How To Indicate Availability In Your Resume

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Last updated: March 17th, 2024

availability in resume

Last updated: March 17th, 2024

Reading Time: 6 minutes

At some point in the job application process, you’ll need to discuss your availability and the schedule you can commit to with a new employer.

Your availability for a job can be more complex than a start date — because the standard 9-to-5, Monday-Friday job is becoming less standard as flexible, gig-based and virtual work expands. 

In some cases, it makes sense to pre-emptively answer the question of ‘when are you available?’ by including information about your availability in your resume. I will explain when, where and how to discuss your availability on your resume below.

By the way, do you want expert help with writing your resume? Consider using our:

When To Include Availability On Your Resume?

When your availability is relevant and needs clarification, it must appear on your resume — because it’s the most critical document hiring managers will refer to when comparing candidates.

You can also write about availability in your cover letter, but it’s a matter of both, not either/or.

(Related: How To Write A Great Cover Letter).

Key reasons you might specifically indicate your availability in your resume include:

  • The job ad indicates urgency or a specific start date. If the recruiter needs immediately available candidates, it pays to clarify you can start immediately.
  • You need to give notice period at your current role, especially if it’s beyond the usual 1-2 weeks, and prospective employers must be aware of your obligation.
  • You’re seeking casual or part-time work, perhaps because you’re studying, you have a disability or illness, you’re a carer or parent, or semi-retired.
  • The industry/role has irregular hours, for example, retail, healthcare, shift work, fieldwork, after-hours call-outs, overnight shifts, events or seasonal work on a farm.
  • You want to join a global, distributed team that works across multiple shifts or timezones and you need to show there will be sufficient overlap in working hours.

Let’s say you’re a parent re-entering the workforce after a significant break while raising your child. Maybe you’re available to start immediately, but you can’t work full-time hours because you want to be able to do the school run each day.

To make your availability clear to potential employers, you could say on your resume:

Available immediately for part-time work, 8am-2pm, Mon-Fri

Expert Tip.

Availability doesn’t outweigh finding the best fit. In particular, for specialist and senior roles, a hiring manager may be willing to wait longer for their preferred candidate to start, or offer flexible conditions to match their availability.

Where To Write Availability On Your Resume?

Include a mention of your availability at the very top of your resume, which could include:

  • In the Header, directly underneath your contact details.
  • In your Professional Profile section.

In your header contact details, stick to a simple one-line statement. For example:

‘Available for casual work, 25+ hrs/week, Mon-Sun’

Here’s an example of how you might also mention availability in your profile statement:

I’m a punctual and friendly fashion retail assistant with 5 years of experience providing in-person customer service, looking for casual work starting in February.

Important!

Don’t go into any detail about the reasons behind your availability in your resume, where space is at a premium. You might provide context in a cover letter or during your job interview.

How To Describe Different Types Of Availability.

When considering what to say about your availability, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure it’s a time frame you can commit to, as you’ll waste the recruiter’s time and leave a bad impression if you’re dishonest or mistaken about your availability. 
  • Focus on your availability, not limitations. Instead of stating ‘Not available weekends’ — frame it positively, such as ‘Available for extended hours Mon-Fri’.

Here’s how to describe different kinds of availability on your resume:

Describe Availability For A Full-time Job.

It’s not absolutely essential to highlight your availability if you’re an employed person applying for a full-time role that requires your attendance during business hours on weekdays.

There are a few exceptions where it might be helpful to explain your availability:

  • Your current contract has an end date, and you want to clarify when you’ll be free to take on a new job. e.g.:
‘Available full-time starting July 2024’.
  • You’re currently unemployed, and want to highlight that you can start immediately. Especially in a high-demand workplace, including this on your resume can be powerful:
‘Available to start work immediately’
  • Your previous role was part-time or casual, and you want to reiterate to the recruiter that you’re interested in a full-time position.

Describe Availability For Casual And Part-Time Work.

There are two key reasons to provide availability details when applying for part-time and casual positions:

  • To reinforce that you meet the job requirements. If the ad lists specific days and times the employer needs you, re-stating these in your one-liner about availability shows you were paying attention. For example:
Seeking part-time opportunities, available Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 11am-6pm
  • To avoid conflicts with your other commitments. Let’s say you’re doing post-grad study part-time and need to set aside at least 10 hours a week for coursework, and Mondays are out too, because you volunteer that day. You might put on your resume:
Available for casual work, 16 hrs/week, Tue-Sat

Describe Availability For Jobs With Irregular Hours Or Shifts.

Some industries require longer days, night and weekend work, or different schedules week-to-week.

Depending on the role you’re applying for, it can be helpful to express a willingness to meet conditions that you think the employer might value.

Here are some examples of what you could write in your resume:

‘Available Wed-Sun with extended hours on weekends’
‘Available to work a flexible schedule as needed’
‘Available to work evenings and weekends’

Describe Availability For Freelance Jobs.

Freelance and independent contractor roles may be full-time or ad-hoc, depending on the scope of the work.

If you’re a freelancer submitting a resume, it would typically be for meatier piece of work, so it makes sense to describe your availability in terms of either:

  • Your available hours, such as:
‘Available for freelance engagements of 20+ hrs/week’
  • Your ideal project length, such as:
Available for freelance project work on a 2-3 month basis’

Describe Availability For Remote Work.

If you’re applying to work with a global team that spans several timezones, you’ll need to clarify or confirm that you can meet the employer’s needs.

This could mean being at your desk at certain times that line up with other regions to attend virtual meetings.

Perhaps the employer’s main team is on the US’ east coast. On your resume, you might say:

Available 5am-1pm AEST (2-10pm EST), Mon-Fri

(Related: Best Australian Resume Examples).

Other FAQs About Availability On Your Resume.

Here’s what potential employers expect you to know.

What Does It Mean When An Employer Asks If You Have ‘Open Availability’?

They’re really asking if there are any hard limits on when you can work.

If you have other work, study or life commitments that can’t be easily moved around, then you should be honest with an employer about what they are.

You could say:

“I have family commitments that I cannot change every Sunday morning, but I’m available after 11am until as late as 8pm.”

Should You Specify The Date Of Your Availability On An Application?

If you’re currently employed, most recruiters will assume you need to provide some notice at your current job. So, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact start date.

If you’re asked to say when you can start during the recruitment process, you could say something like:

“Two weeks from my official acceptance of the role.”

How Should You Answer If Asked To Explain Your Availability?

You don’t need to share any personal details you’re uncomfortable with, but keep in mind that everyone has a life outside of work and its not unprofessional to mention scheduling conflicts.

It’s better to set the right expectations upfront rather than frustrate your boss later on.

(Related: Can You Include Your DOB On Your Resume?)

Here’s two examples of what you could say if asked for further details:

“I have commitments on Fridays and Saturdays that I can’t change, but outside of those days I am flexible and can make myself available as needed.”
“I have a six-year-old daughter and it’s important to me to be able to pick her up from school and spend the evenings with her. During school terms, I’ll be available between 8am and 2pm on weekdays, but I can extend those hours during school holidays.”

Tailored Resumes Include Role-Specific Availability.

Like every aspect of a great resume, it’s important to be guided by any requirements listed in the job description and your knowledge of the prospective employer’s business environment.

It’s distracting to mention you’re available on Saturdays if the business’ usual hours of operation are Monday to Friday. If the industry standard includes working irregular hours, it’s helpful to say you’re willing to do so.

Seems straightforward, but it bears repeating — customise your availability for specific roles to present the most polished.

Jody

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