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Should I Take Part-Time Work While I'm Looking for Employment?

Some employment contracts prevent employees from looking for other jobs while employed.
Working at a movie theater may give a job seeker customer service experience that will make them more desirable for full-time employment.
Some people wait tables nights and weekends while looking for full time employment.
Some part-time opportunities may be found in the classified section of a newspaper.
Temporary part-time positions may include work as a filing clerk.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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Deciding whether or not to work part-time while looking for employment is not as simple as it may seem. If a worker receives unemployment compensation benefits, for example, working a part-time job may seriously affect his or her eligibility for future income while looking for employment. On the other hand, working a part-time job is generally preferable to not working at all. Extended unemployment can have serious financial, mental and emotional effects on a person, so earning even a small income can stave off feelings of worthlessness or unemployability.

Some may view a part-time job as a hindrance to looking for employment, since time spent on a company clock is time not spent on a search for permanent employment. Scheduling job interviews or attending job fairs during the day, for example, may not be feasible if the hours of a part-time job are not flexible. A worker looking for employment may have to spend the time before and after the part-time job sending out resumes, filling out applications and emailing potential employers. A part-time job may be beneficial financially, but it shouldn't get in the way of a more permanent job search.

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Working a part-time job in a field of interest is usually a good idea when looking for employment in that field, or at least something similar. Workers with specialized skills or training often benefit by working a part-time job instead of simply collecting unemployment compensation or other government assistance. Many employers will consider hiring a part-time employee for a full-time position rather than hire an unproven applicant from the outside. In a situation where demonstrating a strong work ethic or exceptional job skills is critical, working a part-time job would be more beneficial in many cases than submitting a resume blindly.

Having a part-time or temporary job while looking for employment is not necessarily beneficial, however. Many jobs of this nature are considered entry-level or menial by employers, which means getting noticed for a more responsible position in the company may not be easy. Working in the mail room or shipping dock of a large corporation part-time does not necessarily translate into a promotion or an advantage during a formal job interview. Many part-time jobs are considered to be dead end positions with little chance of advancement. Those on a serious quest for permanent full-time employment should feel comfortable leaving a part-time job whenever a better position becomes available.

Whether or not to work a part-time job while looking for employment often boils down to long-term financial benefit. Workers who may be facing a very long period of unemployment may want to hold off on part-time employment if their unemployment compensation is sufficient for their basic needs. If permanent employment opportunities exist in the near future, a worker may benefit financially and personally from working a part-time job until a new job opportunity begins. It never hurts to keep in the habit of working while seeking full-time employment, but the potential loss of unemployment compensation benefits is also something laid-off or downsized workers should consider.

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AnswerMan
Post 1

One time I was laid off from a good factory job and I claimed my unemployment benefits as soon as I could. That was a pretty good deal for a few weeks, but then I started getting bored with just sitting around the house doing nothing. I started looking in the paper for job leads, but there wasn't much full-time work to be had out there. I finally applied for a few part-time jobs just to have something to do with my time.

Of course having additional income while drawing unemployment did create some problems, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. The part-time position did eventually lead to something full-time and I stopped collecting unemployment altogether. I was lucky enough to find a good part-time job, but I can see how some other people who are collecting unemployment might not want to take the first part-time job offer that comes their way.

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