I know lots of writers, particularly those with experience skip the listings on Craigslist. They figure there’s just too many low-paying gigs to sort through before finding the gold.
I don’t agree. I’ve found good writing gigs through the listings there. Perhaps more importantly over the long haul is I’ve made some great contacts.
Here’s how I do it:
I set aside no more than an hour. With a list like the one I provide it’s really easy to run through all the entries in a hurry. I doubt I’ve ever spend more than an hour at it.
I’m hugely selective. Since I know what kind of writing I’m looking to provide, ghostwriting books, editing books, certain kinds of press releases and maybe an article series, that’s what I look for. I skip the rest. I only go back two or three days at most because I know I’m not the only one searching.
I scan the headlines. A quick scan of the headlines usually reveals how few ads I have to actually read. I rarely allow myself to get sucked into something I don’t understand or doesn’t fit my criteria.
I scan the ad. A quick scan of an ad usually reveals it’s not what I want.
I only read a few closely. In a very real way my goal is to eliminate ads. Those that look possible I actually will read carefully.
I email the link to myself. Instead of responding to ads I like, I actually email the link to myself. I do this for a couple of reasons. When I go back and read them that acts as yet another screening, and I often decide the gig in question isn’t for me. Also, writing ads on craigslist often get pulled rather quickly – when I look for the second time if it’s gone I’ve saved myself some additional time.
I know my credits and resume will stand out if the prospective employer takes time to look at them. Which means if I’ve got any ads left I take some serious time applying. That may include checking any links I can find, double checking the list of credits I send out, even, occasionally creating a new resume or even a page at annewayman.com. I haven’t actually kept track but I get a response of some sort from about half of the applications I send to craigslist offerings.
Locally, I’m less selective. I actually check the San Diego Craigslist almost daily. It’s one way I can keep track of what’s going on in the community. I often know, for example, which company is looking for tech writers – they often will hire contractors for other kinds of writing as well. If I spot a particularly interesting ad I may just contact them with a nice-to-meet-you email.
I don’t know how many writing gigs I’ve gotten from craigslist over the years. My most spectacular was probably back in the day when I became one of Match.com’s early employees in San Francisco. It’s amazing what shows up on the site – you may want to take a fresh look at craigslist.
What do you think of craigslist?