As part of my daily routine to earn a steady income as a full-time freelance writer, I search CraigsList.org each day to find well-paying freelance writing jobs in the U.S. and Canada.
Because I live in a small town in New Jersey and freelance from home, I not only search the entire state of New Jersey at CraigsList, but search all states in the U.S. (including Canada) to find U.S.-based employers who are hiring freelance writers for a one-time project or for on-going freelance work.
If you reside elsewhere, such as in Europe or the Middle East, you may not find CraigsList useful for finding freelance work. In fact, you might be better off joining a job “bidding” site like Elance.com or Freelancer.com to bid on freelance work.
My preference is to search for home-based freelance writing jobs that allow me to work and communicate with clients via the Internet. Some writers search for writing jobs that allow them to work remotely, within driving distance from the client, or to work on-site as a contractor for a specified period. You can find each type of these jobs at CraigsList.org. What do you prefer?
Most freelance writers do what I do: to find writing projects from clients who reside in any state of their country and who allow them to work from home.
I will show you how to search for all freelance writing jobs at CraigsList.org using two simple search processes. For each search process, I also give you a URL that will perform the search for you.
CraigsList.org does not offer a site-wide search tool to search all of its job ads in every state at one time. Because CraigsList’s purpose is to offer local classifieds to local people, it only provides a local search tool for searching a single state, city or region in one category at one time. (Read my other article to learn how to find local freelance writing jobs at CraigsList).
CraigsList’s local search tool appears on every local classifieds page; it looks like this:
Searching All of CraigsList in One Click
As a writer searching CraigsList for freelance jobs posted by employers in every state in the U.S. and Canada, you can see how this is a problem. It’s too tedious and time-consuming to visit each classifieds section for each state and to re-enter keywords to find freelance jobs.
A much easier method is to use Google’s Advanced Search Tool—this will let us search all of CraigsList’s job categories in every state. You just need to know a few keywords and a few simple techniques to fine-tune the search. What would normally take you hours now takes you seconds.
I will show you two important search processes to find all freelance writing jobs at CraigsList.
Let me show you the first search process.
Search Process # 1: Searching CraigsList for All Telecommute Writing Jobs
Let’s go to Google’s Advanced Search.
Here is the full URL: https://www.google.com/advanced_search
This is what the Advanced Search screen looks like. Your screen should look similar to this screenshot:
As you can see, Google’s Advanced Search offers search fields to fine-tune our search. I will now show you which search fields to use and what keywords to use.
I have placed a “red star” next to the search fields that we need to use. Leave the blank search fields blank.
1) This Exact Word or Phrase: type in Telecommuting is ok in this search field. CraigsList affixes this exact phrase to every job ad in which the employer desires an individual who can telecommute. Telecommute means freelancing. Both words are interchangeable and mean the same thing. Here we are telling Google to find all job ads with this phrase. Common sense tells us that Google will find all job ads that desire a freelancer, and not a staff employee.
2) Any of These Words: In this search field you can define the type of writing jobs that interest you. For example, if you are seeking only blogging jobs, type in “blogging” and/or “blogger.” If you are seeking copywriting jobs, type in “copywriting” and/or “copywriter.” I usually fill in this search field with common types of writing jobs.
Here are the keywords I use to find an assortment of writing jobs:
3) None of These Words: Here I include words or phrases that I do not want to appear in a job ad. These words tell Google to exclude any job ad that has these keywords, This will save you time from perusing job ads in which the employer is looking for interns (non-paying), full-time workers, or working in-house only.
The keywords/phrases that I usually add are:
Now we will complete the remaining search options (the bottom half of the screen). Your screen should look similar to this:
4) Last Update: If you tick this, Google will display options to search within a specific timeframe, such as the past 24 hours, past week, past month, or anytime. Because I search CraigsList each day, I choose “24 hours.” This tells Google to show new job ads posted within the last 24 hours only.
5) Site or Domain: Type in “CraigsList.org“—this is the most important search field because it tells Google to search only CraigsList.org. If you leave this blank, then Google searches the entire Internet, thus making your search totally useless.
Now hit the “Advanced Search” button.
Here is a partial screenshot of Google’s results…
As you can see, Google has searched and organized all telecommute writing jobs from different states and job categories within our specific timeframe.
I have saved this search process as a URL for you: http://bit.ly/1p9dWDa
You can copy and paste this URL into your search browser and it will perform this search for you without you having to go through the above steps.
Search Process # 2: Searching CraigsList for All Freelance Writing Jobs
Not all employers remember to indicate their preference of work (i.e. freelance, telecommute, remote, full-time, part-time, etc.) when they post their ads. Because employers tend to forget to select “telecommuting is okay” in their job ads,I repeat my search process using the keyword “freelance.”
Go back to Google’s Advanced Search screen. We will need to tweak our search.
1) All These Words: We left this search field blank before, but now we must add the keyword “freelance”–as in freelance jobs.
You will also notice we now leave the next field blank, removing the phrase “Telecommuting is okay.”
2) Any of These Words: We need to add two phrases to this search field. The first phrase (enclosed in quotes) is “writing/editing jobs” and the second phrase (enclosed in quotes) “writing gigs”–these two phrases tell Google to search only CraigsList’s two job sub-categories where employers post writing jobs.
3) None of These Words: You do not need to change this field. If you need to re-enter the appropriate keywords, then refer to the beginning of this Hub.
We do not need to tweak anything else. The remaining search options should look like this:
Let’s hit the “Advanced Search” button again.
We have programmed Google to search for all freelance writing jobs in two main writing categories in every state at CraigsList.org. Here is a partial screenshot of my results:
As you can see, the main keyword “freelance” appears in all relevant job ads pulled from CraigsList’s two sub-categories, “Writing and Editing Jobs” and “Writing Gigs.”
I have saved this search process as a URL: http://bit.ly/UcMXux
You can copy and paste this URL into your web browser and it will perform this second search process for you.
Fine-Tune Your Own Advanced Search
I recommend you play around with Google’s Advanced Search to fine-tune your search results. What may work for me may be somewhat irrelevant to you.
Once you have fine-tuned your search results, make sure you bookmark the URL or create a shortcut from your computer’s desktop; this way, all you need to do is click on the URL (without having to re-enter the same information into Google’s Advanced Search) to view updated search results.