Craigslist has long been one of the most popular and relevant listing websites for those seeking jobs. Of the various online resources that job hunters use, Craigslist is unquestionably among the biggest. Unfortunately, the vast popularity of Craigslist makes it an attractive tool for scammers, con artists and dishonest people – even violent criminals. You have to be extremely careful protecting your identity and physical safety on Craigslist. The good news is that you can still use Craigslist cautiously and make your job search effective.
Set up a new email address for your Craigslist job-related correspondence. You can obtain a free web-based email account and start using it immediately. Doing this will prevent strangers from phishing or spamming your personal email account or otherwise gathering information about you. It will help ensure your safety and keep your inbox better organized.
Think carefully about sending your resume to an unknown Craigslist poster. If you do so, be sure to remove your personal contact information, except for your Craigslist email address. Inquire about the job with a cover letter, and then ask for a website or phone number to verify the company’s existence. Politely explain about your safety concerns, if you feel that an explanation is necessary.
Always perform an online search of the poster’s name (if known), company name, email address or any other information, because they may have scammed people elsewhere. Check the company’s basic credentials and online presence. If everything looks legit, then you can proceed with more confidence.
After you know how to protect yourself, search for jobs as you normally would. One of the great things about Craiglist is that you can manipulate a variety of search criteria to help you find an exciting job. You can restrict your search to a specific geographical area. You may also discover opportunities that provide flexible and part-time hours or even telecommuting, if you’re interested in working from home.
If you’re a freelance writer or journalist, never deliver anything written from scratch or send unique samples to potential employers. Instead, send them links to online samples of your articles or send a PDF of published clips. Asking for customized samples is a well-known scam for Internet marketers to try to get free unique content. (They’ll take your articles and – surprise! – you won’t get hired or paid.) Craigslist posters who are legitimate will accept PDFs or links to existing samples.
Know that the majority of Craigslist posters are authentic, trustworthy people. Craigslist frauds are relatively few and far between, most of which are relatively harmless. Some scams may involve giving your information to telemarketers, so never provide your home phone number. If you want to use Craigslist regularly, sign up for a free or low-cost VOIP number through Skype or another telecommunications company. Instant messaging is also a safe way to communicate.
Skip any Craigslist ads that seem too good to be true or those that resurface repeatedly. Many people will not be successful with their first ad posting, but it’s wise to search for other versions of the ad. If in doubt, ask the poster what became of the last job listing and decide if the information sounds reasonable.
Be proactive about your safety whenever you set up an interview or a face-to-face meeting. If you’re meeting someone from Craigslist and you get a bad feeling, it ‘s better just to change your mind and be safe, even if you risk missing an opportunity or sounding impolite. Make up some excuse or look at your cell phone and tell the person that you need to handle an emergency. Your gut instinct is your best defense when using Craigslist to find a job.