From the mailbag. A reader writes,"Can I apply for a full-time job and then ask if it can be shared with another person--each of us at half time?"
Answer. Certainly. There is nothing that prevents you from applying for a position in multiple iterations. Before you do that, I would recommend some due diligence and research.
First, know as much about the position as possible. Have a realistic concept of how the position would be shared, how work would be divided and where each of you bring strength. That being written, do not apply for all positions as a job share. It's not realistic. Focus on jobs and employers that would support a shared job.
Second, do as much research about the employer as possible. Talk to human resources, connect with current employees, seek out hiring managers and supervisors - ask for and conduct as many informational interviews as possible. Is this a company that will be open to and support shared work?
Third, anticipate and address in your cover letter(s) as many of the concerns as possible. Concerns you would have heard in the informational interviews - what hasn't worked in the past or departments not willing. And support the prospect of a job share with as many benefits as you have identified. Perhaps you will save the business in benefits; maybe you will be able to outline less down time when one of you is on vacation, the other fills in. Know each others strengths and weaknesses. Be able to speak to how you work together. Demonstrate that you have put the thought into dividing the work and being successful. Do the research. Do the work beforehand.
Last, be prepared for no. Working through a job share situation can be additional work for all parties - hiring departments and managers, human resources and employees. Companies right now have a premium of qualified candidates. The goal of hiring is to alleviate work; job shares can create it. If the answer is no, be gracious. If you have the opportunity to talk to the hiring department or human resources, ask for feedback on other opportunities. How you handle this conversation could be a tremendous springboard to other opportunities.
Any additional thoughts?