How To Properly Interpret Craigslist Job Ads

I know there are still people out there who attempt to use Craigslist to find freelance writing jobs. I have my own personal opinions on the value of Craigslist for freelance writing gigs, which boil down to a single word. Patience. If you have it, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, forget it. There is about a one in 20 chance you’ll find something worth your time, and when you DO locate a good gig, it usually pays off. But in order to avoid wasting (even more) time sifting through CL ads, I offer you this helpful interpretation of the terms and verbiage often used in these ads:

  • Great exposure = work for free
  • Energetic = can work in spite of hangover
  • College students, stay at home moms, and people looking to make extra money = people who will work for cheap
  • Interns wanted = work for free
  • College graduates = can work in spite of hangover for low pay
  • Assistant = low pay and do non-writing grunt work
  • Customer satisfaction = low pay and non writing grunt work
  • Passionate = long hours and weekends
  • Enthusiastic = long hours, weekends and holidays
  • “Do you love __________” = work for free
  • Send us a sample blog post = we will use your work without paying you
  • Send us your story ideas = we’re too lazy to do our own brainstorming
  • Send us email for job details = we want to send spam to you. Lots.
  • Revenue sharing = write for free
  • Google Ads = write for free
  • New website = no readers, write for insultingly low pay
  • Experienced writers wanted = will take no experience for low pay
  • Highly experienced writers wanted = will take some experience for low pay
  • Startup = no pay
  • Non-Profit = long hours and low (or no) pay
  • Reviewers wanted = write for free and spend too much time exposed to bad “artists”
  • B to B writers wanted = commercial writing experience only
  • Writing contest = pay to write
  • Compensation DOE = won’t make you an offer, will make you name a price and try to lowball you
  • Compensation: Hourly = you can make more somewhere else
  • Subject matter expert wanted = internet researcher wanted
  • Compensation $9 an hour = clueless noob wanted
  • Must have degree = we’re clueless about hiring freelancers
  • B.A. in Journalism required = serious news gig OR clueless about hiring freelancers
  • Detail oriented = expects too much from one person in too short a time
  • Motivated = desperate

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