How to Avoid Part Time Work

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Survey after survey now confirms that a growing number of job openings are structured as part time employment. While some of this shift away from the traditional 40 workweek might be due to the debut of the new healthcare law, there’s another factor that’s largely unrecognized and just as important. The constant change going on in today’s global marketplace has put a premium on flexibility.

The global marketplace is being buffeted by a range of forces that affect large and small employers alike. These forces include the rapid introduction of new and often disruptive technology; the growth of new and hyper aggressive competitors, the development of new and potentially revolutionary business strategies, practices, and procedures; and the imposition of new and often costly laws and government policies.

The resulting instability caused by all this change has undercut employers’ ability to determine their workforce needs. Historically, they could project the number of workers and the kinds of skills they would need at least one or two years down the road. Today, they can’t tell who they will need six months in the future. In effect, their workforce of tomorrow (and the day after that) has become an enigma.

Faced with such uncertainty, many if not most employers become risk averse. Instead of hiring someone for a full time job, with all of its attendant costs and legal obligations, they hire people on a part time basis. And they do so even if it means they must employ two or more people to get the work done.

How can you protect yourself from this situation? Add ancillary skills and promote them as a part of your personal brand.

Fight the Pigeonhole

Securing employment, whether it’s in a part time or full time job, can only be achieved if your primary skill is at the state-of-the-art. Employers today are no longer competing with companies overseas that have cheaper labor; they’re competing with those that have smarter labor. As a consequence, they need workers who are at the top of their game in their profession, craft or trade, and that expertise is now an inflexible precondition for getting hired.

Once you’ve met that precondition, however, the uncertainty factor rears its ugly head. You can be an expert in your field and still see only part time job offers because employers are simply unable to tell if they will need you in the near, let alone the longer term. In other words, your core expertise will get you in the door, but it won’t get you a full time job.

What can you do? Fight the pigeonhole. Force employers to set aside this constricted view of your role by positioning yourself as a highly flexible contributor. Make sure you’re seen as a person you can adapt to and contribute in a wider range of circumstances and situations than those defined by your job.

To accomplish that reset, however, you must add ancillary skills to your repertoire of capabilities. What are such skills? As I explain in The Career Fitness Workbook, they are those competencies that enable you to deliver your core expertise in more than one setting. They include the ability to:

  • speak a second language,
  • organize and lead others in the accomplishment of ad hoc projects
  • use cutting edge software, hardware and/or systems, and
  • communicate clearly and effectively in both verbal presentations and writing.

The best way to implement this reset is with the following three-step process:

  • First, decide which skill would most enhance your ability to contribute your core expertise in a range of different circumstances.
  • Second, acquire that skill even if you are actively engaged in a job search. (And, if that’s the case, add your ongoing coursework to your resume.)
  • Third, once you’ve acquired the skill, feature it on your resume so future employers will see you as a more versatile potential employee and/or make sure your current employer knows about it and what additional responsibilities you can now take on for the organization with it.

Given current conditions, employers will almost certainly continue and even expand their use of part time work. If your job search goal is a full time position, you can insulate yourself from this phenomenon by being and appearing more flexible through the acquisition of ancillary skills that expand your range of contribution for an employer.

Thanks for reading,
Peter Weddle
Visit me at the All New

Thanks for reading,
Visit me at

Thanks for Reading,
Visit me at

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