Employers who need staff just for certain hours or days might not consider you for employment if you have limited availability. It's in your best interest to include several options for shifts or hours you can work especially if you're initially interested in just getting your foot in the door. If the employment application has limited space for your schedule, be creative in how you inform the employer of your availability.
Online Application Process
Unless there's a field in which to type your availability, you'll need to decide the blocks of times or shifts during which you're available and check the boxes next to those times. In case your availability is subject to change, enter your current availability on the application form. Include your future availability in the cover letter or resume you attach to your online application. If the employer's application system provides a space for additional information, indicate your future availability in that space.
Your job choice and career aspirations play an important role in selecting the hours you're available to work. For example, if you're a registered nurse new to the field, you may have to indicate that you're available for any shift, since hospitals and many clinics operate 24 hours a day and outside normal business hours. If you're applying for a job where seniority determines who gets the most attractive schedules, you may have to start with a less-than-desirable shift and bid on the shift that you actually want when you earn seniority. If your availability determines how you rank among other applicants, check the boxes for all shifts or hours, if you truly are available during those times.
Normal Business Hours
Even if you're in a profession in which working outside normal business hours is rare, it's a good idea to indicate your willingness to put in the hours necessary to do a good job. You might be tempted to simply check the box for "day" or "8 a.m. until 5 p.m.," but somewhere in your application or in your cover letter, mention that you are committed to your job duties and responsibilities and you'll work outside normal business hours whenever required.
Refrain from including hours when you're available if you think those hours will conflict with other commitments. For example, if you're planning to go to school in the evenings and you're applying for a job that requires evening work, be certain of your priorities. If it's more important for you to enroll in school, stick to that commitment and let prospective employers know why you cannot work certain hours. Many employers will respect your straightforward approach and commend you for advancing your education, especially if it ultimately benefits the organization.
- American Nurse Today: Are 12-Hour Shifts Safe?
- Job Center of Wisconsin: Avoid Application Form Errors
- Bellevue College: Weekly Schedule -- Check All Hours Available for Work
- EmploymentDigest.net: Cover Letters That Make You a Must Interview
- Shiftwork Solutions: Employee Shift Work Schedules -- An Introduction
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