How to get a new part-time position when only full-time is advertised

Thursday, May 7th, 2009 - career change, career management, career transition, Employment, Job Advert, Job Application, job search, software engineer


Part Time Position

Mcdonald Hiring Part and Full time
Creative Commons License photo credit: PhilipRood.com

Anita asks: In my line of work (software development) it is rare to see part-time positions advertised.  I returned to work part-time (3 days a week) after maternity leave. However, I’m now looking to move companies as I’m not happy where I am.  I have seen the perfect job but it is full-time.  I’m unsure as to whether I should apply anyway (and only let them know I can work part-time if offered the job) or let them know up front.  What would be the advice?  I have asked a friend in a similar situation and she says she’s only ever experienced reluctance from employers to even invite her for interview. Any thoughts?

In answer:
A couple of thoughts:

  1. Is it really that bad where you are at present? It might appear that bad, but if you could change three things what would they be, and how much would it improve it by?
  2. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – do you know what other employers are like?
  3. As a working mother, how many employers are going to accept an “unknown” set of childcare requirements – when another applicant has all the required skills, and doesn’t want part-time/flexible work
  4. If you are a permanent employee at your current work place, you have retained rights and will have access to pensions schemes and unemployment benefits. Moving means you might lose those, and be working on one months notice for the first 12months – not a benefit in this economy

As a software developer, your medium term career path should be to contract work. At present it sounds like you are edging towards lower paid permanent work because of financial considerations/family, and expecting the employer to pick up all the risk.A job application is not about you, it is about whether you fit the employers requirements. The way forward I suggest is, having chatted a number of skilled working Mum’s through this position, is:

  • Write down the issues you don’t like about your current employment. Try and resolve them with a manager at work
  • Make a medium term plan to head to a contract position, allowing you to work at a higher rate and around/with your family
  • If you see positions advertised on which you have all the skills – don’t apply for anything where you have most of the skills – then BEFORE applying pick up the phone and ask to speak to the hiring manage. That position may not be right for you, another they have or one which they are willing to create could

Good Luck!

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