I spotted this article on the the Sue Hill Recruitment blog (they often discuss some interesting topics!) about getting a foot in the door at an organisation by taking on a temporary role.
I wanted to add my thoughts; I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am now without taking a chance on a part-time temporary job.
My only previous experience in libraries was as a volunteer, in my school library as a Student Library Assistant and a couple of months in my local branch library after I finished University.
I was working in a shop in 2009 after being made redundant from my previous job, and I was employed on a nil-hours contract (which are being discussed a lot lately, but I had a good boss which made a big difference!) I don’t think I would have taken the chance otherwise; I certainly wouldn’t have left my previous full time permanent job for a part-time temporary one! (I actually did both jobs, between the two I had full time work).
As I neared the end of my temporary contract one of my full time colleagues left for greener pastures and I applied for her job, thinking it was worth a chance if only because there wasn’t additional hours available in the shop! I got it – and I was thrilled. I hadn’t decided at that point if Libraries were a long term plan for me, but I had a full time permanent job and with a lot more security than nil-hours contracts offer!
I loved my job and the more I invested in my CPD the more I knew I was on the right track for me, and I started working towards my ACLIP Certification, intending eventually to do my Chartership. Twelve months later a position came up at my NHS Trust’s other site as a Senior Library Assistant and again I thought it was worth a chance, after all I had an extra 12 months experience on my CV! I got that as well, and even better someone who was working on a part-time maternity leave contract got my full time permanent position, so it was a win-win for both of us!
I will never doubt the ability of temporary work, or voluntary work, to give you an advantage when applying for jobs, maybe you just want experience in a different library sector, or maybe you want a foot in the door at a particular library/organisation, it is very useful, and definitely worthwhile.