As we wind down from the Independence Day weekend, let’s celebrate freedom of choice! Recent surveys have found that 80% of U.S. workers would turn down a job that does not offer flexibility with hours and location of work.
Choosing a Job and Career with Flexibility
If you want a job with flexible hours and/or location, the best way to start is by choosing a career and industry where flexibility is the norm. Jobs in that category include freelance and consulting jobs, jobs in the trades (plumber, electrician), many medical jobs (psychologist, private speech pathologist), and personal services (personal trainer, massage therapist, interior decorator, and photographer).
The second best way of obtaining flexibility is by staying in your current position long enough to gain credibility. If your company has a flexible hours/location policy—or would be open to creating one—you can ask your manager for permission to try that arrangement.
In any case, avoid applying for jobs where the job posting clearly state that you are expected to work the hours listed at the location listed. Trust the job posting; it means what it says.
Writing a Resume That Emphasizes Flexibility
If you are already working in flexible jobs, either through a temporary staffing agency, independent contracts, or simply a penchant for moving on, here are ways to strengthen your resume for the next job:
- On your resume, use a heading like “On-Call Secretary” or “Software Consultant,” then list your premier projects and clients under that title, to avoid confusion over multiple engagements that might overlap.
- Provide details about your accomplishments so that hiring managers and recruiters can trust that you will bring value (not just a breathing body) to their business.
- Make sure your accomplishments show your reliability and commitment to deadlines, quotas, and other metrics that the company expects you to meet regardless of your schedule or location.
- Are you prone to working for a while, then taking time off? That can be a benefit if you use your time off to acquire skills, knowledge of the world, or connections. But never lie.
- State in your resume or cover letter—wherever it makes the most sense—that you are willing to travel if flexibility of location is a big plus for you.
- Make sure you define what “flexible” means to you and to the company during your job interview. For example, some companies define it as “no overtime” and others as “set your own hours as long as you meet deadlines/quotas.”