If you’re like most people, the idea of a four-day workweek sounds appealing.
While the jobs are few and far between, there has been a slow buildup of companies moving to the shortened week, either permanently or through a trial phase. Some have already implemented the perk. Others may be one of the 35 companies in the U.S. and Canada participating in a pilot program conducted by 4 Day Week Global. The six-month coordinated trials kick off on April 1.
To be sure, CEOs are quick to point out that fewer days doesn’t mean less work. Instead, it’s a matter of productivity, organization and prioritization. Communication is streamlined, meetings are canceled.
That means companies are typically looking for candidates who can thrive in this environment.
“Our employees are working very consciously and we’re working hard. So we say the four days you’re here, you better be all in,” said Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow, who recently announced a permanent four-day policy after a successful trial run.
“You better be responsive, having incredible impact,” he added. “So then three days you’re not here, you could be all out.”
Clearly, what hiring managers are looking for depends on the job. Yet there are certain traits that can make you a good candidate.
For instance, those who are perfectionists may not be well suited for a four-day workweek, said Banks Benitez, co-founder and CEO of Denver-based Uncharted, which moved to the shortened workweek last summer.
“We seek job candidates that are able to prioritize and de-prioritize, who are able to recognize what is essential and what is not, and who are self-directed to manage their time,” he said.
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It’s also important to be self-aware to know when you are at your best, and when you’re not, and to understand that work will always feel incomplete, he said.
Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce developer, looks at candidates who will add to its culture by bringing fresh ideas and experiences.
“Everyone that joins us will help us live our Conscious Culture and be fiercely committed to our mission of creating the best company on the planet and democratizing commerce along the way,” said Jennifer Christie, Bolt’s chief people officer.
How to find the jobs
You’ll have to get a little creative when searching for jobs with four-day workweeks, since it isn’t necessarily a category on job search websites.
Use a keyword search, puting 4 day week or 4 day workweek in quotation marks, suggests Brie Reynolds, career services manager and career coach at FlexJobs. You may even want to try additional searches by spelling out four.
Looking up the companies that offer a shortened workweek is another avenue. There is a list of such organizations at fourdayweek.com/companies, from Bolt’s Conscious Culture Initiative. Go to each company’s career page to look up jobs and sign up for job notifications via email.
“They may not have something you are looking for right now, but they may have something come up in the future,” Reynolds said.
How to stand out when applying
If you have any previous experience in a reduced workweek, it is really important to highlight it, either next to the job title or in a bullet point on your resume, Reynolds advised.
It doesn’t have to specifically be a four-day workweek, but can also be a reduced number of hours or compressed workday. The reduced or flexible hours don’t necessarily have to be officially sanctioned by the company, but can be a schedule you worked out during the pandemic, she said. The key is to show that you have experience working in this different environment, she said.
“If you don’t have experience in a flexible or compressed type of workweek, then you really want to focus on the skills you have that would make you effective,” Reynolds said.
Those skills include the ability to focus, prioritize and stay organized. Give employers a sense of how you get things done. For instance, in your cover letter you can say how you stay on track each day.
As with any job search, networking is also important. Ask former and current colleagues who have worked at other companies about your interest to work a four-day workweek and see if anyone has any leads, Reynolds said.
Thinking outside the box can help you land your next gig.
“At Bolt, we’ve hired people from job boards, recruitathons, events, social media, our networks, and many other channels,” Christie said.
“Don’t wait for a recruiter to reach out. Be proactive and connect with companies that demonstrate they prioritize balancing execution and humanity.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.