Using Craigslist in Your Job Search

Job listings may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Craigslist.  Housing, items for sale, or personals might come to mind instead.  But Craigslist can be a rich source of jobs in a variety of fields.  This post discusses what to look for and how to find it on Craigslist.


If you are looking for a senior management position, or one with a large corporation, Craigslist is probably not the place for you to look.  However, for fields such as food service, sales, office, technology, security, and many others, small to mid-size firms may choose Craigslist to post jobs due to cost, ease of use, and access to job seekers who may not be using job boards such as Indeed.


For most job seekers, it is worth checking your local Craigslist site at least once to see if anything of interest comes up.  Here’s how to do so:


1)     Open your local Craigslist site at <cityname> using your mobile device or desktop browser.  For example, the Chicago area site is  There may be other Craigslist sites of interest depending on the size of the town or city you live in.  Around Chicago, there are sites for Rockford and for Racine (covering Racine, Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie).  Start with the one closest to you.

2)     On the main Craigslist page, you will see a number of categories.  One of these will be “Jobs”.  Under that will be a number of subcategories.  You can either click on the Jobs heading, or on one of the subheadings if it directly corresponds to what you’re looking for.  Either way, you can then browse the jobs, or use a keyword search to zero in on what you’re looking for.  Jobs are listed with the newest postings first.  You may find a lot of duplicates; posters do this to keep their postings near the top of the list.

3)     If you find a listing of interest, be aware that the amount of information available varies.  Ideally, the company, location and contact information will be identified in the post.  Sometimes the company may be named, but only a general map view is provided.  If you have this information available, follow the instructions in the post to respond to the ad.

4)     Some job listings are “blind” – that is, they describe the job, not the company or location, and do not give full contact information.  In this case, click the “Reply” box in the upper left hand corner of the listing.  If there is a person’s name and phone number available, you can call to get more information.  Sometimes all that is available is a return email address using a Craigslist domain.  In this case, it is not recommended that you respond with full resume and contact information.  You may choose to respond with a name and email address, saying you are interested and would like to know more.  You may or may not hear back.

5)     There are several different views of information available on Craigslist.  If you find a lot of listings in your field of interest, or if you are just looking for any listings near you, you may find the Map view very useful.  Find the drop down box that says “List”, click the arrow, and select “Map”.  You will then see a map of your region.  It will display circles with numbers in them.  The number indicates how many job listings are represented by that circle.  As you zoom in, there may be more circles with fewer jobs with each.  Click on a circle, and it will either split into more circles, or show you the job listings associated with that location.  You can click on a job in that list to get to the specific listing. One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes posters will provide Craigslist only with the town their job is in, not a specific location.  Craigslist will generally list these jobs in a circle near the center of that town (a “centroid”).

6)     Here are some other dos and don’ts for using Craigslist for job search:

a.      DO NOT select a subregion within your region.  You may miss important listings.

b.     DO use the filters available on the left hand side of the screen allowing you to refine search results.

c.      DO use a tablet, notebook or desktop if you have one available for map based searches.  You can do them on phones too, but it is tougher with the limited screen size.

d.     DO NOT assume that a blind ad actually represents a real job.  It may be a recruiter or someone else gathering resumes to shop around.  In fact, the better the job in the blind ad sounds, the more cautious you ought to be.

e.      DO check neighboring Craigslist sites if you are able to travel that far, live on the periphery of your region, or are amenable to moving.