How to get a part-time job that doesn’t suck

How to get a part-time job that doesn’t suck

Part-time job: (def) A part-time contract is a form of employment that carries fewer hours per week than a full-time job.

That’s it. That’s what defines a part-time job.

But in the real world – here what the definition often means:

Part-time job: (def) A crappy, poorly-paid job where you have to jam too much work into too little time.

Somewhere along the line, part-time work stopped meaning work that is part-time. And started meaning work that is part-time, badly paid and under appreciated. Usually by women.

But as someone very wise once said, “the times they are a’changin.” The new economy is bringing with it different ways of working and forcing employers to get with the program. For those people ready to jump on it the part-time/flexible work wagon is going to be a dream come true.

Here is my ultimate guide to getting great, interesting and well-paid part-time and flexible work.

Ready? Let’s go:

Step One

Back away slowly from the job board.

Seriously. It’s a trick.

Here’s how it works. You go onto or or whatever is your poison.You find something that looks good(ish). Yeah it’s not perfect but neither’s life right. You are not filled with love but you apply and feel like at least you did something right?

And then you stop.

Because after all. You’ve applied, right? Thrown your hat into the ring…

Wrong. The odds of you getting a job that way are slimmer than those of you choking to death on a bottle cap.

Stop doing it.

It’s soul crushing and it won’t work.

Depending on who you ask you have a  1% chance of getting a job from a job ad.

And those stats are for full-time work. For every full-time job that is advertised there are .00003 part-time jobs so suddenly your odds are even lower (okay I admit, I just made that up. But that’s close to the real figure.)

Think about it – when was the last time you got a job by applying online. Or, for that matter anyone you know who got a job by applying online?

Never. So stop.

And while we are at….Stop with the recruiters as well. During the course of this article, I spoke with some of the best recruiters around. These guys really know their stuff and have provided some great tips and advice but the way most recruitment agencies work – part-time work is not where the big bucks come in so its never going to be a focus.

As Petra Zink of puts it “part-time jobs do come in but they usually have to be filled quickly and sent back out the door.

(Petra did have some other great advice on how to get part-time work in an interview I did with her. If you are looking for even more ideas – you can see it here.)

This process is all about resource management. If you are looking for part-time work then odds are you are short on time. Spending the best part of half a day getting your hair done and getting into the city to meet with a recruiter who never calls you again is not using your resources wisely. Trust me – I’ve been there….

Step Two

Figure out your Super Power.

Fill out this super technical formula.

I help [audience] [get result].

This phrase is deceptively simple but over the years, I’ve seen these simple words transform over and over into a clear and powerful sales pitch.

The very cool thing is that you only have to answer 2 questions.

Who do I help (and voila – you have your target market)

What do I do for them?

So, sure, I can hear you say. This is super easy for some professions. If you are are a marketer, you can easily say, I help small businesses make money using social media.

But what about if you are in HR? That’s easy as well.

I help corporations make the most of their most precious resource – their people.

No matter what you do you help someone do something. You just need to be clear about what that is.

Step Three

Put Your Game Face on

Use all your new found self-awareness to get your public profile sorted.

Update LinkedIn – (there’s some great info here)

Get your photo sorted 

You’re about to get active so now is a good time to clear out any people from your connections that you don’t want to show that the bright and shiny new you. For example, you might like to remove people from your current work (in particularly your boss) or anyone who you might feel self-conscious around.

A word of warning here. LinkedIn doesn’t notify people when you remove them from contacts but you could still get busted. There’s some more information on the right way to do it here

Step Four

Find your own damn job – here’s how.

Set up Google Alerts. It’s like a PA named Robert, searching the web for you looking for the perfect job.

Don’t underestimate yourself. Figure out who needs your talents (but maybe haven’t realized it yet).Then put together a pitch.

No, you don’t have to be in advertising to make a pitch. No matter what industry you are in – it can work for you.

(Here’s a sneaky sidenote)

If you are determined to ignore step 1 and still want to apply for jobs (that’s okay – I still keep an eye out as well….), Google Alerts lets you search for job openings and have results delivered right to your inbox so you can jump on them and apply immediately.

The benefit of using Google Alerts is that you can target your alerts specifically to the companies you’re interested in working for. You can even tailor them directly to the types of jobs you’re looking for .

Here’s some other advice from Petra Zink. “Think small. There are many small businesses that really want and need the services of a talented professional but may not necessarily have the budget to hire someone full-time.

You can solve an enormous problem for these people. You have exactly what they need. No, you aren’t going to reduce your prices (if you need a refresher on that – here’s a great article), but guess what? You are happy to work, say 2/3 of a week which means your services will well and truly come within their budget.

Or maybe the solution is to think different.

It’s not breaking news that jobs, as we know them, are changing. And there are some really cool people doing some really cool things in this new space. Do some research and see if you can use these new inroads to land an amazing role.

One of my favourites in this space is   Cahlia is a start-up designed to help qualified professional women source meaningful and valuable projects to suit their unique skillset and their experience while also being able to balance their requirements for flexibility.

Co-founders Nikki Jenkinson and Angela McKenzie identified a significant problem in the market: an inability to source quality talent quickly in a rapidly changing economy. And they are using their community of pre-vetted and skilled professional women to bridge it.

Cahlia is an industry-leading online marketplace that quickly connects corporates with the professional gig economy.

Here’s what co-founder Nikki’s thoughts are, on the changing employment landscape and her advice to females seeking greater control over their work.

“Around the world, organisations are increasingly seeking an on-demand and agile contingent workforce of experts, to deliver organisational goals and measurable targets. Further, recent research by PWC identifies that 78% of large organisations are actively seeking skilled females at a senior level to add diversity and innovation to leadership teams.

This, in conjunction with increased requirements for diversity, the trend towards flexible careers, and the rise of the gig economy is creating a new working landscape for skilled and professional women.

These women, with vast expertise and years of experience, are simply choosing to opt out of the traditional workplace and are actively searching for an alternative employment option through Independent Contracting and Consulting.

My advice to females is: Rather than trying to fit into a system that doesn’t fit you, actively seek change to allow you to redefine your career, at any age! It is absolutely possible to have increased options while maintaining or growing your career flexibly.”

It’s a new disruptive trend. Rather than take a half-assed badly paid compromise, why not get on board?”

Another organisation that has grown up to meet the demand for interesting and well-paid jobs with flexibility is (

Here’s how they describe themselves.

Beam is a marketplace connecting highly qualified and experienced parents looking to step back into the workforce and those seeking sustainably flexible work, with businesses seeking (and valuing) their skills. Beam only provides flexible roles, on a contract or permanent part-time basis in school hours or 1-4 long days per week.

Step Five

Consider Job-Sharing

Increasingly – its a thing. And for senior, well-paid and challenging roles.

According to

“Job-sharing for senior roles is happening more frequently than ever, indicating to CEOs and their organizations that a desire for more flexible working arrangements isn’t just the domain of millennials.”

It’s also showing how companies are growing increasingly open to hiring senior people on a flexible basis, according to recruitment firm Timewise.

“The British company conducted a survey of 200 local senior managers and found that two out of five would consider hiring candidates for a senior role as part of a job-share. It also estimated that 770,000 high-income earners in Britain now work part-time, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year.

Take the example of Alix Ainsley and Charlotte Cherry, who share the role of HR Director at Lloyd’s, one of the UK’s biggest banks.

These women applied for the job at the same time as a team. Prior to joining Lloyd’s, Alix and Charlotte had shared an HR role in the UK arm of U.S. firm GE Capital.

“It’s something to think about—finding a compatible career partner and applying together for jobs,” Timewise co-founder Karen Mattison said. “You can make a compelling case for bringing benefits to the employer.”

As well as the benefits to the job hunters (flexibility, challenging role, back-up) there are also massive benefits to the employer. Think about it. By using job-share candidates, you are bringing in double the expertise, double the years of experience and in some cases double the skill sets. It also means that when and if the need arises, there is the ability to scale up rapidly (e.g. for a launch/end of financial year/time-sensitive report).

There are no losers in this scenario and big wins for innovative employers. (Applying for/creating a skillshare role requires some finesse. We have a whole section in this in our latest e-course.

And yes, of course, you can now totally go back to the job-board and start applying for full-time jobs (just don’t forget the stats and start thinking that is your only avenue.)

Step Six

Apply – like a real person, not a robot. ie Take it offline.

Here’s how to do it.

Once you’ve found your dream job (and yes, its okay if it is still an imaginary job at this point.)


Write a great cover letter that is uber specific to the role you want. Tailor your C.V. as well. Remember you are a human being, not some robot.

Write like one.

Here’s some advice from Jason Roulston of Just Digital People 

“My advice to all people (especially women) looking for part-time work is much the same as those looking for full-time work, know what you want, make your application, (cover note and resume) very specific to that specific role, and Google search companies that fit your wants and needs and approach them all enthusiastically.”

Print out your application, make it beautiful and send it in the post. Like the red post boxes, you see randomly dotted around the place. Remember them?

Give a couple of days and then connect with them via linkedIn. Send them a personalized request.

Give it a couple more days and then call. Yep like on the phone.

DO NOT SEND AN EMAIL. You will disappear into a black hole like something out of Dr Who.

So there you have it. A complete, step-by-step blueprint for getting an awesome part-time job.

Kathy Wilson from gets women headhunted. She knows that starting a job search can push everyone single, insecure button you have and she has a plan for you to follow that is simple and easy and will get you a new job in 4 weeks or less. And she’s just about to release a course called “The World’s Most Real Guide to getting a part-time job that isn’t crap and pays what you deserve.”

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