Determining your work availability is super important when applying for any job role. It is also something that you will need to manage throughout your working career. As work plays a central role in the lives of many, deciding when you will be available to work is something that you should spend a considerable amount of time contemplating.
A potential employer will ask for your work availability to see if your schedule is compatible with the job role and organisation. Once you have a job, you may also have to navigate working availability when dealing with extra shifts, applying for leave or changes in the organisation.
We understand figuring out your working availability and informing your current or future employer can sometimes be tricky. So, here are some things for you to consider:
Be as flexible as you can
Flexibility is something employers value highly. Depending on the job (casual, part-time or full-time) you may need to be flexible with work availability such as working late hours or on weekends. Being flexible, especially around holiday periods, can be a great asset for you as a job candidate. If you are new to the role, try to limit your time off to demonstrate your dedication and commitment to the job and the organisation.
You should determine your flexibility within reason and what works for you. If you are not flexible with certain days or hours you should inform your employer. It is best to emphasise other days or hours you are willing to work.
Avoid giving your employer an inaccurate impression of your work availability. If you express to an employer that you are completely open, and then after you have been hired inform them you have something on, it may result in the job offer being revoked. The ability to be available when required is a desirable quality for many employers. However, honesty is best. You should be clear about when you are available to work to ensure a smooth relationship.
Business owners understand that at some point in time, their team members will need to take leave. In most job roles your leave will have to be approved by your employer. Whether you are planning a holiday or something has come up last minute, the earlier that you communicate that you wish to take some time off work, the better. In the best case scenario, you should leave enough time for your employer to ensure that your workload can be covered.
Give a clear and concise explanation
Be clear when you explain your work availability. Employers understand you might have other commitments. Therefore, your work availability may sometimes need to be rearranged. You should give a concise explanation about why you are unavailable to work, whether it is due to study, sporting or family commitments.
Changing jobs? Resist being available right away
When an employer asks ‘when are you available to start work?’, it is sometimes alluring to say that you are available ‘straight away’. Some people may say this because they really want the job, and they think it is what the employer wants to hear. If you are changing jobs, you should decide when it is best to start, to allow enough time to leave your current job role on good terms.
Many organisations have a notice period if you wish to leave. Depending on your position, this period could be anywhere from an hours’ notice up to 4 weeks’ notice. You should be able to check this in your employee contract or enterprise agreement. Alternatively, you can check FairWork for more information. It is always better to leave on good terms, as you can keep your employer as a reference on your CV.
You can easily adjust your work availability at any time when you login to your IWant2Work account. Simply sign up, build your profile and get discovered by potential employers!