If you’re looking for a world of opportunities, you can narrow it down to CraigsList.org. As one of the most popular websites in the world today, CraigsList.com serves you the hottest and the latest writing gigs specific to your location. These writing gigs often include ghostwriting content for individuals and copywriting for ad agencies and businesses.
For someone who’s looking for job opportunities, CraigsList is a natural extension of your job search. Sometimes a brief reply to a CraigsList ad could introduce you to a prospective client who is seeking a writer with your specific skills.
(See the screenshots at the end of this article.)
What makes CraigsList so special?
Turn to CraigsList.org for answers, and it provides you with many possible solutions. That’s because, when it comes to job-seeking, the website classifies countless jobs according to specialty and locality. Its numerous help-wanted ads assist you in finding freelance writing jobs right around your area.
Why it can work for you
Because sales and marketing are the driving forces behind building a successful business, CraigsList is frequented by many ad agencies and staffing agencies which partner with Fortune 100 and 500 companies to help them obtain their
sales forecasts. Every now and then, you will see positions for senior copywriters, healthcare writers, technical writers, and many other specialties in writing. To respond to a job ad at CraigsList.org, follow the instructions in the post—usually this involves e-mailing the employer directly via a cloaked CraigsList.org e-mail address with an inquiry of interest, a resume, and 1-2 relevant writing samples.
How you should reply to a job ad
Like many jobboards that allow users to post ads without a site administrator reviewing the job
ad before it goes live, CraigsList is not exempt from job scammers either. CraigsList has become somewhat notorious for its spam emails and bogus “get-rich-quick” scams by scrupulous job scammers. If you’re not cautious with your replies, you could get bombarded with ads and buried in junk email!
Along with most writers, I love using CraigsList—it is simple to use and you can find really incredible job opportunities from reliable employers. In this article, I focus on one of the most important aspects of landing a job via CraigsList, and that is in the reply itself. Just how
should you reply to a CraigsList ad for a freelance writing job? Here are my top 10 tips to help you.
Tip #1: Avoid clicking on links which lead to ads
Since writing involves a wide field that’s devoted to increasing sales and web traffic, it also attracts more than its fair share of scammers, junk mail, and bogus ads. To reach your target without getting waylaid from your destination, avoid clicking directly on active hyperlink(s) within the ad which may take you to an affiliate website selling products.
Tip #2: Don’t skip the part on reading
Replying to a job ad involves more than writing back. Many writers, due to time restraints or pure laziness, skim through the job ad without reading it in full. As long as they find the compensation and what the work entails, they speedily reply back with an email of inquiry. This is a huge mistake. An employer does not hire a writer based on who responds the quickest. The employer makes his decision on how thorough the writer follows the directions in the job ad. Most legitimate job ads will ask the writer to put a
specific word or phrase in the email subject line as proof that the writer has read the entire ad. Thus, go through all the information in the job ad (however little or much) and learn to read between the lines.
Tip #3: Don’t respond if you’re not getting paid at all
From Tips 3 to 6, I will forewarn you on some questionable lines which tell you: Beware!
The top annoyance on this list is the line which similarly states: “We’re just starting out so we’re not paying (or we can’t pay much)….” Immediately, listen
to the voice in your head which utters in your ear, “You will not get paid anything for your time.”
Tip #4: Don’t write for just a byline
Not all freelance writing ads are as blatant as a scam. Some job ads are more subtle in what they pay or don’t pay. For instance, the job poster will console you with this line: “Instead of pay, you’ll be given credit for your work!” This is a similar way of stating that the job poster wants you to work for him for free. If you freelance as a ghostwriter who gets more pay than credit, then
you’d refuse to reply to this ad.
Tip #5: Watch yourself on how you respond to flattery
Instead of talking about payment outright, you will find ads that bubble with warm, personal flattery. The job poster will tempt you with lines like: “Have your work read by millions on the web!” Hopefully, most web SEO writers won’t fall for this trap any longer. Under the right management, SEO and search engine marketing already allow millions of readers to read your work simultaneously.
Tip #6: Always check on the amount of work
Many writers get reeled in by the promising line which states: “Our writers make thousands of dollars a month!” Bogus. Bull. Nonsense. Beware of statements like this because—scam or not—this appears to be a whole lot of work and more than you can handle!
Tip #7: Don’t be intimidated by the ease of the project
Nonchalantly, an ad for an article project could profess that: “It won’t take anyone more than 10-15 minutes to write this short piece….” Yeah, right. Before you fall
for this play, it’s an old bargaining chip for cheaper services.
The more they rub in the ease of the project, the more you should be uneasy. For any writer who is prepared to work, a job is at its easiest and most reassuring when the job poster makes the specs clear and provides details of what he is seeking.
Tip #8: Do the research, if you must!
Even if an ad opening caters to your specialty, you can never be too careful. Go the extra mile and do additional research on the website or employer you’re responding to. Without the
benefit of a background check, you leave yourself vulnerable to all sorts of mischief which proliferate online.
Tip #9: Don’t take chances
If you have your doubts after reading a job ad, then don’t take chances. Since most ads do not reveal the name of the job poster or company name, you’re never quite sure if they do exist. When this is the case, it’s always a risk!
Tip #10: Check CraigsList often
The secret to lowering risk and detecting fraud is to visit the website often. You will
become more familiar with ad formats that employers post repeatedly. This awareness saves you the trouble of replying to ads that go nowhere at all.
How to Know if a Job Ad is Legit
If writers had a way to weed out all job scams and bogus job ads, we wouldn’t have to write a precautionary
sidebar. These tips will help you gauge the legitimacy of a job ad at CraigsList.org or any jobboard. Most legit job ads usually contain verifiable information in the job posting.
(1) Look for the name of the employer or name of the hiring agency. If you find a name, Google it to verify if the individual or company exists.
(2) Look for the name of the employer’s website or website URL, then visit it.
(3) Look for contact information, other than the CraigsList.org cloaked e-mail address. This contact info. may include a direct company e-mail address,
a phone number, or an online application at the company’s website. Free e-mail accounts, such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo, do not count as legitimate e-mail addresses.
(4) Be skeptical if the job ad asks you to submit personal information, such as a photo, social security number, driver’s license, etc. If the job poster posts an anonymous job ad asking for a full resume, decide for yourself if you want to include your full name, street address, and references.
(5) Avoid any job ad that demands you to submit article samples that you have never published or to
submit a unique sample article pertinent to the project. This is usually a scam. The job poster never intends to reply to you. He will use your samples for his own website or he will submit your samples to someone else for pay. The bottom line: you never get paid for what you wrote.
(6) Do not reply to job ads that state payment will be issued to you at the end of the month or within 90 days. A legitimate employer will always pay you upon completion of the work. The best arrangement is 50% payment upfront, and the remainder upon completion.
CraigsList.org – A wonderful resource to find freelance jobs
CraigsList.org is the easiest jobboard to use and navigate. Go to CraigsList.org and choose your state. If available, you can also select your city.
CraigsList lets you filter job results
CraigsList.org has a sub-category called “Writing Jobs,” which you can find under the main category called “Jobs.” Additionally, you can tick “telecommute” and/or “contract” (below the search field) to filter jobs for freelance work.
Be careful of job scams and bogus ads
CraigsList.org allows “anonymous posting” of job ads, meaning the person posting the ad does not have to reveal his/her contact information in the job post. Because CraigsList can’t police all of the idiots in the world who use the service to scam others, you need to be cautious if a job ad sounds “too good to be true.” Make sure you read CraigsList’s warnings at the top of the webpage. This will familiarize yourself about specific scams and how to determine a scam.
As mentioned before, CraigsList allows anonymous posting. Most job posters choose to cloak their direct e-mail address with a custom CraigsList e-mail address for privacy reasons. Of course, freelance writers hate replying to a job ad with no verifiable contact information—which is why you need to caution yourself when you e-mail sensitive contact information to an anonymous job poster. In all fairness, you should know that before any individual or company can post
an ad, CraigsList verifies the person’s account by contacting the person via a valid e-mail address and an automatic phone call or text message.
Screenshots courtesy of CraigsList.org