I work for a company called Squarefoot Tradesmen. We are located here in the WNY area and have been in business for almost 20 years. We are essentially headhunters for all things construction and skilled trades related. We find (Our goal is) permanent placement for entry-level folks all the way up to Project Managers. Along with that we also help our companies find administrative folks when their need arises.
Why do I tell you all of this? Not as a cheap marketing ploy for Squarefoot but because I spend a lot of time – week in, week out – trolling Craigslist and Monster looking for candidates to fill our positions. If you’ve recently posted on Craigslist trying to find a job, chances are I’ve come across your listing. I see so many examples of “what to do” “what not to do” and with my boss’s blessing, I’d like to share some tips with you.
If you know anything about construction then I don’t have to tell you that there is a shortage of skilled trades-folk and that shortage is growing with the retirement of the “baby-boomers”. Hence my eternal hunt for good people. We also encounter a ton of people who’ve always wanted to work in construction but have no experience and aren’t sure how to make that transition. Helping those folks is one of the reasons I love my job!
I’ve compiled a list below of do’s and don’ts from ads I’ve read right here on this very page
Do: Give information – not just any information but the right information
Not to sound crass or cruel – but in the grand scheme of life, I don’t care why you need money.
In the end, we all need money and we all encounter problems in life. Your motivation for wanting to work does not (and I say this from experience) guarantee success. We often see people who are desperate to work because they have a child on the way. Sounds like great motivation for working hard and giving it your all but at the end of the day, as many of them fail as will succeed, maybe more.
Let me give you a specific example:
“21-year-old male needs work
Have a 3-month-old baby and times are gettin hard. I am experienced in various duties. My availability is open anytime any day. Reply with email or phone. Let’s make this money”
If I was going to critique this ad my question would be what exactly does “various duties” mean? Spend more time expanding on that and less time on the sob-story. Like I said, we all have one. In fact, I didn’t respond to this ad because there were no details about previous work experience. I’m not trying to waste my time or my boss’. I’m looking for transferable skills. You could have zero experience in construction but I’ll still reach out to you if I can see potential. If I can see that perhaps you have a mechanical aptitude, I can think of 5 different career paths off the top of my head for someone like you.
Don’t: Limit your options from the start.
I recently saw an enticing yet brief ad. I was excited to contact the person until I got to the very last line:
“No temp agencies.”
Look, I can appreciate you not wanting your time wasted. And some temp agencies are a royal pain in the ass and there’s very little return for you. Technically, we are NOT a temp agency but we are a staffing agency and we are often lumped in with “all those other temp agencies”. I did not contact the above person because, again, I don’t have time to waste any more than you do. I want to talk to people who want to hear from me. In reality, if you’ve taken to the scam-riddled world of Craigslist to advertise yourself you should consider hearing out someone like me. The worst that’s going to happen is I will send you an email (or call if your number is listed) letting you know who I am, where I work and what we do. I’ll also send you a link to our website so you can see that we are not a scam.
For every 20 responses to your ad, probably 19 of them are scam responses. I might be that 1 legitimate response you get. Do you want to limit yourself even further by closing the door in my face without knowing what I have to offer?
Do: Let your personality shine through your ad!
I read a great ad on Craigslist last week in which the guy already had a full-time day job, he was just looking to make extra money for Christmas picking up side projects. His ad was so cleverly written that I HAD to email him just to tell him how much I appreciated his efforts. And as it turns out, he’s got some skills in woodworking. We may be having a conversation in the future about carpentry work.
Don’t: Let it shine through to the point that you lose your professionalism
I saw a stellar ad written by a woman with a degree. She talked about her skills and her passions. She included what a reasonable salary expectation looks like to her. And at the very end, she writes: Legit Post.
I knew what she was driving at – she didn’t want scam people contacting her. A lot of people make those statements at the end of their ads and it’s hard to blame them. I doubt it stops scammers from contacting but I do understand the sentiment.
Normally this wouldn’t have stopped ME from contacting her. The only reason I didn’t was due to her skills being outside of the world I deal in. However, I am not everyone else. Remember I make a lot of referrals to companies on behalf of our clients – I also get feedback from those company owners when we discuss the person I’ve submitted. The reality is that most of these company owners would have been instantly turned off by that last line of hers.
- Personally, I love when people copy and paste their entire resumes into their ad. And, while I don’t need to see a full work history to determine if someone’s worth reaching out to, it definitely helps. Like I mentioned before, we look for transferable skills. So when I have a good chunk of the facts I can often visualize a leap in your next career move.
- Something I roll my eyes at EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I see it…here’s a great example: I’m looking for a job. Preferably in the $15-$18/hr Range. My contact is 716-XXX-XXXX. Message back, text or call.”
- If you’re going to put salary expectations then you need to also list at least some of what you’re bringing to the table. You will never get a response from me (or anyone worth talking to) when you list a salary expectation but don’t list any of your skills or experience level. I don’t even necessarily need your skills but I’d reach out if you said: Clean background, clean drug screen, own transportation. <—- This, at least, tells me something. Not a lot but something. It means that (#1) you can get yourself to and from various job sites and (#2) you are eligible to work with those companies that are required to background check everyone before sending them to a jobsite. And (#3) who’s going to say no to someone with a clean drug screen?