How to find remote work on Craigslist


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Craigslist is one of the oldest, most tried-and-true sites one can use to find remote work. Indeed, the site has been around since 1995 – practically the beginning of time when it comes to the internet.

Many freelancers or remote workers have used the site to kick off their work-from-home careers, or use it as a valuable means of supplementing the stream of work they get from other sites and clients.

This isn’t just hearsay – the statistics back up the claim that Craigslist is a great place to find work. Craigslist itself states that over a million new job postings are created each month (https://www.craigslist.org/about/factsheet). Further, the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Organization noted in a 2014 post  (http://blog.rpoassociation.org/blog/bid/343970/The-Latest-Statistics-on-Hiring-and-Recruiting-Part-1-of-3) that at that time Craigslist advertised three times as many jobs as CareerBuilder, and that a full 13% of software engineers hired in Silicon Valley were identified through Craigslist.

With that said, one might have certain reservations about using Craigslist, and with good reason. For one thing, its search function, and even the site itself, seems a bit antiquated at first glance (the old maxim, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to apply here). Further, the site is notorious for scams and shady deals.

However, when armed with the proper knowledge, these seeming disadvantages and dangers can be overcome, and Craigslist can be used as an effective way to launch or enhance your remote work career. We’ve laid out some action points for you below.

Make the search function work for you

Opening Craigslist and clicking on the “jobs” section may immediately turn you off from using the site as a tool for finding remote work. It seems limited, like you would have to get tremendously lucky to find legitimate and reliable work through the plain text list staring back at you from your computer screen.

Luckily, though, you can both broaden and refine the parameters of your search as appropriate to make it work for you.

First of all, use the sidebar to narrow down your search. By clicking “telecommuting,” the results now listed will all (in theory) be remote work jobs. Make sure to double-check in the body of the ads, though – some listings will say telecommuting is okay “sometimes,” and you’ll want to apply only for those that allow remote work at all times. You can also use the sidebar to select jobs relating to your remote work or freelancing specialty, such as “writing/editing” or “internet engineering.”

Next, you can further refine your search by using keywords in the search bar. First, you can use keywords such as “remote,” “remote work,” “work from home,” “telecommute,” etc. to pull up lists of remote work jobs. Secondly, you can enter keywords related to your remote work or freelancing specialty, such as “freelance writer” or “java.” This is more specific than simply using the options in the sidebar. When using keywords in the search bar in combination with the side bar, you can tighten your search as much as possible to suit your needs.

After tightening your search in terms of job specifics, though, it’s time to cast a wider net in terms of geography. Opening Craigslist will automatically bring you to the list for your local city, but when looking for remote work, why restrict yourself to your geographical location?

Your best bet is to search big cities (think New York, LA, London, Berlin, etc.) for remote work in your specialty. Not only are many large employers based in these cities, but even employers based outside of them looking for remote workers will post here, hoping to reach as many job searchers as possible. 

It can be helpful to do a bit of extra research to find out which of the big cities are hiring at the highest rate for your field. As an example, a Monster post from late last year (https://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/market-intelligence/occupational-reports/developer-overview-october-2016.aspx) listed the top ten cities hiring software engineers. The top five were San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, and Baltimore – some of which may be a bit of a surprise, which shows that it pays (perhaps literally) to take the extra ten minutes to google search for your line of work.

Finally, consider using the above tips in the “gigs” section in addition to the “jobs” section. “Gigs” are one-off jobs rather than long-term work, so they may be appropriate for you if you’re a freelancer looking for an extra buck or some quick work to pad your portfolio. 

Be wary of scams

Being afraid of scams on Craigslist is a legitimate concern, but there are some straightforward steps you can take to head off this possibility.

Essentially, keep an eye out for postings that look like spam. This can be clear either from the title or the ad itself. Avoid postings that are in all caps, have dollar signs in their titles, make outrageous claims about the amount of money you can make ($5000 in just one sitting!), or say that no experience is necessary. Additionally, “data entry” jobs or “business opportunities” are often red flags for scams.

In the end, use common sense when searching. You know what spam looks like in your inbox, and you know when a deal seems too good to be true. The same logic applies to job searching on Craigslist.

While you’re at it, double-check all the info

Don’t limit yourself to just scanning for spam. With scammy jobs eliminated, you need to make sure the remaining jobs are right for you. 

Start by looking at the posting date. If it’s more than a couple of weeks old, there may have already been numerous applicants, or the job may even already have been taken. The more recent the post, the better.

On a related note, in a Lifehacker post, Eric K. Auld performed something he called “The Craigslist Experiment” (http://lifehacker.com/5929987/get-a-job-the-craigslist-experiment). Based on his experiment, he concluded that one should not apply to a Craigslist ad more than a day old due to the huge amount of applications that can be received within a few hours, although this is playing it extremely safe. The whole post is worth a read and provides useful tips for Craigslist job searchers. A key idea, though, is that you should not only apply for the most recent job postings, but do everything you can to differentiate yourself from the potentially huge pool of other applicants – whether that’s using your network to apply for jobs at companies where you know people, gathering recommendations, calling in to follow up on your resume submission, etc. Craigslist provides huge opportunities for job hunters, and they know this – meaning that you may have a lot of competition for each job you apply for. 

Second, check for payment. If the ad says “Compensation: no payment,” it’s probably an internship. If it says “Compensation negotiated after trial period,” they’re probably trying to rope you in for free work. Make sure that the compensation is in the range that you’re looking for.

Lastly, make sure you meet most of the requirements for the position – at least 60%  – and carefully read the application instructions before shooting off your email.

By using all of the above info, you’ll be in great shape to start working remotely through Craigslist.

To make it even easier, though . . .

Use Bitwage to gain an extra advantage

Bitwage’s Jobs and Wages services are designed to make remote work as easy for you as possible. 

Our Job Feed (https://www.bitwage.jobs/feed) connects remote workers to employers and available jobs all around the world, and not only through Craigslist. We scan social media to find all the remote jobs and gigs posted every day. If you’re looking for remote work, why limit yourself to only one site?  With the numerous options listed in your specialty, you won’t have any trouble finding jobs that fit your skillset.

When it comes time to get paid, you can use our invoicing service (https://www.bitwage.com/invoicing) to receive your hard-earned money for your remote work. No employer onboarding is required, and we’ve streamlined the payment process, reducing the time and fees associated with international wire transfers. We also provide competitive exchange rates, payment tracking, and payment options in nearly any currency, including Bitcoin. Altogether, it’s an ideal way for remote workers like you to invoice your clients and get paid quickly and reliably in a manner of your choosing.