Because of the high demand for qualified workers, employers are much more flexible than in years past. 10 years ago, part-time jobs were largely low-skilled, minimum-wage positions; now part-time work takes all shapes and frequently involves significant responsibility.
First, identify your goals. Do you want to get out of the house? Make a set amount of money? Retrain for a different career? Your answers will determine where you start.
The easiest positions to find are those within the industry you’re already familiar with, or those in a different industry but performing a similar function as you have in the past. If you want something completely different, invest in informational interviews to see what skills you’ll need. Would you profit from going back to school? Take some time to assess what’s involved before making the commitment.
If you want to return to your previous career, start where you left off. See if your former employer needs part-time help. Be upfront about the hours and days you’d like to work; if you’re flexible, say so.
Also ask your former manager to spread the word throughout the company; a different department may have part-time assignments. And speak with personnel or human resources. They’re often responsible for hiring temporary workers in case of illness, maternity leave, or unexpected absences. Let them know you’re available–they’ll likely be thrilled to have someone who knows the ropes ready to fill in when needed.
Other hints: Start with your network; part time jobs are rarely advertised. If you’ve been out of work for a while, don’t forget to update your resume and evaluate your skills–especially computer-related skills.