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.
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.