Top tips for job hunting, when you’re looking for flexibility
Many candidates feel that finding part-time and flexible jobs is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Too many recruiters don’t say if a job can be worked flexibly, even in this post-lockdown world where remote working has become so normalised. The trick is to stay open to ideas, have your finger in several pies, and get organised. These tips will help you get started:
1. Use an aggregator site to cast your net wide
Instead of using the large generic job sites, try a ‘job board aggregator’, such as Indeed or Adzuna. These are “one-stop destinations” that display postings from hundreds of job sites across the internet. You’re less likely to miss opportunities, but the downside is that the volume of jobs can be daunting – you’ll need to get clever with how you search (see point 3 below).
2. Use niche sites to reach the most relevant jobs
Combine an aggregator with using a few small jobs boards that specialise either in part-time and flexible jobs, or in your particular type of work. Jobs on the smaller sites don’t always reach the aggregators, and there’s also the benefit that your CV may receive more attention. It’s a matter of trial and error – work out which websites deliver the best job opportunities for your needs, then set up job alerts at those sites.
3. Include flexible keywords when you search or create job alerts
Keyword phrases tend to return more accurate job search results than using the category links on a job site. This applies to the type of flexibility you’re looking for, as well as the type of role. So try including ‘part-time’ or ‘home working’ in your search (together with your location and type of role) and see if it helps. Experiment to see what gives you the most accurate search results, then set up a job alert for that combination of criteria.
4. Look great on LinkedIn
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you need to be. Thousands of employers use it to search for good candidates – and many prefer it to advertising their vacancy. Upload a recent professional photo, put a lot of thought into your summary of experience and skills, packing it with keywords for skills that employers might search for. Finally, ask former colleagues to endorse your profile.
5. Tell your friends and ex work colleagues that you’re looking for a job
Don’t keep it to yourself - be open in all your conversations about the fact that you’re jobhunting, and see where it takes you. You won’t always know who your contacts might work for, or what opportunities they might know about. Ask people to listen out for you – ‘networking’ is everyone’s least favourite way to job-hunt, but it’s the most successful.
6. Research flex friendly recruiters and employers
Some employers are more willing than others to offer flexible working, so it’s worth prioritising them. On Timewise Jobs, any organisation you come across will be flex-friendly. When it comes to jobs you see elsewhere, try checking out the career pages of the company’s website to see if they talk about their flexible culture. Keep a note of the employers you like, and then keep an eye out for new vacancies with them.
7. Write on spec
Speculative letters can sometimes hit the target. The best approach is to identify a small number of companies you would really like to work for, follow them on social media, and connect with staff who work there on LinkedIn or at networking events. Then put in a speculative application when you have a few things to say about your knowledge of them and why you’d like to work for them. Don’t be afraid to reconnect on a regular basis – it’s all a matter of being lucky with your timing, making contact when they happen to have a vacancy.
8. Don’t rule out full time jobs, as flexibility may be possible
9 in 10 managers would be open to discussing flexible working with a new recruit – they just don’t say so in their job adverts. So unless you want a very specific working pattern (such as 3 days a week or less), it may be worth applying for full time roles that suit your skills, then asking for flex once you’ve got an offer.
Best of luck!