For many people, working part time is something that they choose to do in order to achieve work life balance, and manage priorities other than their career. It could be because you’re a new parent, or you’re finding that your older children would benefit from a little more of your time. Your partner could be travelling for work, you may want to take up further study, or you might need to become a carer for someone else in your family. Your reasons are not what matters most – it’s your approach.
In many cases, it can be frustrating – seemingly impossible – to find a part time role in your area of expertise and at an appropriate level. Clients often ask if they can apply for a full time role and ask about part time opportunities once they secure an interview.
The first thing to note is that it’s really important to be strategic when searching for part time positions Just because this is not a time when your career is the primary focus doesn’t mean that time won’t come in the next 3 or 5 years. So this part time role has to count or at least be relevant to the roles you’d hope to apply for when you return to full time hours in the future. That’s why those full time roles may be so appealing because they reflect where you think you should be – but the hours and commitment just aren’t the right fit.
So can you just apply for a full time role and then ask for them to give it to you part time? Your approach should really be a process of trial and error. You can certainly try applying for full time roles then explaining your preference for part time when you get into the interview room, but it can be risky because by that stage you’ll have invested hours in preparing the job application.
You can try contacting the nominated person associated with the role before submitting an application and ask to find out more about the role and the organisation. One of your questions should be around flexibility in the workplace, and if part time or job share roles ever become available. Use their response to gauge whether or not to explain your preference for part time work.
The other thing I would suggest doing is look for opportunities to tap into the “hidden job market”. Make a list of organisations you’d like to work for and roles that interest you. Utilise your online professional network, use LinkedIn to get in touch with former colleagues and contacts, and see if they have any contacts in the organisations that are on your list. Then consider approaching them, or key decision makers, within those organisations. Ask them for ten minutes of their time over the phone and use this to start building a relationship. Sound them out about the idea of working flexibly and the value that a part time employee offers to an organisation. Explain your career goals. Prove to them you know about what they do and show your genuine interest in their company. Ideally, pitch them an idea or solution to a problem you know they have. Demonstrate the value you offer them straight up.
Most importantly, always be clear about why you want to work part time. Then explain, confidently, that you’re looking for a part time opportunity where you’ll be able to continue working in the area of work you love while ensuring you have the time to commit to your family at this point in time.
Finally, remember that FlexCareers is here to make life easy for you – the platform advertises roles with over 1000 employer partners that champion flexible working, including part-time arrangements. If your ideal role isn’t listed, you can browse the employers that advertise on the site and use this as your starting point for networking, safe in the knowledge that when you reach out to them, part-time work will be embraced.
Working part time is nothing to be ashamed of. It can add considerable value to your career. It can give you focus, and reignite your passion for your work. Rather than work being a hindrance, it becomes a privilege. Employers can only benefit from this shift in your attitude. After all, an engaged employee is a productive one. And that’s our ultimate goal – to shift the mindset from hours spent working to the quality of outcomes delivered.
FlexCoach Tanaz Byramji helps people achieve their career goals – from writing resumes and guiding graduates in searching for entry-level jobs through to providing career coaching, advising small business owners and supporting managers moving into executive and directorship positions.
A professional writer with significant experience providing career development, strategic marketing, and business support services, Tanaz knows how to write effectively in a clear yet compelling manner. She combines that skill with an in-depth knowledge of employment practices and insight into HR processes. Tanaz draws on this expertise to prepare resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, selection criteria responses and business proposals.
For more advice on achieving your career goals, securing your next role and writing winning job applications, contact Tanaz via the Flex Careers coaching platform here.