How to stand out and win a part time role

Recruitment specialist Roy Duncan shares his tips for putting together a winning application and bagging a part time role

Work part time


Finding the perfect part-time role should provide a regular income with holiday pay and other benefits. Generally you will have predictable hours providing stability either working from home or at your employer’s premises.

For example, if you are working within a professional firm such as an accountant, lawyer, consultant, IT, or a recruiter and many other professions, it is likely that the work can be done at from home with the occasional visit to headquarters.

This arrangement will be flexible for you and your employer. You will not need to use up time and money for travel and your boss will save the cost of a desk!

If you work in administration, retail, leisure, health and care then it is unlikely that you can work from home.

Regardless of your sector specialism, you may be able to negotiate some flexibility re hours and times worked with your employer, providing it is reciprocal.

Finding a part time role

There are several options on how to find a part-time role; the easiest being through your own contacts such as former colleagues, and networking with existing and new contacts (including LinkedIn).

If that does not deliver, then you will need to go to the market and apply for jobs that have been advertised. This will pose a challenge due to the volume of applicants, recruitment agent AI filtering software, lack of access to the decision maker/s, mismatch between your skill set and the required skill set in the brief.

The key to success will be having a professional CV with a covering letter highlighting your suitability for the role.  Here are my tips to get you to the top of the pile!

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Top tips

Job Description Read full job description and check that you are a match for the role taking into account – skills and experience required; industry experience; hours required, professional or basic qualifications, access/transport; home/office working. You need to be brutally honest here; unless you are a good match, don’t waste your time applying.  Instead, aim for roles that appear to be the perfect fit.

CV: Review my blog Tailoring your CV for flexible and part-time roles , making sure that your CV is bang up to date, especially your last or most recent role.  Don’t forget to update any changes such as email addresses, telephone numbers, salary target, and where you live.

Review your profile paragraph and edit it so that it is targeted for the job for which you are replying.  You should highlight your relevant skills experience and include your reasons for wanting to work part-time.  You should also indicate the number of hours/days that you can offer or if you can be flexible.

Cover Letter: Although you will have highlighted the key information in your CV, the covering letter will provide an opportunity to give some depth by way of example.  However, you don’t need to relate your life story – just brief overview outlining your experience and suitability. No more than 100 words.

Key points to get across: Why you want a part-time role; why you are a good match; that you are flexible and committed; and point out if you are immediately available assuming that you are!

Other information: If an agency, call them in the next 2 or 3 days to check that they have received your application. Ask them when you will hear if you are successful. If it is a direct application to an employer, you ought to have much better odds of getting to the interview.

The point of the exercise is to trounce the competition and have the best and most relevant application. Statistically the majority of applicants for part-time work are looking for full time work and therefore unsuitable.

A word of warning; A key aspect of suitability is usually the desire to remain for a reasonable period ie at least one or two years.

Other part time work considerations

The gig economy

The gig economy is where people work as and when needed by an employer or if they are self-employed, they contract with another business or company that provides work as and when available. There is a grey area as to whether those who work in the gig sector are in fact employed. Generally it is seen as convenient for those who dip in or dip out as they see fit.

Most of us will have heard of Uber which offers a taxi service however, it does not own any taxis itself, nor drivers! Instead would-be-drivers buy their own car and log in to the Uber system which matches taxis with passengers. Drivers are in control at all times, opting in and out to suit themselves. It is the ultimate part-time job if you are in a position to invest and live in a city.

However, Uber may not suit everyone; there are now many other ways to make use of this way of working. For example self-employed tradesmen or freelancers can use sites in the cloud that can connect part-time workers to customers who require their services. Again, suppliers of labour can take on jobs that suit their lifestyle or busy schedule!

Other trades that can use those services include: hospitality, retail, events management, warehousing and security.

Unlike applying for an advertised part-time job, the gig economy is more transactional, thus simplifying the process and creating an efficient market place.

Self employment

For many, including stay-at-home dads, working from home starting a home-based business may be the opportunity of a lifetime.  Many services are ideally suited to home working. Examples include bookkeeping and accounting, recruitment, telesales, administration, IT, social media, and traders. If you really think about it you could start a new life!

Of course you could also become a professional blog writer.

Finally I wish you good luck in your new part-time world.


Roy Duncan is is an entrepreneurial chartered certified accountant. He has over 30 years’ experience in business, accounting and recruitment. He is owner of RG Duncan an independent, boutique, specialist recruitment consultancy.

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