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Understanding Work Schedule Terms

By Kaila Kea

Advancements in technology along with a demand for a greater variety in work schedules have given you more options for the possible work schedule of your job. Like many job seekers, you probably wear many hats in your professional and personal life, so you want a job that has a schedule that best fits your life. Understanding different types of work schedules also helps you properly navigate job descriptions that feature different work schedule terms.

Defining Work Schedule Terms

Explore this guide to help you understand part-time, full-time, flexible schedule, and seasonal work formats, what the pros and cons are, and what industries often have jobs with each of these schedule types.


A part-time schedule is typically less than 30 hours of work per week and may or may not include benefits, such as paid vacation and medical coverage.

What’s good about part-time work?

  • More free time than a full-time job

  • Flexibility to explore various careers

  • Better chance at work-life balance

The downsides to part-time work:

  • Often no benefits

  • Range of duties may be limited

  • If you don't have regular hours, your income may be unstable

Common industries with part-time jobs:

  • Retail

  • Food Service

  • Sales


A full-time schedule usually means between 31 to 40 hours of work per week.

What’s good about full-time work?

  • Stable income

  • Benefits may include medical coverage, and paid vacation

  • Often provides opportunities for advancement

  • Usually a fixed schedule

The downsides to full-time work:

  • Less free time than part-time work

  • More difficult to achieve work-life balance

  • Less flexibility

Common industries with full-time jobs:

  • Corporate

  • Hospitality

  • Finance

  • Education

  • Nursing

  • Hospitality

  • and many more

Flexible Schedule

A flexible schedule can apply to a full-time or part-time job. In a flexible schedule job, you make an arrangement with your employer to work a certain number of hours each week, working according to a schedule that you set.

What’s good about a flexible work schedule?

  • You can schedule your own free time

  • May include telework

  • Variety in workday

  • Better chance at a strong work-life balance

  • Reduced risk of burnout

The downsides to a flexible work schedule:

  • Schedule may be more unpredictable

  • Possible blurred lines between home & work

  • Limitations on collaboration with coworkers due to potential schedule conflicts

Common industries with flexible work schedules:

  • IT

  • Real Estate

  • Tutoring

  • Healthcare

  • Transportation

Seasonal Schedule

Often associated with a part-time schedule, a seasonal schedule is based on is temporary employment designed to aid a company’s increased demand for assistance during busy seasons, such as summer or during the holidays. Hours vary largely according to the need, but often require an average of 15 to 30 hours of work per week.

What’s good about a seasonal work?

  • Supplemental income

  • Employee discount

  • Opportunity to “try out” a career

  • Fills in resume gaps

The downsides to seasonal work:

  • May not provide long-term work opportunities

  • Varying hours

  • Often very busy

  • Typically lower pay than full-time work

  • Minimal training/professional development

Common industries with seasonal work:

  • Sales

  • Retail

  • Supply Chain Management

  • Warehousing & Distribution

Kaila Kea

Kaila Kea is a career coach and former contributor to the ZipRecruiter blog. She is based in Hampton, Virginia.

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