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Finding part-time work

How to find a part-time professional role

You’ve been career-focussed through school, university and the first decade or so of working life.  You’ve worked hard for your professional position and status.  And now you have a family and perhaps other caring responsibilities as well.  There are just not enough hours in the day to fit everything in.  Perhaps you’ve been working full-time, juggling everything and just about surviving; perhaps you’ve taken a career break and are ready to return to work.  And the big question that you keep asking yourself is, how do I find a part-time role? A part-time role that lets you contribute at an equivalent professional level and also has the prospects for you to progress in your career?

Here, we suggest 6 routes into a part-time professional role:

1. Contract/freelance

Contracting your skills for payment by the hour or day is one possible option for continuing to work in your chosen profession.  One of the benefits of some types of contracting work is that you can chose your own hours of work.  You could be paid by the day or by the project.  Either way, careful management of your working time is essential to ensure that you have time available for other areas of your life. Contracting options include setting up as an independent company and bidding for contracts or working as an associate for an established contractor.

2. Apply for a full-time role and subsequently request part-time hours

Whilst there is no statutory right to request part-time working (unless you have 26 weeks continuous employment as per the Employment Rights Act 1996), if you have been offered a job with a new employer, and clearly have skills and experience that the employer needs, requesting part-time hours could form part of agreeing your terms and conditions of employment on joining.  This could be a risky option, with the employer not obliged to consider, but you never know how accommodating the new employer might be unless you ask.

An alternative option would be to take the role on a full-time basis and then submit a flexible working request for part-time hours after the initial 6 month period has elapsed.  Again there is a risk that the employer will not accept the request on the grounds of business needs.

3. Search for advertised part-time roles

You may have a perception that not many part-time roles in your profession are advertised, so make sure that you do a wide search for part-time roles.  There are broad on-line job vacancy sites, e.g. Indeed, where there are high quantities of roles posted and sites usually have filters to do targeted searches based on desired hours of work as well as job level and sector.

4. Use a recruitment consultancy specialising in part-time roles

There are a number of recruitment consultancies specialising in part-time and flexible working vacancies – most of them are relatively new on the block, but are starting to fill the need to recruit talent for their more progressive clients who see the opportunity to offer part-time and flexible working to fill roles at all organisational levels.  Try Flexible Minds, 2 to 3 days.com and Timewise.

5. Target specific companies

Another approach that can sometimes lead to a successful appointment is to contact an employer directly on the off-chance they may have a suitable role.   This is a great approach if you are looking for employment in a specific location or specific profession.  Do your research to come up with a target list of organisations and then send your c.v. along with a relevant covering letter or email preferably to a named person within the organisation clearly stating the terms on which you would consider a role, such as number of days per week.

Timewise create a Power List each year showcasing shining examples of part-time and flexible working arrangements.  Use this list to review potential target employers or to influence how you tailor your covering letter.  Clearly and firmly state what you want in your covering letter, without any apology.

6. Use your network

It’s common knowledge that most job vacancies don’t get advertised.  This is where your network becomes particularly important.  Your network is essentially all the people that you know, whether this is in your current role, from previous roles, from your social groups, neighbours, etc.  As they will all have their own networks, it is important to let people in your network know what you are looking for and ask them how they can help you find it.  Most people won’t be able to connect you to the right place, but one or two of them will possibly lead to potential opportunities.  The larger your network, the better the chance of finding your ideal position, so it’s worth investing effort in developing your network.

Good luck in securing your next part-time role.  With an investment of time and effort, you will be able to find your ideal role.  Career-Mums helps parents, like you, find work that works for them and for their family through Relaunch your Career coaching.


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