Finding a job in this economy is tough. And scammers and recruiters are taking full advantage of young job seekers.

If you’ve been using any career hunting website, you know finding a good job is difficult. And finding one that isn’t a recruiter seems impossible. Not all recruiters are bad, but most represent a few jobs and hundreds of applicants. Applying directly with the company tends to be more effective.


Most people have shunned Craigslist for better looking websites such as Monster or CareerBuilder for hopes their jobs are more legit. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. And most of them are filled with recruiters.

Craigslist may seem like a crude option, but its free and simple interface makes it enticing for local companies to post jobs. Sorting through the fake job offers can be frustrating, but it is often worth the payoff.

I’ve put together a list of the best rules to stick to for finding a real job on Craigslist:

1. Avoid any posting with dollar signs ($), question marks (?) or descriptions such as “earn more money” or “LOOK AT THIS POSTING”

Most companies posting real jobs use the normal job title and description format.

2. Unless you are looking for a sales job, avoid any job titles containing the words agent, accounts, rep, consultant, appointment setters, commission, and obviously sales.

Those titles are used to draw in business majors that are interested in fields other than sales.

3. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

This should be your golden motto with everything in life and especially when job hunting. If you are a recent college graduate and didn’t major in nursing or engineering, then your starting salary is probably going to be $35,000 max — which is pretty high in this economy.

If you see a posting that says experienced, consultant, manager, etc. or has a high salary then you are probably barking up the wrong tree. Avoid postings that contain ranges exceeding more than a couple dollars per hour or have huge thousand dollar gaps in salary. For example, if the posting says $35-70k a year, then its probably a sales job based solely on commission and results are not typical.

4. Do your research.

If the company name is listed in the posting or in the reply email, then search their name on Google. Nine times out of 10, you’ll discover that someone has already been scammed by this company and have blogged about it somewhere on the internet. If the company’s website is listed, make sure the website doesn’t scream “we are all about HIRING people, not about selling our products.” If the second link on the website is for “careers” then it is probably a recruiting or sales firm.

5. If you find the perfect job, customize your resume and cover letter.

If you are sending out identical resumes to several different job titles, then you have already generalized too much and the employer is going to skip over your resume.

6. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Make sure you are applying to several jobs, I’ve applied to over 100 in a day and had zero of them e-mail or call me back. E-mail is easy to ignore, if they list a phone number call it, if they list a fax number fax in your resume and cover letter.

7. Use your prior experience to your advantage.

If you’ve worked with computers your whole life, but got a degree in Accounting, then try to find a computer job. Entry-level jobs seem non-existent because experienced individuals are also applying for those same jobs. Most employers would rather have someone with experience and no degree than someone with a degree and no experience. Having both will greatly help you edge out the competition.

There are millions of people trying to find jobs right now, don’t expect to be their most qualified applicant.

 Unfortunately, college students don’t have any experience, so they are often skipped over for more qualified individuals. Don’t let that discourage you, and don’t be unrealistic about your salary expectations.

Be positive, and don’t discount a non-paying job. Most companies would rather hire interns than search for new employees. And those internships can often turn into paid positions, if you stand out while you’re there.