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I am looking for a new job, I want to reduce my schedule from 5 days a week (8-5) to 4 days a week (8-4). I don't want to waste anyone's time, so I want this apparent from the start. If the employer does not allow for a note in the application process, how do I reflect my scheduling requirement?

Note: I plan to apply to full and part time positions. Since I am in a professional role, majority of positions are full time.

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  • Where are you located?
    – Relaxed
    Oct 11, 2015 at 17:14
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    And what is so special about you that I would consider you for part-time when I have a full-time job to fill? Are you so much faster at your professional tasks than others or nationally known? Do you have a special skill set that very few people have? In other words why on earth would anyone with a full time position be in the slightest bit interested in you? You have to sell yourself and all I see is that you want to work less, not a great selling point. You need something really great to offset the negative.
    – HLGEM
    Oct 12, 2015 at 19:21

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If the employer does not allow for a note in the application process, how do I reflect my scheduling requirement?

If these are your requirements, you are looking to work part-time. (In most industries, at least in the US, employers consider anything 30-32 hours per week or less to be part-time).

Instead of applying for a full-time position and adding notes, apply only for part-time positions. (Or look for ads for positions that have the number of days and the total number of hours explicitly specified, and that meet your requirements.)

That way, you'll get interviews for jobs that might actually meet your requirements, you won't be misleading anyone, and neither your time nor the hiring manager's time would be wasted.

I plan to apply to full and part time positions. Since I am in a professional role, majority of positions are full time.

In my opinion, this is a mistake, and risks wasting everyone's time.

You would be far better off seeking the minority of part-time positions in your field, rather than expecting folks offering full-time positions to change their requirements for you.

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    Joe makes a good point here. OP is not actually applying with the intent for full-time work. Also, employers will likely be hesitant to take you on, as your strict 32 hours per week limit might suggest (in their minds) that they won't get any extra time out of you. Most professional (ie: high tech roles) I've worked in, nobody making more than $45,000 per year at 40 hours per week is allowed to be hourly: they have to be salaried. If the extra day off is that key, it might be worth looking into starting your own consulting business, but those are usually 70+ hours per week the first 3 years.
    – Cloud
    Oct 11, 2015 at 13:18
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The answer depends whether you just "want to" but would take a great job if it was 5 days only, or whether you "have decided to" and would turn down any job if it wasn't 4 days a week.

In the first case, you ask in the interview if a reduction in hours/days for an equivalent reduction in pay is feasible. Ask towards the end, when you know they like you. If it's a multi-round set of interviews, ask when you've made the second round. (Note: you might need to be paid a touch less than 80% of the nominal salary when reducing from 5 days to 4, with the same hours, because expenses like office space and computer hardware are the same no matter what hours you work. Further reducing the hours per day will mean an even further cut.)

In the second case, you put it in your cover letter. Anyone who won't consider a 4 day week will toss you in the reject pile, and you will know all your interviews are at least open to the possibility.

Before you start this, you need to know how strongly you want it, whether it's the same day every week that you want to be home or just one of the 5, whether working from home is an option for you, and so on. Also whether you'd be willing to start at 5 days and drop to 4 after a while. When and how you bring it up depends strongly on those answers, which only you can know.

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