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Part-timers: how to find the perfect job

16:30 AEST Fri Oct 12 2012
Part-time work. Image: Getty
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By Hannah Nicholas
MSN NZ Money writer

Working part-time can be a great way of balancing your work and personal commitments. In recent years the number of part-time workers has increased with women tending to make up much of the part-time work force.

People work part-time for many reasons. They may need the flexibility to juggle a family and career, they may require financial assistance during study or for a better work-life balance. Whatever your reason, here are our top tips for finding the right part-time job for you.

What is part-time work?
Generally, part-timers are those employees working fewer than 30 hours per week with hours normally at set times, eg: 10am to 2pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Sometimes employment is on a casual basis. Here the employer and employee agree that the employer will offer the employee work when work is available. Temping agencies often employ people on this basis and students are generally employed within this "casual" category.

Start your search

1. Be prepared
Like any job seeker, finding part-time work is all about being prepared. If you see the perfect job advertised, you have to be ready to apply ASAP. Being prepared means: having your résumé updated and ready to send; knowing how to write cover letters; and being ready for the event you score an interview.

Set aside time every day to do your job searching. Be patient and stay positive. The right job doesn't just fall in your lap; it will take work on your part.

Top job search tips for mums going back to work

  • Look into what working arrangement will suit you and your family (including the days/hours you are available) before applying for positions.
  • Have childcare arrangements in place.
  • Look for family-friendly employers.
  • Consider a job-sharing arrangement.

Top job search tips for students

  • Consider doing unpaid work experience to get a foot in the door.
  • Ask around and find out what local employers hire students — approach those places for available opportunities.
  • Be adaptable. Students can be employed in all types of industries.

2. Go online
Focus on searching the employment websites that reflect your circumstance (eg: mums returning to work) or allow you to search for part-time/casual positions. Examples include Seek, Jobs for Mums, Student Job Search and Student Jobz.

These job sites specialise in advertising part-time and hourly jobs and have search engines that enable you to search quickly for jobs in your location. In many cases, you will be able to apply online and register for job alerts.

3. Join a recruitment agency
Recruitment agencies are a great source of information when it comes to finding a job. They can set you up with positions that match your skills and experience as well as help with interview preparation and job offer negotiations.

4. Search company websites
Lots of companies advertise positions through their own websites. Make a list of companies you'd like to work for and check out the recruitment section of their sites.

5. Consider the hidden job market
A large number of jobs on the market are not advertised and are only discovered through word of mouth, cold calling or sending in an unsolicited job application. Use your networks to tap into the hidden market. Develop a list of contacts through friends, family or former co-workers and fellow students.

6. Know your rights
According to the Department of Labour, the basic rights of full-time employees apply equally to most part-time employees. These rights also apply to casual employees but the way in which provisions for annual holidays, sick leave and other entitlements are applied can vary.

Workers have to meet certain criteria to qualify for some employment entitlements. For more information on entitlements and employment agreements visit the government's Employment Relations website.

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