Dear Matt: I’m making a career change and took a job outside my new field so I could get benefits. My new field only has part-time openings and I can’t find anything to fit my current schedule, even though I have a couple of days a week where I could work part-time. I’ve had several interviews in my new field but am always told my lack of flexibility was the deal breaker. What can I do?

Matt says: Would any of the jobs in your new career path eventually provide benefits? Do you have a spouse with a benefits plan you could go on for a while? Could you get your own individual plan until company-sponsored benefits are available?

The reality is, whether it’s a full or part-time job, the employee has to fit the needs of the employer. In the past, a lot of companies were more willing to work with people’s schedules and offered some flexibility, says Dan Webinger, an Account Manager with Award Staffing (awardstaffing.com), a light industrial and skilled industrial staffing company hiring for jobs in the Twin Cities and greater Metro area. But with the economy rebounding, businesses are seeing increased production levels and demands, says Webinger. That means tighter deadlines and a greater need to be fully staffed at all times.

“Even part-time jobs that previously offered flexible schedules have become more stringent,” says Webinger.

I recommend registering with a staffing firm like Award or other Twin Cities staffing companies. Register with at least two to keep your options open. As Webinger points out, firms like Award already have relationships with companies, so when these companies need workers they may never advertise the position because they rely on the staffing firm to fill their hiring needs. There are part-time jobs available, says Webinger, but they are typically for a specific project and the hours are already predetermined.

What you should really look for is a staffing firm that provides job opportunities in your new career path. Some of these also offer benefit packages, so you could find a new job in your new career and get the benefits you need.

“These companies already have relationships established with employers and they may have the perfect flexible part-time or full-time job that job seekers like this are looking for in their field,” says Webinger.

While many people do work multiple jobs, they do so knowing that they have to fit the employer’s schedule and demands. Your goal should be to find a full-time, long-term job with benefits in your new field. Until then, part-time, temporary work through a staffing firm may help you find the supplemental income and experience you need.

But remember — you are the one that needs to be flexible and fit your schedule to the employer’s needs. That will help you get further faster.

Contact Matt at jobslink@startribune.com.