If you are applying for jobs on Craigslist, you MUST read this article.  These tips will help you in your job search and hopefully help you understand why you aren’t getting replies.

Earlier this month, I posted an advertisement on CL under the jobs section.  The ad was not posting a vacancy but simply providing tips for job seekers. There was nothing in the ad that suggested it was for a job vacancy.   I made a point of noting that most people wouldn’t read the post to the end.  What I should have also included was that many wouldn’t even read the post at all.

This article is a follow up to the post with the results of the experiment – some of which proved the exact points I noted in the post.  If you are applying for jobs on Craigslist, please read this entire article. Actually, if you are applying for jobs anywhere, this information will be helpful.  You might discover why you aren’t getting any replies to your job applications.


As of this writing (18 days after posting the ad) there have been seven replies. Here is a breakdown of those replies:

#1 Really? A job seeker advising she doesn’t have any issues getting replies but she attached her resume for constructive criticism.  I replied advising that I couldn’t open the attachment and asked her to please send it to my email at ResumeDownloads.net.  I never heard from her again.  Be humble and respectful people!  You never know who is in a position to really help you.  Also, stop with the laziness.  You’re job hunting, you have to do your part and then some.  If she had followed up and sent me her resume, I would have gladly rewarded her effort with a free resume makeover had she needed one.

#2 The Winner!  A job seeker who took the time to read the entire post.  She replied to the post saying thank you for the advice and noted that the information was insightful and humorous.  SHE ACTUALLY READ THE POST!  This is someone I would go out of my way to help. Cheers to you Ms. Thorpe! I hope the additional information I sent you was also helpful in your job search.

#3 My Point Exactly… The third response was simply someone’s resume as an attachment.  This person clearly did not read the advertisement.  She submitted her resume having no idea what she was doing.  Her response made me wonder, how many people are out there applying for jobs in this shameful manner?  She didn’t care to include a cover letter in the body of the email.  The irony of this response is that her actions violated two of the items on the list I shared.

#4 If Only.  The fourth response did include a cover letter in the body of the email.  It was a decent cover letter too.  If only she were applying for a job.  This respondent used a generic cover letter that I imagine she uses for all her submissions.  Again, had she taken the time to fully read the post, she would have seen that it was for a job vacancy and she too was violating some of the submission rules I highlighted in my post.  I’m keeping the identities of these individuals confidential but would like to share a snippet from this submission.

“I would like to be considered for a challenging position within your setting. As indicated on the enclosed resume, my background and capabilities are well suited to your organization’s needs and objectives.”

Can you identify any areas of concern in the above sentences?  The obvious being that she is not applying for a job.  The other concern is; she doesn’t know what my setting is and therefore her capabilities cannot (and are not) well suited for my organization’s needs and objectives.  I will give her credit for the cover letter structure.  Had she been applying for a position, the only advice I would’ve given her would’ve been to tailor the cover letter.  For example, I would change the second part of her last sentence to read: my background and capabilities are well suited to the needs and objectives of ResumeDownloads.net.

#5 Am I Seeing a Pattern? The fifth reply came from a gentleman that sent his resume in the body of the email. He was smart enough to remove his address but did include his phone number.  I don’t think there’s much to say that wasn’t covered above for other job seekers who made similar mistakes. The more I see this, the easier I believe it is for candidates who are on top of their game.  I also wonder if these individuals expect a response or a job interview, moreover to get a job offer.

#6 The Irony of it All. I believe this person broke the most rules.  He submitted his resume for the position (what position?) in the body of the email.  His very first statement was to call him after 5pm, anytime on weekends or email him anytime. I’ll get into this below after I’ve completed his list of violations.  He continued with the Dear Sir or Madam but quickly stumbled by asking for a better email address if his resume doesn’t go through.  Right.  The resume information he provided had way too much information included, i.e., his salary requirements and his desired weekly number of hours to work.  He was kind enough to breakdown his salary requirements by annual and weekly preferences.  Let’s delve into this one a little bit:

He didn’t read the post.  He wasted his time applying for a job that was not advertised or exists.

He provided a makeshift version of his resume instead of an attachment or the full resume in text.

He started off poorly.  Employers are not going to cater to you.  If you provide your phone number and email address in your job submission, you will be contacted at the employer or recruiter’s convenience. AT THEIR CONVENIENCE.  No one owes you anything.  The job market is rough.  Competition is fierce.  If you don’t know or aren’t sure how to apply for jobs, ask someone who does.

If you are applying for an office position that operates Monday – Friday, between the hours or 8 – 6, that is more than likely when they will contact you.  If they call and get your voicemail, they will leave a message.  If they are interested, more than likely they will email you first.  Don’t disqualify yourself or come across inexperienced by telling them when to contact you. Even if done politely, just don’t do it.  You’re supposed to work around them unless otherwise agreed (after you’ve established rapport). If you don’t have a cell phone, a potential employer doesn’t have to know that they’re calling your home phone.  If you do have a cell phone, they won’t expect you to answer a call while at your current place of employment.

Your goal is to get in the door, NOT to require special treatment before they even meet you.  If you get a voice message about a position, return the call during your lunch break or simply step away from your desk and call them back from a private and quiet location.

I could see if he had sent his resume as an attachment and had concerns about the attachment being received.  However, he sent his resume in the body of his email.  If the email doesn’t go through, that’s it.  End of story. No one will know anything about him or his resume.  People can’t respond to a message they didn’t receive.

Finally, he provided too much information.  Again, we will disregard the fact that he wasn’t applying for an actual job.  PLEASE READ THE FULL POST. Only provide the information requested.  If his salary requirements are outside of a position’s range, he wouldn’t get a call back.  Don’t show your cards too quickly.  Perhaps after an impressive interview, you can then negotiate the salary if they like you.  By providing so much information up front, you won’t even be considered.

Understand this, it is EXTREMELY easy for recruiters and employers to pass on your resume, if it is difficult to read, disorganized or messy.  If there is anything about your entire submission that is a pain or an annoyance to get through #forgetaboutit!  Do your due diligence and be careful in your job submissions.

This response was by far the most painful for all the reasons stated above and many more that weren’t mentioned, but the disheartening part was that he had great qualifications.  Qualifications that I’m sure have been overlooked and passed up because of his submission style – or lack thereof.

#7 The Aha Moment!  After reviewing the above respondent’s email, this one was a pleasure.  Short, sweet and to the point. Oh yeah… and he read the post.

“This is excellent advice.  But pay a 2nd or 3rd party to help?”  Of course I replied that I was glad the information was helpful and that he read the post.  I also provided feedback on his inquiry.

This is what it comes down to with your resume.  If you can write a great resume that is working for you, then stick with it.  Make sure you have a second set of eyes review your resume and cover letter.  Sometimes you’ve seen a document so much, that you simply cannot see the errors at that point.

If you know you cannot write a good resume and you need help, then get help.  There are plenty of services online and offline with varying price ranges.  You might even know someone who can help you out for free or at a really good price.  Either way, your goal is to have an impressive resume that will get you an interview.


Are you making these mistakes in your job search?

Below are the tips I shared in my CL post.  Take a look and see if you are breaking any of these rules or damaging your job search with any of these #epicfails.

I used to work as a recruiter and have seen THOUSANDS of resumes. Most of them were a headache to look at, which discouraged me from actually reading them. These applicants were probably very nice individuals; many of them even qualified and could’ve done a great job. Unfortunately their resumes didn’t reflect their strengths and accomplishments. Either the layout, structure or formatting was too messy and made the resume difficult to read.

It’s easy to pass on a resume that’s hard to read. It’s also EXTREMELY easy to select a resume that is clean and well put together. Getting a job takes effort. Most people won’t even read this post to the end.



When You Apply For a Job, You Have Three Goals:

– Write an impressive cover letter/email so your resume will be viewed

– Submit a visually appealing resume that stands out so a recruiter will want to actually read it after a quick glance

– Write an organized and professional resume that will get you an interview


Employers and recruiters can get up to 500 resumes for one job vacancy. If your email, cover letter or resume doesn’t stand out, you won’t get a response.


Here Are Common Mistakes People Make When Applying for Jobs Through Craigslist and Other Job Sites:

– Leaving the subject line blank — enter the job title for which you are applying and location if the company has multiple locations.

– The cover letter, resume or email has several typos or poor grammar.

– Not saying anything in the email or not providing a cover letter — just attaching a resume is lazy.

– Cover letters are not customized — make sure you add the company name, job title and keywords for the job advertised.

– Fail to mention any qualifications specific to the position or the company.

– Not customizing the resume, i.e., objective or summary to match the position advertised. Don’t submit a medical assistant resume for an IT position.

– Complicate sentences by trying to sound overly intelligent.

– Sending additional documents like school transcripts, references or a past job performance review.

– Naming a resume something other than the candidate’s name. Don’t entitle your resume Resume2.docx or newresume.pdf. JohnDoeResume.docx is perfect — using your first and last name.

– Use unprofessional and immature email addresses — stay away from hotmama69@yahoodotcom or 420life@gmaildotcom and the like.

– Apply for the same job more than once with different resumes and email addresses.

– Don’t follow directions — if the job advertisement ask for a Word document, don’t send a PDF or copy and paste your resume in the body of the email.

– Don’t respond promptly if an employer or recruiter makes contact about a position. Jobs go fast and an employer will move on to the next candidate very quickly.



Sending a cover letter and resume are the ultimate first step to applying for a job to get an interview. It is the only opportunity for an employer to make a decision to contact you for a phone or in-person interview. It’s up to you to make sure you stand out in a positive way. I have also applied for jobs enough times to know what works and what does not.

Are you someone who doesn’t know how to apply for jobs on Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder or anywhere else but can’t afford to pay a lot for help?  If you’re not getting far in your job search, here’s some help applying for jobs with a good cover letter and resume that will stand out.


Applying For Jobs on Craigslist Tips

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