Before jobs became something that only a magical, dying space alien could bestow upon you if he thought you had enough willpower, they were plentiful. We had enough jobs in the world that you could wake your eight-year-old up at 5 AM to go work three shifts of them. Now, statistically, no one has any. And those who want one have to face online minefields like Craigslist in order to find them.
If you’re unaware of what Craigslist is, it’s a website that follows the economical theorem of supply-and-possible-demand. People post things that they have to give, often in a poorly worded, almost incomprehensible fashion, and you decide if you’d like to risk sending them an email. This goes for jobs, items and lonely, desperate sex.
Surprisingly, using Craigslist to find work can be an extremely frustrating process. Below, I’ve listed five reasons for this.
1. Job Titles That Don’t Mean Anything
95% of jobs that you’ll find on Craigslist suck. But you wouldn’t know that from the way that Craigslist has names some of them, done in ways that are either misleading or completely baffling. There is no better example of this than with the “marketing/pr/ad” page for the city you’re hoping to find employment in.
The first two jobs that appear way too frequently here are “Marketing Associate” and “Marketing Representative.” Both of these are usually fundamentally bullshit because these positions don’t really mean anything. When you think “Marketing Representative”, you imagine yourself, in a suit, talking to a boardroom with a pointer and a graph in front of you. “Yes, and with this ad campaign, our profits went up a billion percent this quarter. Haha, yes, I would like more whiskey, Mr. Draper.” You high five your cunning New York team and head back thinking This job market is awful. Thankfully, I represent marketing, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be. Cut to your job shouting about DirecTV to people in Best Buy, and you’ll wonder why they didn’t just list the job as “Sell Odd Satellite Packages To People Who Never Fucking Want It.”
And the title “Marketing Associate” simply means that there is more than one person in the company. We hear “associate” and automatically think of business, because “associate” is a very business-ey sounding word. It sounds official. You’re a Marketing Associate. People on Craigslist write job titles like their trying to exaggerate a lame resume.
But they said you were applying for “Administrative Assistant.” That means that…you have a boss? If you see something as meaningless as this, and then read the description and it sounds legitimate, it might actually be worth pursuing. But usually, when you’re looking into being hired for “Customer Manager”, you usually find that the job ad is full of…
2. Vague, Useless Phrasing
As explained in the last point, people on Craigslist will attempt to make a job sound like whatever they want it to sound like, using words that are associated with status. They’ll do the same thing with how they word the perks that you’ll be getting from choosing to ask them for information. The amazing perks that are sure to turn your career around and absolutely not have any hidden definition whatsoever.
A very common phrase you’ll hear on Craigslist is “LIMITLESS POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH.” Breaking that down, first we see “LIMITLESS.” Limitless is a word that we’d use to describe something infinite, like the universe. Money as big as the universe?!? I don’t know how much that is but it sounds great because eventually, if the “potential for growth” is “limitless”, you’ll have all the money ever, with room left over to get all the money that you don’t have left.
“Potential” is something that we all like to hear because, hey, we like to think that we can better ourselves, but on Craigslist, “potential” is usually a synonym for “You’re starting off with shit.” “Limitless potential” means that one day, you’ll be President Of Everything Ever And Then Some.
“For” is for. It’s a common preposition.
“Growth.” What is growth? Are you gonna be making more money? Will you have a higher position in the company? You’ll be growing, but towards what? It doesn’t matter. It’s “growth.” You’re moving “up” and “expanding.”
“Limitless Potential For Growth” implies that there’s a possibility that you won’t go anywhere. Will you reach that potential? Who knows. You could go into some intangible stratosphere of success. Or, you could work for a miserable amount of commission for each sale that you make, which is usually what “Limitless Potential For Growth” entails.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a pretty literal person, but unless actual figures are listed that I can use as backing for an argument for if I get underpaid, I usually stay away from any job that tries to tell me that I’m special. Because, no matter how much all the cash I’ll be making forever, it’s no use if I can’t find the place I’m supposed to work at.
3. The Location Is Usually Wrong
If you’re invited to an interview for a job, it usually just ends up being a scavenger hunt with one objective: find the office. It doesn’t help that, unless the location of the place you’ll be working at is specifically addressed, it really could be anywhere.
I live in Asheville, NC, a city that people promoting jobs on Craigslist like to use interchangeably with surrounding towns like Weaverville, Swannanoa, Black Mountain, Arden and Hendersonville. If you apply for a job in Asheville and you’re not told exactly where it is, you’re probably going to find yourself driving forty minutes, and having to re-map your location because, surprise, you’re not actually in the Asheville city limits anymore.
It’s not hard to list something as being in the town that it’s geographically in. However, the job becomes way more appealing if you place it in a popular city, rather than the smaller, less reputable ones that border it. (No disrespect to Weaverville. I’ve walked outside your Big Lots and I’ve been to that one Chinese place. It was pretty good. Arden, you’re still awful.)
4. There Is Nearly No Structure
In the early years of elementary school, we learned how to categorize things properly. This included keeping frogs out of the same box as rabbits and catching ourselves when we see repetitions, because we don’t want to look like morons. Job posters on Craigslist were too busy earning trillions and trillions of mega dollars to bother with things like this. When they post jobs, they do it repeatedly, and when they describe what’s required for them, they do so indiscriminately and messily. Why use paragraphs to make things easier to understand, when you can just splatter it out on the page and hope that people somehow manage to decipher where the HTML knowledge requirement is?
On any Craigslist search, you’ll read multiple ads for the same job, or different jobs that used the same exact wording over and over again. It could be extremely easy, but since, as mentioned above, every job uses the same vague title and list of perks, you’ll end up applying for the same thing twice, or, if you’re confused about something, end up emailing the company, only to get no response.
I understand that writing a distinct advertisement for someone’s possible career is tough. You want to let the reader know that you’ll be the winner of earth AND swimming in a giant pile of gold company coins, but that just requires so much extra effort. So, instead of writing or discovering how to copy/paste, they just upload an image that people are too smart to click on.
5. An Abundance Of Fake Ads (Or Ads That Are Disguised As Fakes)
We’ve been conditioned by the internet itself to not trust certain advertisements. If we see EDNA MAKES $7,389 A WEEK WORKING FROM HOME FLASH FLASH CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW!!!, well, lucky you, Edna, you fake, enterprising, http://www.person. It’s a mix of simplicity and obvious lying that drives someone away from things like this. It’s the modern, online equivalent of that greedy Hollywood producer who finds the young, dream-eyed farm girl and promises to “Make her a star, baby!”
There’s nothing worse than opening a promising sounding job on Craigslist, usually something valid-sounding like “Business Specialist Assistant” and seeing a giant picture of sorts at the top, a jpeg of the company’s terrible looking logo and some stock photo of four people, in the appropriate gender/race ratio, smiling at you and wearing their business casual. “Hey, you can wear this blue button-up shirt with us and sit at this table with our folders while we discuss coffee and folders.”
It could be real. It honestly could. But thanks to the abundance of IN 2 WEEKS, AARON MADE A BILLION DOLLARS FLIPPING HOUSES, AND SO CAN YOU!, we mistrust anything that has a corny picture on it. People see trailers for movies about talking dogs and think Only idiots and children would go watch that. It’s the same with Craigslist ads. Except you don’t even get the pleasure of seeing the talking dog.
For more things that end up being terrible, look at 4 Team Building Games (To Confuse And Anger Children)