Skills first, flexibility later

Karen MattisonOver a decade ago, when I was looking for a senior-level part-time job, there were very few around. That's why I ended up co-founding the company that became Timewise Jobs.

In the years since then, I've been working to create a better, fairer jobs market for people who want to work part-time or flexibly. But it's fair to say that there still aren't enough to go round. 

If you are looking for a quality role that advertises some flexible or part time options, then only 15% of jobs will be an option. Yes, that's right, just 15%, and although it's growing, it's doing so at a pretty slow rate.

You need to get yourself noticed

As an employer myself, I want the best person for the job, the one who has the best skills, the most passion, who will help me grow my business or deliver on my targets. So how can you be the candidate that people like me are looking for?

The short answer is, your job application needs to be the best it can be and stand out from the crowd. That means creating a brilliant CV and cover letter. But it also means making sure you lead on your skills, not your need for flexibility.

What not to say

So, even if you are applying for a job that's advertised as being open to flexibility, don't waste the employer's time explaining why you need a certain arrangement.

The fact is, you are applying for a job, and the process is no different if it is a full-time, part-time or flexible role. Plus the chances are that anyone else who applies will probably have their own reasons for wanting flexibility too.

Three things to say instead

Instead, think about why you are going for that particular job. And before hitting the ‘Send’ key, take another look at your cover letter, and make sure it answers the following:

  1. Why you are the right candidate for that job
  2. What unique skills you can bring to that organisation
  3. What skills you want to acquire in that role

By doing so, you'll make sure the employer knows why you'd be great for the job, instead of why the job would be great for you. And that's much more likely to get you the result you want.

In the meantime, if you're wondering when you should raise the question of flexibility, take a look at our advice. Good luck!


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