The Nitty Gritty of a Part-Time Job Search – What to Consider and How to Stand Out

When searching for a job, you must begin with the end in mind. Job placement success does not happen by magic, but by making smart, strategic moves to make sure you find the right fit for your interests and abilities.

This i

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s especially important when looking for a part-time job, because whether you’re working to get initial experience, for a little extra cash, or to re-enter the job market, you want a job that you can do and do well; and you want some level of satisfaction from it. Whatever your reason for seeking a part-time job, there are a couple of general ideas to keep in mind during the stages of the job search process.

Become the Purple Cow

The purple cow is a marketing concept that says in order for companies to compete in the marketplace, they must have some sort of unique selling proposition to get buyers’ attention. The same principle applies to a part-time job search. There are probably dozens of other candidates, if not hundreds, applying for the same jobs that you are.

So how does your application NOT end up in the recycle bin? You must begin by doing an inventory of your skills, capabilities and interests. What unique qualities can you bring to the job? What are your strengths? What evidence do you have of these strengths in action? Once you know your capabilities, figure out your motivation for seeking part-time employment. Then, look for jobs that will match your needs and interests.

Jobseeker, P.I.

Before you apply, check the company out. Do a little research online and then ask around to see if anyone has ever heard of the company to learn more about their reputation. How is the work environment – formal or casual? How do they treat their employees? Do they offer any incentives for working there beyond a paycheck? If they are a chain or franchise, how does the location you’d be working in measure up with other locations nationwide?

Who Are You?

Different people seek part-time jobs for different reasons. Some want an employee discount while others want an opportunity to socialize and make new friends, and some want to broaden their skills. Even with a general understanding of why you want the job, depending on where you are in life and your motivation for part-time employment, there are specific factors to consider.


If you’re trying to find a company that offers part time jobs for teens, you are likely working to save up for a specific item (such as a car), for extra spending cash, or to set aside money for your college education. When looking for a job as a teenager, keep these ideas in mind as you initiate your job search:

If you are over 16, limit the number of hours you work per week so you can keep up in school. (State and federal laws restrict the number of hours teens under 16 can work a week.)If possible, find a job close to your home so you or your parents aren’t driving long distances. This will also help you be on time to your job.Get a simple resume together.Don’t feel pressured to accept a job you don’t want.

College Students

If you want a part-time job as a college student you are likely looking for an opportunity to expand your budget now that you’re paying your own bills. But keep in mind, you could also get a job related to your field of study to gain real world experience. When looking for part-time employment as a college student, keep these ideas in mind:

If you’re planning on taking courses while you have the job, make sure your potential employer is willing to work around your course schedule which is likely to change from one semester to the next.In your search, don’t limit yourself to your chosen field of study – explore other options as well.Consider a summer part-time job abroad where you can learn about different cultures.Network, network, network – talk to as many people as you can about your chosen field of study to see what job opportunities are available.


Most retirees return to the job force for one of three reasons: boredom, to explore a hobby, interest or passion, or to supplement their retirement income. In 2005, Career Journal, a supplement to the Wall Street Journal, reported that seven million retirees had left their jobs only to eventually return to the workforce. But before your dive into your new part-time job, consider the following:

If it’s been awhile since you worked, you may need to upgrade your computer skills or other skills to be marketable.Is the field you are entering likely to change? If so, how will your job evolve?Call in the reinforcements – use your experience to rally the troops, network, and help you find a job that will be the right fit.

Working Professionals

Many nine-to-fivers have interests outside of their existing job. If you find yourself in this category, you may be looking for a part-time job that will give you a break from your daytime routine to explore your hobbies. And some folks need to supplement their income short-term or even long-term. Whatever the reason, when you are in the throws of your part-time job search, don’t forget:

Job flexibility can be extremely important, especially if your full-time job periodically has projects and commitments that require you to work late or over weekends. Find out how much scheduling flexibility there is with your part-time employer. Use your expertise or hobbies as a source of interest for your second job – between the daytime gig and moonlighting, you’ll be working a lot, so you may as well have fun.Seasonal and long-term part-time jobs are two different animals – make sure you’re clear what you’re getting into before you accept the position.

Returning-to-Work Moms

If you are a mom returning to the workforce the transition from overtime mommy to part-time job is no easy task. Whether you are just getting your feet wet to figure out if you want to return to the workforce full time, you want to explore a hobby, or you are needing to contribute to you family’s cash flow, keep these ideas in mind:

Do you have experience in the field you want to enter? If not, or if your skills are a little rusty, you may need to upgrade your skills.Have a support system in place in case you need it – back-up babysitters for the kids, participation in a local group to support working moms, online forums and discussion groups to ask questions, share tips, and get advice, etc.Establish whether you are looking for a part-time job that is short term and/or seasonal, or more long-term.Make sure the company is family-friendly and flexible for those times when the babysitter is running late or doesn’t show at all, the kids are sick, or you want to frame your schedule around your child’s activities.

Part-time jobs are an essential resource for the job market. And with the variety of jobs available, there’s a little something for everyone. To find the best job for you, take your time, use a reliable part-time jobs website to initiate your search, do research, and ask questions before applying.

Heather Moose is the Marketing Manager for, the nation’s largest site for hourly full- and part-time job listings, with more than 117 million annual job searches. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, was started in 1999 to connect hard-working people with great hourly employment. For more information, visit:

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