How to Land a Part Time Job

By Steve p Brady

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You have been scouring job boards, online postings and the want ads for months. You have sent out countless resumes. You heard back from a handful, but nothing solid has materialized yet. You are more than a little frustrated. This is an all too common tale right now. We all know the job market is tough out there, but there is something you can do now to make it a bit easier: land a part time job.

That’s right, part time work isn’t just for kids delivering newspapers, it can be a valid path to full time employment. First, if your part time job is related to your long term career plans then you can use it on your resume. Something everyone should try to avoid is a gap in their employment history. A part time position fills this hole in your history just as well as a full time gig. Second, you may make some important contacts while working at a less than 40-hours-a-week job. At the very least, it will help pays some bills while you keep looking for a more permanent position. It may have been a while (high school?) since you thought about applying for a part time position, so here are some tips to get you started.

Where to look
While you can always pound the pavement and look for help wanted signs there are more efficient ways to look for part time work. If you are interested in retail go to your local mall and ask at the info booth. Many times they will have a list of openings that will at least allow you to narrow your search. 

Another strategy is to look online. Most job directories will list part time as well as full time opportunities and they will allow you to filter for these types of jobs as well. 

What to bring
The rules for part time employment are a bit more lax here. However, I always advise clients to be over prepared. After all, better safe than sorry. If you have a resume, bring it. Many part time positions will have their applications online. Fill it out, print it and bring it along. After the application the next thing to consider are recommendations. Bring along a few personal as well as professional recommendations. Even if they are not technically required, you’ll never  go wrong having some with you. 

What to wear
Always err on the side of being over dressed. This doesn’t mean where a gown or a three piece suit, but do not show up in jeans and sneakers either. Khakis and button down shirts for guys, slacks or dress skirts and conservative tops for women should do the job.

Predictable interview questions
One of the best things about applying for part time work is the relative ease of the interview. Some of the typical questions you can count on being asked include:

What days/hours are you available to work?
Do you have any activities that would prevent you from working your schedule?
Would you prefer full-time employment to part-time if a job were available?
What are your salary expectations?
How would you describe the pace at which you work?
How do you handle stress and pressure?
Are you overqualified for this job?
Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager?
What do you know about this company?
Why are you the best person for the job?
What applicable experience do you have?
What interests you about this job?
What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
What will you do if you don't get this position?

Part time employment may not be your ideal, but in the meantime it may be just what you need professionally and financially.


Steve P Brady has over 10 years experience resume writing and publishes a weekly newsletter on career development for teachers.


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