When you think about part-time jobs, you probably picture a high school student working at a fast-food restaurant or the mall. But there are actually a lot of different part-time positions available, as well as people who work them.
Students, semi-retired workers, and busy parents often work part-time. But so does everyone who makes extra money from a side hustle. (Yes, your side hustle is a part-time job!)
This type of employment has gained popularity for a few reasons. First, picking up a part-time job between freelancing, remote work, and gig jobs has never been easier. The shift in the labor market has also left employers scrambling to find staff. You could essentially walk into a store, restaurant, or hotel with your resume and walk out with a job interview.
Some people get by only working part-time. But unfortunately, too many full-time workers need a second job to make ends meet.
Whatever your situation, there are part-time jobs available in almost every industry. You can work in retail, food service, customer service, healthcare, and more.
Many part-time roles are perfect for people with specific skill sets, like tutoring, writing, and design. And if you’re looking for an entrepreneurial job, you can always start your own business or work as a freelancer.
How Many Hours is Part-Time?
The number of hours you work determines how much money you make, so this is an important question to ask.
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer regarding how many hours a part-time job actually entails. It is up to each individual employer to determine the shifts.
Generally speaking, though, a part-time employee works 30 hours or less each week.
Related: Thinking About Switching To Part-Time? Read This First
Understanding the Key Differences Between Part-Time and Full-Time Work
There are a few key things that differentiate part-time from full-time employment. Remember, there is no standard way to define either; therefore, you’ll have to check the employer’s policy for the specifics.
The major difference between these two is, of course, the working hours. A full-time worker is on duty for the maximum period the employer has set. On the other hand, a part-time worker works fewer hours depending on their scope of work and contract.
You can also differentiate the two based on their benefits. As a part-time employee, you do not get the same benefits as a full-time one. Understanding that before accepting a position is essential so you’re not in for a surprise later.
For instance, most employers do not offer health insurance to part-time employees. That means you will have to obtain your own health insurance coverage (unless you also work full-time and have coverage through that employer). You likely won’t get any paid time off, either.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Part-Time Employment
Part-time employment has a lot of benefits to offer, but there are also a few disadvantages. Consider the pros and cons before deciding if part-time work is right for you.
Pros of Working Part-Time
More Free Time
Working part-time only means you have more time to pursue other things than work. That makes it perfect for students, parents, and aspiring entrepreneurs. You may also have the opportunity to set your hours so that you can work around your other commitments.
As a part-time employee, you finish your day less stressed and still have the energy to enjoy life. Full-time employees often face burnout as they have less time to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
A part-time job helps you learn what employers require from you. It is easier to learn as a part-timer as there isn’t as much pressure on you.
Related: 30 Places to Learn New Job Skills for FREE!
Gateway to Advanced Opportunities
You can open doors working as a part-time employee. For example, if you apply to internal opportunities that pop up, you have an advantage over external candidates. The employer already knows you and what you can bring to the team, and you are already familiar with the company’s operations.
Many people work multiple jobs to make more money. The more hours you work, the more you’ll get paid. Just be careful not to overcommit yourself.
Cons of Working Part-Time
Child Care Challenges
Your part-time job may interfere with parenting in some significant ways. For instance, daycare centers may charge you more for only a few hours. Or, you may need help picking up your child from school.
You might earn less per hour compared to a full-time worker, and you won’t have the same benefits (if you get benefits at all).
More Work, Less Time
Sometimes you will have a lot of work to handle and not enough time to complete it. It can push you into working more hours than expected or essentially working “for free” to get caught up.
Working a Part-Time Job In High School
Getting a part-time job in high school is usually many people’s first taste of the working world. It also has its pros and cons.
On the plus side, working can teach students valuable life skills such as time management, responsibility, and money management. It can also help students pay for their own expenses.
On the downside, working long hours can be tough to balance with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. It can lead to students feeling overwhelmed and stressed and getting lower grades.
How to Find a Part-Time Job That Works for You
The best way to find a part-time job is to start by thinking about the kinds of places you’d like to work. Do you want to work in an office or outdoors? Would you rather work with people or with things?
Once you have a few ideas, ask people you know if they know who’s hiring. Stop by the places you’re interested in and inquire about job openings in person. Job posting websites like Indeed or Craigslist will also tell you who’s hiring.
Just keep in mind that not every organization will have part-time opportunities.
The Blueprint for Success: How to Thrive in Your Part-Time Job
Finding one that works with your schedule is the key to success with a part-time job. If you’re a student, you might want a job close to campus with hours that work around your classes. If you have a family, you likely need a job with flexible hours or that you can do from home. And if you’re already working full-time, you’ll want an evening or weekend job.
It’s also important to treat your part-time job like you would a full-time one. Be on time, work with your team, and do a good job, even if you’re only there temporarily.
Related: 33 of the Best Night Shift Jobs for Night Owls
Common Part-Time Jobs in Today’s Job Market
Virtually every job could be part-time, but some roles are better suited for shorter shifts and flexible hours than others. Here are examples of jobs that are commonly done part-time.
Many businesses are looking for accountants who will help them balance their books but don’t need them to spend an entire day at the office.
The retail industry has a long list of positions you can fill while working part-time, including cashiers, maintenance, and inventory. Retail stores often have fluctuating traffic and need more staff for those peak times.
3. Bank Teller
Banks also experience traffic fluctuation and try to avoid having staff on duty with nothing to do. Therefore, they hire tellers on a part-time basis, depending on their peak and off-peak business hours.
4. Food Service Worker
Jobs in restaurants, cafes, and bars are relatively easy to get due to the high demand. Because restaurants are open from the early morning to late night, plenty of shift options are available. You’re not limited to only fast food, though. You have a lot of options, including:
- host or hostess
- delivery driver
- manager or supervisor
- pastry chef
- food blogger
5. Data Entry
Data entry jobs can be done remotely or on-site and require strong typing skills, attention to detail, and computer proficiency. It’s a straightforward but important role for many organizations.
Should You Get a Part-Time Job?
Part-time employment is a great option to explore when looking for work-life balance. Depending on your circumstances, it may be the perfect way to balance your personal and professional life. You can decide if it’s right for you by weighing its pros and cons.
So why not explore the countless opportunities that a part-time job can offer? The perfect job could be just around the corner!
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Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.