Craigslist search tips

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Craigslist search tips for finding buried treaure on this massive online site

Craigslist is a website that completely changed the way most people do everything from looking for apartments, hunting for a job or selling an old bike. The site’s navigation is based on general categories, with smaller sub-categories, but finding exactly what you’re looking for can be a challenge. 

This site is a myriad of potential distractions from glass and china antiques to witty singles looking for a date. Use these Craigslist search tips to navigate the slush and irrelevant listings. Job and apartment hunting is draining so why not take a few shortcuts when you can? 

Do enter with caution as you could very well spend hours reading through poetic missed connections instead of replying to job opportunities! Here are a few tips to help you find the gems.

Beginner’s Headache

Expect your eyes to glaze and cross a bit in the beginning. It’s always good to cast as wide of a net as possible when looking through online listings. This means you’ll be digging back by several pages and reading a number of listings.

Craigslist postings do expire so there’s no point in going back by more than a week or so, but that’s still a lot of information to sift through. Keep in mind that the beginning hunt is top heavy, but once you catch up you’ll only have a few listings to check out every time you refresh.

Don’t Clear History

Star, bold and underline these Craigslist search tips. Once you click on a listing, the link turns a different color, which removes redundancy. This allows you to see at a glance what you’ve already clicked on – a huge time saver. Clearing your history basically means you’ll have to start over on your search because you won’t be able to tell what you’ve already looked at.

Save and Respond

Are you apartment hunting in a big city? Then you know there’s an urgency to respond to good listings as soon as they appear because many others are looking, too. Respond to posts of interest right away so you can set up a time to see the place. For jobs or other less urgent listings, save the links, but don't wait too long to bite.


If a hunt for a specific style of furniture, say shabby chic décor, is coming up empty, then make a quick list of other terms sellers may use to describe the style. The terms “antique furnishings” and “French country style” may prove more fruitful. Apply this to colors and materials as well because what’s blue to you may be sea-green, turquoise or navy to a seller.

Broaden Job Targeting

Depending on your location, the site can list a handful or hundreds of jobs in your field every day. Sparse listings are discouraging and somewhat deceptive. While you may go to the Accounting category for an accounting position, a company looking to fill that role may post an accounting job under their industry  or customer service instead. 

Expand your job hunt by first clicking on “Jobs” at the top of the column. From here type in the job you’re looking for in the search bar to pull from all categories. You can also specify contract, part-time or non-profit, but save this for a second step so you don’t miss any opportunities simply because they're mislabeled.

There’s an App

If you have a smart phone, there’s an app that merges all of these Craigslist search tips in the palm of your hand. It’s called Craigslist Ultimate and for $2 you can stay on top of listings posted in your area with your favorite key words. Time is of the essence on quality deals and great jobs, so this will give you a leg up when you’re not at the computer.

Set Up an RSS Feed

If you don’t have a smart phone, keep up with those who do by setting up an RSS feed for your Key searched. Check out LifeHacker's easy tutorial on how to do this.

Make a habit out of the hunt, but cap the time you spend each day. Regardless of what you’re looking for, finding buried treasure on Craigslist takes time and persistence. Happy hunting!

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