Part-time work continues to be the most appealing option for moms – even career-minded moms – who are trying to juggle work and family responsibilities.
Working part-time appears to be a natural fit. More than 85 percent of working parents find it difficult to balance work and family responsibilities, according to a new survey from Care.com and Yahoo Parenting. It’s not so surprising, then, that 71 percent of respondents said they thought moms who work part-time were probably the happiest, and 61 percent of moms said part-time work would be their ideal.
So how can an ambitious working mom find a professional part-time job that won’t knock her off of her carefully charted career path? There are more options today than possibly ever before.
Here are a few ways that you can find and seize these opportunities.
1. Consider Contracting
More and more companies are considering contractors willing and able to deliver topline results on part-time or flexible schedules. There’s some risk involved in contracting, but there are also advantages, such as diversifying your skills, experience and, of course, your resume. And there’s incentive for the employer, too. “It’s been huge since the recession began, because people began eliminating half their staff, but of course someone still has to do the work so they bring in an interim marketing person,” says Maria Goldsholl, the COO of Mom Corps. “It’s a pretty low-risk way to run a business.”
2. Target Mid-Size Companies
So maybe you left a big job in the city to start your family and now you’re looking to ease back into your career without diving right back into those 80-hour work weeks. One option would be to target mid-size or growing companies, who are eager to attract professionals with a great pedigree but can’t always afford to pay for corporate experience. How do you find these companies? By doing your homework. Follow industry news and tap into your professional networks to see what appealing opportunities may arise – startups often look for seasoned talent when they hit growth mode, and are typically willing to provide flexible or part-time work arrangements.
3. Scour Social Media
LinkedIn is an obvious start. If a company catches your eye, see if you know anyone who works there or has a friend (or a friend of a friend) who does. Once you’ve found your connection, send them a quick message to see if they’ll help you out with a referral or have some time to chat about potential opportunities. Don’t stop with LinkedIn, though. Many companies actively use Facebook, Twitter and other to actively source talent. When you find a company or industry you’re interested in, be sure to follow the key players on all of your social networks and watch for hot posts and other insights you can glean about career prospects.
4. Try Traditional Networking
Social’s great, but don’t sleep on traditional networking. Former colleagues and people you’ve connected with throughout your career and life can be some of the best leads when looking for a job – and part-time jobs are no exception. And don’t stop with the people you know -- when you’re looking for a job, you should also be proactively looking for events and meet-ups where you can make new connections and find new opportunities.
5. Leave No Site Unturned
Unfortunately, perfect part-time jobs for moms don’t grow on trees. But they’re out there, and there are plenty of sites available to help you find them. In addition to the usual suspects – Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, etc – be sure to consult sites like Mom Corps, FlexJobs and Power to Fly where you can find part-time jobs, work from home projects and other flexible opportunities for professional women. And don’t forget to look all the business pubs’ lists, like Inc’s annual roundup of the fastest-growing private companies or Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For, to see what’s out there.
6. Ask for It
If you’ve found the perfect job, even if it’s not the perfect part-time job, then consider negotiating for a part-time or flexible work arrangement. Progressive employers often value the work you can do over when or where you do it, and just because flexibility isn’t in the job description doesn’t mean it’s not on the table. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself – remember, interviews work both ways – and ask for more flexibility. Think about negotiating for more time like you would negotiating for more money. It’s like Chelsea Clinton said, “It’s better to ask and be told ‘no’ than to not ask at all.”
What advice can you offer for finding the best part-time jobs for moms? Sound off in the comments below.