A job seeker wrote me: "I want part-time work. When I apply to companies for jobs that aren't advertised, should I state that I want to work part-time? Will that turn employers off?
"I've already sent some applications in without stating that I wanted part-time work. What would I say to an employer if I'm contacted? I don't want to tell them it's for health reasons."
Dear "I Want Part-Time Work"
Looking for a part-time job isn't such a bad idea these days. In tough economic times, many employers hire part-timers and contractors because they cost less to employ.
I say: Ask for what you want! If part-time work is what you want, then that's what you should say on your resume. Why waste the employer's or your time interviewing for a full-time position when what you really want -- and perhaps need -- is something part-time?
In fact, why not look specifically for part-time employment opportunities online, in the newspaper, and through your network? In that case, both you and the employer will be seeking the same goal: to fill a part-time position.
Near the beginning of your resume, write a job objective statement that includes the term "part-time." For example:
Job Objective: Part-time position in software development
Job Objective: Software Development, part-time
Why Do You Want Part-Time Work?
On your resume there's no need to say why you seek part-time work. If it comes up in the interview, don't say anything about your health issues. Instead, give a reason that implies a benefit for your boss. Here are a few examples:
"By working 25 hours a week, I'm able to put more time into my professional development, which keeps me up-do-date in this field."
This tells the employer you'll be a better employee on the clock because you'll be improving your skills when you're not on the clock.
"Because I'm covered under my spouse's healthcare plan, I'm able to work part-time and use that extra time for my family."
Ah, you've just pointed to the money the employer will save by not putting you on his healthcare plan.
If you can't come up with a reason that benefits the boss, say something like:
"I have personal obligations (or volunteer projects, if that's true) that allow me to work only 25 hours a week."
But, better than these ideas for explaining your desire to work less, try this:
Avoid the "Why Part-Time Work?" Question
To avoid the "why part-time?" question, present yourself as a contractor. As an independent contractor you can discuss ways of achieving an employer's goals within your time frame. Often an employer will accept shorter workdays as long as his project is completed on time.
To get a contracting job, put your professional title (instead of a job objective statement) near the top of your resume, like this:
Software Development Contractor
This confident presentation essentially says, "Hey, I do well working project-to-project; I'm self-motivated; and I don't mind nontraditional workloads and time frames (such as part-time)."
Want to see how others have handled the "no job objective statement on their resume" issue? See these resume samples.
If Your Resume Doesn't Say You Want Part-Time Work
For those resumes you've already sent out, no problem. When a recruiter calls, simply say something like, "I want to clarify my job objective. I'm looking for a part-time position." Then see if the conversation continues.
There's no need to be apologetic about your desire for fewer work hours per week. Part-time workers and contractors are preferred by many employers because they don't have to offer benefits such as vacation pay, healthcare insurance, retirement plan contributions, and other perks they might be giving their full-time employees.
Check Out Work-From-Home Jobs
One more idea: become a work-from-home employee. Don't snicker, there are lots of legitimate work-from-home opportunities you'll find if you Google phrases such as "work from home online" and "work from home ______ (your line of work)."
Working from home might look pretty good if you need to break up your work hours for the sake of your health.
Warning:there are some nasty work-from-home scams out there, so be careful to research the companies behind the job opportunities before taking the job.
Looking for resume templates that have these options built into them? Check out my Ready-Made Resumes, an online resume builder with downloadable templates in MS Word.