often choose Craigslist for a couple of reasons. Craigslist large audience and its affordability are two of the most important reasons.

How To Use Craigslist
To say that the advertising of goods and services is affordable on Craigslist is definitely an understatement. Employment listings along with certain housing listings in a small handful of cities are the only things Craigslist currently charges posting fees for. This means that any marketing and advertising of goods and services are free to post.

The other benefit of advertising using Craigslist is that you don't have to waste your time getting website traffic. Craigslist gets millions and millions of visitors every month, these visitors rack up billions of page views every month. It's plain to see that the potential to reach a huge audience exists on Craigslist.

Meeting People

Among the other ways to use Craigslist is for meeting people. The personals category at Craigslist is specifically designed to make meeting people easy. This is where people can either post or read ads looking for casual friendship or romantic connections, regardless of sexual orientation. The use of the Craigslist personals section is restricted to adults aged 18 and over. There also exists additional restrictions, besides Craigslist's normal usage terms, on posts made under personals. The main one is that people are not allowed to pretend to be somebody else if placing an ad.

The Craigslist discussion forums also gives people the chance to meet other people. They are split up into several different categories, allowing people to focus on the topics that interest them. This means they have a good chance of meeting other people that share the same interests. Keep in mind that as with any discussions on important topics, heated debates can arise. Visitors to the forums will probably find others that share similar views, but there is more than one side to any issue. Often the debate stays civilized but there are times when these discussions devolve to uncivil discourse.

Finding Jobs

A large amount of people use Craigslist when looking for a new job or a career change. The jobs category at Craigslist is extensive. The jobs are sorted into several different categories to make it easy for visitors to find a job that is right for them. The jobs category also has a search function enabling visitors to search using specific words or phrases within the jobs category. There is also the option to look for telecommuting, contract, internship, part-time or non-profit positions.

Resumes can also be posted by job seekers for possible consideration at Craigslist. The resumes category is less organized than other sections. However, you can still get your resume noticed if you use an attention grabbing and descriptive title for it. You can also add appropriate keywords to the body of your resume, this makes it easy for potential employers to find it.

How To Post On Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the most visited FREE classified sites on the net.  Millions of people visit Craigslist every month looking for that "special bargain", their next "love" or their next job.  Posting an ad on Craigslist however, is a completely different matter.  When you first visit Craigslist, the homepage has a menu choice for "post to classifieds" located at the top left portion on the webpage menu however in order to find HELP for posting ads, you have to DIG down into their HELP section which is burried at the bottom of the menu. Posting your advertisement on Craigslist can be accomplished two different ways. The first way is without a Craigslist account.  The second is with a Craigslist account.  Either way you choose to post, your ad is free unless it relates to a job listing or real estate/rental listing in certain major cities.  Below, each way is explained step-by-step.

Posting without a Craigslist account:
I would recommend posting this way if you wish to do a "one-time" post (i.e. have "one" thing you want to sell/advertise and don't plan on posting on a daily basis). 
There are also a good majority of people who post their classified ad to Craigslist but, for these people....

How to Find a Great Employee Using Craigslist

If you’ve ever posted on Craigslist you know: Craigslist can suck. It gets exponentially worse when posting a job position. You will get this kind of response: “I want 2 work for u.” Really? That’s how you respond to a job posting? You will also get dozens of emails from headhunters and contractors trying to sell you their service. In general, it can be a huge waste of time that many small business owners don’t have.

That’s why I was so happy about a month ago when I received the following response to the Craigslist post we put out for our repair technicians:
It’s just a cell phone repair job, dude. Relax.
Craigslist job posting success! You see, a good post has 3 major objectives:
  1. Deter people of low ambition and/or talent.
  2. Filter out solicitors so you don’t even have to bother with them.
  3. And the most important goal: Find a great employee.

I’m not going to stand here and tell you I’ve figured everything out. One thing about running a business is you learn there’s a lot more you don’t know than you do know. That said, I think our strategy for finding good employees using Craigslist has gotten pretty good.


Near the end of every job we post we say that we will only consider people who respond with the subject line: “I want to work for you.” Then I use a few gmail features to sort out responses. First, any email with that subject line skips the inbox and goes straight into a label called Employees. It’s left unread so I can see that we have applicants, but it doesn’t clutter my inbox. I don’t have to deal with the responses at all until I’m ready to look at them.
I also create a second filter which immediately deletes any email that comes in with my Craigslist subject. For example, let’s assume I give my Craigslist job post this title: “iPhone and iPad Repair Technician Position in Chicago.” If the person responding to the post simply hits Craigslist’s “reply” option, the subject of the email will be the subject of my job posting. It will not be “I want to work for you.” When it shows up at my inbox, my gmail filter is smart enough to say, “Hmm… You didn’t follow instructions. Delete.”
By using these filtering techniques we accomplish three things: We don’t have to bother with people who can’t follow direction or are simply applying to every job, we don’t have to bother with bots, and we don’t have to bother with contractors/headhunters because they almost always just hit reply.
Do we potentially miss a good applicant with these filters? Perhaps. But the first time I ever posted for a job on Craigslist, I didn’t use these techniques and got over a 100 responses in about 24 hours. I definitely missed good applicants then because I just didn’t have time to go through all of those emails. The last time I posted on Craigslist we got about 30 responses in a week (including that one at the top). Of those, we found 2 fantastic candidates and ended up hiring them both. In other words, in the case of Craigslist job postings, less is more.

Make Them Work for It

Our Craigslist job post is a little over 500 words in length. That doesn’t make it a novel, but it’s a good full page of reading. In it, we explain who we are, who we’re looking for, what talents we require, and how to go about applying for the job. People just posting for every job they come across do not take the time to read the whole post. They simply respond with their generic cover letter and resume and leave it at that. I’m sorry, but if you don’t really know who we are and can’t express why you’d be a good fit for us, then we’re probably  not interested in hiring you. Of course, they usually don’t use the right subject line, so most of these people get deleted without me even having to look at their responses.
Once they’ve read the entire post, we then require even more work from them. We have a list at the end of every job posting of the 4 things they need to do to apply and have any chance at getting an interview. Yes, this can be a lot of work for someone, but as I’ve mentioned, we’re really only interested in applicants that are really interested in us – not just any job they can get. Here’s the list:
  1. Respond with the subject line: “I want to work for you.”
  2. Include a resume.
  3. Write a single paragraph about why you want to work for us and why you think you’d be good at it.
  4. Write another paragraph telling us something interesting about yourself.

Make Them Write Something Non-Standard

Item #4 is probably the most important part of the initial screening process. One of our hiring goals is not only to find someone very capable of doing the job, but someone that is fun to work with and great with customers. You can tell a decent amount about someone from how they answer that questions.
We had one guy who said it was interesting that his favorite restaurant was Chick-fil-A. That might not sound interesting, but if you had read his entire paragraph you would have been laughing your ass off. It was not only well crafted but it was hilarious.

Let Your Personality Come Through

Here’s a paragraph from our job posting:
We have a simple hiring philosophy: Hire people who work hard, are intelligent, interested in technology, and who we enjoy working with. Who do we like to work with? Someone that’s a good conversationalists, pleasant disposition, friendly, outgoing, well read, and most likely a bit nerdy. Not too nerdy, mind you, but a little bit.
The good applicants almost always find a way to work in some kind of science fiction reference as well as present a tone to their email that is friendly (yet professional) and often has a little bit of humor in it.
To sum all of this up, let me say that you will never hire anyone based solely off of their response to your Craigslist ad. It’s simply a way to find potentially good people to interview. The actual process we use for hiring someone is quite a bit more in-depth than just a Craigslist post – it involves a phone interview, an in-person interview, and a half-day technical interview. Sounds like a lot of work for “just a cell phone repair job,” but to me it’s about a lot more than fixing phones. It’s about building a company that I love and that requires great people.

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