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Open Availability on a Job Application: Here’s What It Means

Open Availability on a Job Application: Here’s What It Means

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The English language has a lot of stock phrases.

Many of these, like “killing two birds with one stone,” are idiomatic.

Others are just common phrases that have been repeated so many times that it’s hard to imagine their individual words standing alone.

Some of the latter, like the phrase “open availability,” seem redundant but still make sense when you dig down beneath their surface.

What does “open availability” mean on a job application?

The term “open availability” refers to times and days when you have no schedule conflicts. When filling in your open availability, enter the days and times you are available to work without a conflict. For example, you might put “weekends and evenings” or “M-F, 8 to 5” or something similar.

The importance of availability

There are many things that make good employees. Honesty and being a hard worker are often top of the list.

At the job application stage, though, it’s hard to screen for things like that. You have to just take the submitter’s word for it.

For that reason, employers will often screen applicants for a job based on their listed credentials, when they’re available to start work and other related things.

Availability can mean a couple of things on a job application. In some contexts, it can mean the earliest possible date you can start the job.>

If you see the phrase “open availability,” on the other hand, then an employer is asking what days and times you are available to work.

How to list open availability on a job application

The best way to think of “open availability” is the days and times that your “availability to work” is “open.” Since “open” in this sense is a synonym for “available,” the phrase is more than a little redundant.

However, because availability has multiple meanings, this phrase has come to be a standard way of asking for the specific days and times you are available to work if hired.

The best way to list your open availability depends on the application.

In some cases, there may be a calendar to fill out by clicking or drawing an X mark when you are available.

In others, especially on a cover letter, you may be expected to write a brief sentence or two to explain when you can work.



“I have open availability on weekends and evenings, as well as during normal business hours.”

This example shows language that might be included on a cover letter to let an employer know when the applicant can work if hired, helping them stand out from other applications.

If you have less space on an application, try one of the formats below to list your open availability:

  • M-F, 8am to 5pm
  • Fridays and Saturdays
  • Normal business hours
  • Evenings before 8pm
  • Weekends and holidays

If applying for a temporary job, it may also make sense to specify your open availability for the next few months.


What to do if you do have schedule conflicts

It makes sense that an employer would prefer you to have no other responsibilities.

If the only thing you have to do each week is go to work, you’ll theoretically be much more reliable about showing up and doing your job.

If you do have other responsibilities, however, it’s not the end of the world or your job application.

Instead, try to find the times and days you are completely available and list those as well.

Note that you should always be up front about your availability on an application or during an interview.

This can be scary, because you might feel like a potential employer will disqualify you if you have, for instance, a child you have to watch on the weekends and evenings.

But do you really want to work for someone who would rather not hire you than work around any kind of schedule conflict?

If you’re honest about your constraints and ability to work around them, you’ll likely end up with an employer who’s a much better match.