How do you find a good part-time job which uses your experience and skills – and pays accordingly – or negotiate a part-time position in your current job? It is an issue that many parents, particularly of younger children, find challenging since such jobs are often not advertised widely. Here are some tips.
There are organisations, such as workingmums.co.uk, which specialise in advertising family friendly jobs with a large range of employers so it is worth registering with them.
Up to 80% of jobs are not formally advertised so it is worth doing some research on firms which employ people with your skills, checking out their flexible working policy and asking around about them before sending in a speculative letter.
Use social networking to find out about any potential vacancies, even if it is only for short-term work. Once you get your foot in the door and show what you can achieve, you will be in a stronger negotiating position as a lot of flexible working relies on trust. Ask friends, family, colleagues and ex-colleagues for any information on job openings.
If you do spot a good job that is advertised as full time it may still be worth contacting the employer and asking whether they might consider reduced hours or a job share. Legally, you don’t have the right to request flexible working until after you have been in a job for six months, but if the organisation really wants you, you will have more leeway, and it isn’t always clear from the job advert.
The big question is when to bring up part time working in interviews. If a job is definitely a full-time one – ie it is unrealistic to do it part time – then it makes no sense to ask to do it part time. However, if it could feasibly be done on reduced hours then it is a good idea to bring up part-time hours during the interview process if things are going well and not to leave it until the offer stage since employers don’t tend to like surprises at the last minute. You should make a good pitch for how you could do the role part time, in the same way that you might negotiate reduced hours if you were already in a full-time role.
It is important to show you understand the role and what the impact of going part time might be on the rest of the team, if there is one, and how their work flow could be controlled – for instance, if workload is predictable, could client expectations be managed and could work be delegated, perhaps building up the skills of a more junior person. Think through all the implications, for instance, if there is an emergency that crops up at work on days you are not working would you have any leeway to deal with it? Could you delegate some of your work.
You are more likely to be successful in applying for a part time job if you show you have considered the role carefully – and the organisation – and have considered the business demands.
Another possibility is job shares, but employers tend to need quite a bit of convincing on this if they have not had prior experience of how they work. Again, you need to put a strong business case and talk through how it would work in practice, showing you have considered everything and how the organisation could benefit from having two heads instead of one. Referring to case studies of successful job share role models may also help.