Part-time work comes in many forms. It can be less than an 8-hour work in a fast food chain, a contractual project with a company, working freelance for a publication, a little business run on the side, or working on retainer mode for any number of employers.

In other words, part-time work is any kind of job that doesn’t require you to do the traditional 9-5 work day routine. In the past, while this kind of work would be called in local parlance as a “raket” and was often frowned upon, it is now more openly accepted by people, both employers and employees alike.

This is due to two things: the changing corporate structure makes use of technology that requires more things to be accomplished at a faster rate than employers can hire or afford people to do it, and second, the new workforce culture is encouraging more people to take charge of their careers by going back to school, pursue larger pay checks by increasing their work load, and generally, focus less on company loyalty and more on professional self-development.

More importantly, part-time work discriminates no one: student, housewives, the unemployed, or even people who have regular jobs. Anybody who has a normal routine can seek a part-time work outside of his or her “regular” life in order to earn more income.

A caveat: looking for part-time work or maintaining one is not easier than other forms of employment. As some employers hire part-timers via a referral system, it will take awhile to create a network, build a name or a niche, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. You also need to be adept at time management if you will be juggling work with several other things in your list, like school, family, or another job. And be careful in being clear with your employer on what company policy is on doing other work outside the company. Some employers openly encourage this, if there is no conflict of interest, while others do not allow it.

Now if you’ve settled the issues and are ready to embark on a new work adventure (on the side), here are some tips to help you out:

Be on the look out for every opportunity. Aside from the regular classified ads in the major dailies, search the net, ask your friends, former bosses, classmates, your school, or the organization you belong to. An opportunity can come out of anywhere. For instance, many local publications keep a lean staff and outsource most of their articles to freelance writers. However, you need to apply in the same way most regular workers do, especially if you don’t know the potential person who is going to hire you. On the other hand, a friend of yours, or a family member might also be a source of good opportunities, one that is easier to acquire, if you have a personal connection with the employers themselves.

Treat part-time work like any regular job. Just because it’s a part-time job doesn’t mean you are going to give part-time effort. Just like in everything in life, give your 100% best, and expect to reap the rewards of more opportunities opening up to you in the future. Put your heart into your job, even if it’s just taking a few hours from your day or just a few days from your week.

Be organized. The most common type of part-time worker is one who earns a living by doing freelance. If you decide to freelance, that means working for several people on different projects or agreements. It takes a time management guru to strike a balancing act on a successful freelancing career. If this is what you intend to do, you don’t cancel appointments with someone just to keep an appointment elsewhere. This will ruin your name and close any other good opportunity that should’ve been forthcoming. Paper-based organizers are just as good as electronic PDAs and are much more affordable. The point is, whatever organizing tool you decide on, use it and use it well.

Keep a portfolio of everything you do. If possible, keep a copy of every project you manage to complete. Clipped articles, photographs published, urls of websites created, any reference on the product that you were involved in, are all important in helping you land more jobs in the future, or prepping up your resume so you can impress your future boss when you start looking for a full-time job. The keyword of today’s workplace is “multi-tasking,” and definitely, being involved in many part-time projects will help you stack up on experience and skills you won’t get in only one organization alone.

Negotiate your fees carefully and keep a contract. Unlike other regular jobs, you get a say in a lot of things in part-time projects, even the fee that you’re charging. Do the pertinent research; find out what the rates are for specific work, in a specific quantity or quality. Always request for a contract, even from employer-friends. Make it your SOP regardless who you’re talking to. Not only will this protect you from possible anomalies, but it will give you a professional image too. A word to the wise: demanding a specific figure is a no-no if you’re just starting out. If you’ve been in a specific industry long enough to know the protocol, then by all means, practice what you’ve learned.

Establish good rapport with your employers. Many employers go back to the same person to outsource a job when they have established a solid and pleasant working relationship. Practicing good PR is advisable, especially when you know few people in the industry and will benefit well from a good referral. Give small but appropriate tokens to your employers during gift-giving seasons. Don’t overdo it. The main point is making friends with your employers so that you can sustain a longer and amiable working relationship with them.

A part-time job may or may not last forever, depending on the employer’s need or your personal goals. The thing is, “security of tenure” is not in the same vocabulary as part-time work. When a contract or project ends, you may have to go back to square one if no other offers are coming. In this case, don’t expect people to come and drop opportunities on your lap. Take the initiative and market yourself. Spread the word around, about what you can do or how much of an expert you are. You can also make calling cards for yourself, which can detail what sort of services you can perform. When put into practice, you’ll be surprised at how much work you can get on a part-time basis.