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Part Time Jobs: A Guide

Working part time is a career choice which suits many people. Part time jobs allow more flexibility for the worker to pursue other interests or to fulfil other commitments whilst still earning an income and maintaining employability.

What Does Working Part Time Mean?

There is no formal definition of what qualifies as a part time job other than the hours worked during a typical week will be less than those of a full time job ie less than 35 hours. The working hours could be spread out through the week or concentrated into a few days or they could be flexible – there’s no set working pattern for part time jobs so it’s between the employer and employee to come up with a mutually convenient arrangement.

In the past, part time jobs have sometimes been tarnished with the reputation of being underpaid and insecure. However, the Government has recently imposed regulations on employers to ensure that part time workers are treated as fairly as full time employees. Wages and salaries should be the same pro rata as those paid to full time workers and part time employees are entitled to the same holiday and sick leave entitlements. They should also be eligible to join any workplace pension schemes.

What Sort of Part Time Jobs are Available?

Most jobs or professions can be done part time but it’s up to the employer whether they are willing to offer it. Even professions such as teaching, medicine and law employ part time workers. Many highly qualified women return to work part time after maternity leave or when their children reach school age but these are positions which are usually negotiated with their employer rather than advertised jobs.

Many office-based and retail jobs are advertised on a part time basis, often to fit in with school hours or to work evening and weekend shifts. Jobs which involve a lot of shift work, such as nursing or bar work, can be worked easily on a part time basis.

How do I Find a Part Time Job?

The process of finding employment is the same whether you’re looking for full or part time work. Firstly, visit your local job centre to see what’s available. If you register with them and let them know the sort of job you’re looking for you should be informed if suitable vacancies become available.

Keep an eye on the classified ads in your local paper for job vacancies in your area. Many small local businesses won’t be able to afford to advertise vacancies on large UK-wide jobs sites and they are often the type of employer who will be looking for part time workers. Look out for signs in shop windows too – local stores will often fill positions by just advertising to passers-by.

Register with a number of online jobs sites such as Indeed, Reed and Totaljobs. You can even upload your CV onto these sites so employers can seek you out. You should be able to choose specific employment areas that you’re interested in eg retail or hospitality and register to receive alerts to ensure you hear about any vacancies straight away. Many employers offering part time jobs will advertise on websites aimed at parents so it’s worth checking out workingmums.com or mumsnet.com.

If you see a job advertised that you’re interested in but it’s offering full time hours don’t ignore it. If you’re genuinely interested and think you have the skills the business is looking for it’s still worth applying. If you’re offered the job you may find you can negotiate part time hours or a job share.

Finally, be pro-active. If there are places where you would like to work, send them your CV and a covering letter. Explain that you’re looking for a part time job, outline why you think they should consider employing you and ask them if there is any work available. It may come to nothing but you could just as easily find yourself being invited for an interview.

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