To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer?

Career Blog Jill-Klees

Q: I have been volunteering at the reference desk of my public library for 1 1/2years. But my plate is filling up with work, internships, etc. Is it worth it to keep volunteering there to “stay in the system” from a hiring stand point? I realize my first library job could be in any setting but I feel like I have learned all I can there considering the restrictions of the position. If staying on the books as a volunteer could give me an edge in the job market should a position open up in the public library system, I would make it work.

A: If you lack LIS related experience, volunteering is an excellent strategy to gain relevant and current experience, develop your networking contacts, build skills for your resume, and more. But once you have maxed out this experience and you are moving forward with internships and other opportunities, it makes sense to end this experience and move on. I recommend keeping in contact with your network as the relationships you develop here can play an important role in your job search strategy. Taking advantage of a variety of related experiences is the way to build a well rounded skill set that you can highlight on your resume.