Looking to find work on Craigslist? This is something that FWU’s own PJ Aitken joked about in his book, The Online Writer’s Companion, but even he conceded that there are benefits to this site if you are a freelancer. And in this article, I’ll show you some of the ways that you can use this site to find work as a freelance writer.
How to Steer Clear of Scam Jobs
- Avoid any job posting that requires you to pay money of any kind in advance.
- Steer clear of vague or general job titles and descriptions.
- Carefully review any income claims that seem too good to be true, they probably are.
- Skip over headlines that guarantee a daily or weekly amount. Pay should be per article, per word or per 100 words.
- Look for information about the company or individual hiring you, including a link to a website and make sure you research the employer as much as possible.
- There are some postings out there that will seem legit. Shortly after you submit your application, you may begin to get spam email asking you to join Freelance Home Writers or Freelance Home Writers Online or some other group. Mark that job posting as a scam and don’t bother following up.
- For more details on common scams review this section on avoiding scams published by Craigslist
Before you can effectively apply for writing jobs, you need to have your resume or online portfolio and writing samples prepared. Having these items ready in advance will make your job search go much more quickly and smoothly. If you write on a variety of topics, create files with similar topics together and name them so you can quickly choose the right file to attach. For example, I have writing samples that are travel and product reviews together. For article writing, I put several articles on the same topic together.
There are several different free or low-cost online services you can use to create a writing portfolio.
I also like GetPocket for collecting all of my published articles together for my own use. It offers keyword tagging which lets me quickly sort similar articles together. I can sort by one specific client or by a similar topic. This lets me quickly see if there is content I’ve written recently that should be added to my sample files before I apply for a specific writing gig.
There are a huge variety of different types of work you can do remotely or online that involves writing. If you don’t have a specialty yet, here are some types of writing related work to consider:
- Article & blog posts
- Script/Screen Writing
- Book Reviews
- Travel Reviews
- Headline writing
- Product Descriptions
- Academic Writing
- Technical Writing
- Website Content
Finding Work on Craigslist
1. Have a plan of action when you begin your search, don’t just browse randomly.
2. Make a list of five or ten major cities. Make sure you check both the “jobs” category and the “gigs” categories for writing jobs.
3. Focus on major cities in each region first such as New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia on the East Coast or San Francisco, Houston, and Las Vegas on the West Coast. The regional focus is really just to help you focus and organize your search. You can search in any cities you choose all over the United States and even in other countries such as Canada, England, etc.
4. Rotate your searches. For example, spend two weeks to one month searching the East coast listings, then two weeks or a month searching Midwest cities, etc. When you find the cities that seem lucrative, keep them on your list through the rest of the year. Remove cities from the schedule that repeatedly don’t have any relevant listings.
5. Click the name of the city in the column on the right side of the Craigslist homepage or by entering the name of the city when you type in the web address. For example, Detroit.craigslist.org instead of just craigslist.org will take you right to the listings for the city of Detroit.
6. Dedicate a specific amount of time each day, preferably in the early morning, to search for leads.
7. Once you choose your major city, click on the writing/editing category under the jobs column. Job listings that come up in the results should all be writing or editing related jobs.
8. Depending on the time you have available, search one city each day or search all cities on your list each day for new listings.
9. To narrow your results you can type in keywords in the bar at the top. This will search just the writing/editing results for your keyword. For example, if you want transcription work type in “transcription” to pull out a list of more relevant jobs.
Other keywords you can try to narrow search results include:
Narrowing your search by keyword may mean that you miss a couple jobs that could be relevant if the employer didn’t include that specific wording, but it prevents you from having to read hundreds of unrelated job titles to find ones that suit your skill set.
10. If you don’t get very many results or to find additional listings, you can check the box on the left-hand side that says “include nearby areas”
11. If you prefer you can also search within a specific number of miles from a zip code of your choice. You can use other filters to search for just contract or just full-time jobs if you choose. I always leave those blank to ensure that I don’t exclude something that might interest me.
12. Have a way to quickly copy and paste the job listings you find that seem like they are legitimate and in your skill set. Make sure you take the time to research the companies and/or individuals before you apply.
13. Set aside time daily or every other day to apply to jobs you found and researched.
14. Write your reply, attach the appropriate samples of your writing or include a link to your profile.
15. Track your submissions, replies, and any follow up in an Excel spreadsheet or another program so that you can quickly and easily see the status of all your submissions.
So, although Craigslist has a reputation for being a hotbed of scammers, you can make money from home and find writing work. To find quality writing jobs, it helps to be informed about how to spot scam postings. To reduce the amount of time you spend on Craigslist, create a plan of action and conduct an organized search of major cities and track your responses and follow-up.
I wouldn’t recommend depending on Craigslist for all your writing work but there are many people who have been able to find quality job leads on Craigslist as part of a comprehensive freelance job search plan. So what are you waiting for? Create your online portfolio or polish that resume and start searching so you can make money from home and find work on Craigslist.