So, when can you start? “Tomorrow!” might seem like the right spontaneous answer to this promising job interview question. Your eagerness to win the employer’s favor might also prompt unconditional assurances of being cool working evenings, weekends, and unscheduled overtime hours — whatever it takes to get the job done.
There’s a proactive way to avoid the “what was I thinking?” consequences of this hiring scenario. That is, to preempt the inevitable interview questions by addressing availability on your resume. This blog will discuss:
- What availability on a resume means
- When availability information on your resume can be beneficial
- How and where to mention availability on your resume
What is resume availability information?
Availability information on your resume indicates when you can work and/or on what basis. It tells employers upfront whether your availability matches their hiring needs — potentially to mutual advantage. You might specify your new job start date, certain days of the week, or hours when your work can be scheduled with any degree of flexibility. Your availability for full-time, part-time, or contract work — on the employer’s premises or remotely — might also be noteworthy.
Is it necessary to indicate availability on your resume?
Availability information on your resume might seldom, if ever, be necessary, such as when requested in a job posting. In typical hiring circumstances — for instance, a move from one full-time job to another in the same geographic location — employers will assume you’re available to meet the posted job requirements. The start date and other details are discussed when candidates are interviewed.
Otherwise, there are some good reasons to mention availability on your resume. It can set you apart as a proactive job candidate with a solid grasp of the hiring organization’s needs and wants.
Advantages of putting availability information on your resume
Whether it's an immediate start date, scheduling flexibility, or willingness to relocate, adding availability highlights to your resume can be beneficial to both you and prospective employers.
- Saving time. Giving employers upfront insight into your availability can make the selection process more streamlined and efficient. Better-informed decisions can be made sooner when availability is deemed compatible with the recruiting timeline or scheduling needs. This saves time and avoids unnecessary interviews.
- Clarity and concentration. By setting clear expectations from the beginning, you can focus your job search on opportunities that match your availability, avoiding conflicts and misunderstandings later on.
- Demonstrating commitment and readiness. Availability information signals your enthusiasm and preparedness to start contributing, which employers will view favorably.
- Efficient planning for a smooth transition. It’s easier for you and the employer to plan ahead of your start date, including when onboarding and project assignments can be scheduled.
What resume availability information is useful?
As succinctly as possible, your availability statements should focus solely on hiring considerations for a specific position. Any of the following indications could influence mutually beneficial outcomes.
|How soon can you start working for the new employer? This might be immediately if you are unemployed, or on a specific future date allowing adequate notice to leave your current job.
|Employers may be relieved when a new hire can start right away, especially when the hiring need is urgent.
|Are you prepared to move if offered this job? Or are you already planning to relocate for unrelated reasons?
|Employers have certainty about your willingness or intention to relocate.
|Part-time, remote, flexible, or freelance
|Do you have specific scheduling preferences or flexibility accommodating the employer’s needs? For instance, are you willing and able to cover absentees on sick or parental leave? Unpopular shifts or otherwise difficult-to-fill positions?
|This could help employers who can’t offer full-time work or have unusual, irregular, or typically undesirable scheduling needs.
|Are you available for part-time work now as a student, then full-time work after graduation?
|This might fit the employer’s scheduling needs and reduce onboarding time and costs.
|Temporary or seasonal
|Are you well-suited for limited-term employment — perhaps an internship, contract work, or a project-based role? What about extra coverage during peak vacation periods or holiday-related activity?
|Employers might otherwise have difficulty filling such positions.
Unavailability matters too
Some resume availability statements actually imply unavailability. There may be dates, days, or hours when you can’t work due to other fixed commitments. Or perhaps you’d rather not work during certain time slots. Such resume disclosures can still take a positive rather than negative angle — only indicate when you are available to work, not when you are unavailable.
How and where to convey availability on your resume
Resume availability statements should be explicit, clear, and concise, as these examples illustrate:
- Able to work nights and weekends as required
- Available Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 5 pm
- Seeking seasonal work from May 1 through October 31
- Available to work up to 24 hours a week with a flexible schedule
- Available to start after August 6
- Seeking freelance assignments or a project-based contract position
Such statements could appear:
- Below your name and contact information in the resume header
- In a dedicated resume section entitled “Availability” or “Work Schedule”
Another option is to integrate your availability information with a statement in your resume objective or summary (sometimes called profile or personal statement) section. Here’s an example of an objective statement:
- Passionate sports coach with 7+ years of high school sports department experience, seeking a community league summer contract position during the months from June through September.
5 Tips for presenting your resume availability information
- Keep it short, straightforward, and subtle enough to not detract from your resume’s emphasis on skills and work experience.
- Use clear, specific, and unambiguous language.
- Tailor your availability to each job application.
- Don’t explain the reasons for your availability; this has no bearing on the selection of candidates who can elaborate if interviewed.
- Do mention availability in the cover letter accompanying your resume.
- While there’s usually no need to indicate availability on a resume, it can sometimes help hiring managers make better-informed decisions at earlier recruiting stages.
- Resume availability statements should be clear, concise, and relevant to the posted job requirements.
- Availability information should never overshadow the other crucial resume elements highlighting skills and professional experience.