In this column, we traditionally focus on full-time jobs that are more suited for someone who is career oriented. While most job tips are universal regardless of how many hours you will work, there is some strategy that is specific to the part-time market. We will focus this week on the unique aspects of a part-time search that must be considered.
There are also lots of Job Seekers who find a reduced schedule (less than 30 hours) to be a better fit in their life at the moment. Of course, there are still the traditional students in High School or University who need a part-time job, either off-school season or at night/weekends when classes are in session. Part-time employees go far beyond that, from the stay-at-home parent who wishes to work around when their children are at school, to the retiree who wishes to stay active (and collect a paycheck).
There are some considerations for a part-time job seeker to review prior to completing the first application.
- What Do You Wish To Do: The range of part-time employment is huge and, in today’s economy, basically covers everything in every industry, including traditional full-time stalwarts such as manufacturing. The level of compensation can also vary significantly based on what type of work you are performing. So, it is important to narrow down your interests both to allow yourself a more efficient job search and to ensure you don’t land in a position that does not meet your needs.
- How Much Do You Want to Work: The prospective employer will wish to schedule you for less than 30 hours a week to avoid flirting with medical benefits for you under the Affordable Care Act. It is OK for you to occasionally work more than that, but not on a consistent basis (and certainly not pre-scheduled). So, now that you know the hours ceiling, it is up to you to decide how many hours you can balance with school or home responsibilities. If you are retired, you also need to make sure you earn below any retirement income requirements.
- When Do You Want to Work: The good news is that, with the modern job market, most prospective employers will be very accommodating to your work schedule requirements. The more flexible that you can be, the more valuable you become to the company and will greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Of course, off-hours such as nights (especially overnight) and weekends may not only get you hired quicker and easier but may also come with a shift premium providing additional compensation.
- How Flexible: This works on both ends of the equation. You will need to determine how flexible you can be with hours, because schedules do change, or you may get called in to work if things are busy. Likewise, you may need some flexibility from your employer for things like finals week or parental emergencies. Be sure to cover this in the interview, so you know that you are all on the same page.
- How Long Are You Planning to Stay: For some part-time job seekers, there is no end date, or it is far in advance. However, with many, there is a general timeline in mind
regarding length of stay. Communicate with the Hiring Manager, in advance, your plans. In today’s challenging labor market, having a good part-time employee (even for a relatively short period of time) would be beneficial.
Obtaining a part-time job will remind you in many ways of a previous era. Word-of-mouth and referrals can be critically important in landing some roles, especially when looking for a job for a short-period in the summer. Actually, walking into locations, such as retail or restaurants, and completing a paper application can be the most effective way to communicate your interest. This can especially be important since most part-time openings never make it to the large national websites and rather, they are filled via walk-ins, referrals, or a local advertiser such as WNYJOBS.com. Don’t self-select yourself out due to lack of a particular experience, as most part-time roles are entry-level, and employers will provide some training to get you going. Finally, part-time workforces can contain people of all demographics, so don’t assume that due to your age or gender that you won’t be successful.
For many job seekers, a part-time job is exactly what is needed. Do your pre-work, so that you know exactly what you are looking for when you go out into the market. The current labor environment for part-time employees is exceptionally worker friendly, so have an open dialogue with the Hiring Manager regarding what you are looking for in your part-time position.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein