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9 ways that temporary employment can help you level up your career prospects

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by Impactpool

Whether you're on the hunt for a new job due to a career change or simply re-entering the Impact sector workforce, it may take floating from one job to the next to get your dream career back on track. At first, the idea of temporary employment can be daunting; however, if looked at as just a stepping stone to where you'd like to be and leveraged correctly, it offers several opportunities to get into your ideal job quickly. 

Assuming you're wondering what these opportunities are, this article discusses nine benefits of temporary employment in the Impact Sector and explores how to make the most out of them. Furthermore, we examine career possibilities in the Impact Sector after taking on temporary work. 

But first, here's a brief look at the different types of temporary employment in the Impact Sector. 

Types of Temporary Employment in the Impact Sector

Many people who get jobs in the Impact sector are offered temporary employment, at least at first. Temporary employment gives impact sector organizations the flexibility to hire workers only when needed and limits the risks associated with being tied to an employee who isn't a great fit. Additionally, Temporary employment helps Impact sector organizations lower their labor costs. 

The types of temporary employment often vary according to the length of time the employee is given employment. Usually, after the duration of work ends, renewal of employment is not guaranteed; hence it's crucial to understand the types of temporary positions offered in the Impact sector and their corresponding length of time, so you prepare in advance for what steps to take when the terms end. 

Staff Positions

Initial positions at impact sector organizations are often subject to fixed-term contracts, which can either be renewed once they've ended or seldomly converted into a permanent role. When you receive a fixed-term contract, you are regarded as a staff member eligible for benefits such as annual leave, medical insurance, or other compensation or support. Fixed-term contracts in the Impact sector vary in length; for example, the United Nations (UN) typically awards two-year contracts, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) offers a three years renewable fixed-term contract. 


Consultancies, often used interchangeably with the term temporary worker, refers to an employee who is not regular and often doesn't benefit from career management schemes. Despite this, obtaining a consultancy role is great for familiarizing yourself with an organization and expanding your internal and external networks. Besides the benefits of increasing your network, Consultancy roles are easy to obtain. Impact sector organizations hire more consultancies than staff members, as it helps them shed costs. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has over 2000 consultants but less than 2000 staff members. 

Find all consultancies on the Impactpool site

Short term 

Short-term employment is often associated with technical expertise roles or roles to fill understaffing. However, unlike fixed-term or consultancy contracts, short-term work in the Impact Sector is not confined to paid work. Despite this, short-term workers sign contracts that stipulate the working agreement between an employee and an employer. Short-term positions often last for less than a year, and the recruitment process is less comprehensive. An example of a short-term job is an internship offered by Impact Organizations to provide learning and development experiences. 

Here are a few short-term employment opportunities that might interest you



Volunteering is more associated with helping others rather than a work opportunity. And considering Impact Organizations are all about helping others, they are often keen to have volunteers join their teams. 

With volunteering work being an initiative of the volunteer, no contracts are signed with the host organizations. Furthermore, volunteers aren't paid, meaning there are usually no regulations regarding the number of hours you work or the duration of the volunteer program. In the exception that Volunteers are paid, regulations, and contracts may apply. 

Some current open volunteering positions

Find temporary jobs

9 benefits of temporary employment for career prospects 

As mentioned earlier in this article, temporary employment offers several advantages for professionals looking to re-enter the workforce. 

These include: 

Helps you develop new skills

Whether you're new to the workforce or have taken time away from work, it's always helpful to keep developing your skills, to stay on top of an ever-changing sector. An excellent way to develop new skills is to get a temp job. And if you get the opportunity to experience several temp jobs, then jump on it. It will allow you to prove your adaptability (a sought-after trait in the Impact sector) while learning and transferring more skills.


Connects you to others and possible recruiters

Getting a temp job is excellent for networking. And if you've ever made networking your priority before, you may have established that job referrals from your networks are some of the best ways to land yourself a new job. For example, you could start by temping at a packing room at the International Rescue Committee and, through a lead from a colleague, become a Personal Assistant at the Director's Office. 

To increase the opportunities you can gain from your network; you could go the extra mile to establish professional relationships with people outside your organization. You could attend network events affiliated with your organization and, in turn, broaden your contacts with professionals happy to talk to you about roles in other organizations. 

Helps you gain relevant career experience

If you're gunning for a mid-career role in an Impact Sector organization like an NGO, they'd likely want you to have at least experience in areas such as Administration, Grant Writing, Marketing, Fundraising, or Accounting. To gain that experience, you'd have to do the not-always-so-fun temp work like sending emails, entering data, and cold-calling donors. In doing so, not only will you become more valuable to employers, but temping can also help you become more explicit about the future roles you'd like to occupy. 

Expand regional areas of expertise 

In addition to gaining technical career experience, regional knowledge and expertise can be beneficial, especially if you seek a field-related or policy-level position. For example, if you want to work as a peacekeeper in West Africa, developing regional expertise will make you more lucrative to organizations looking to hire peacekeepers in the region. By getting temporary work in your regions of interest, you will demonstrate to your future employer that you understand the target groups they cater to and can offer something to fulfill their mandate. 

Build your resume 

Working your way up or getting your career on track in the Impact Sector heavily relies on having a good resume that can attest to your experience. Building experience comes from taking up short-term employment. It doesn't matter how short the temping work is; it could be a one-month volunteering program with the World Health Organization or a six months research job for Human Rights Watch. The experience from your temporary work adds up and, when put in your resume, convinces the hiring Manager that you have enough practical experience for mid-career or even policy-level positions. 

Strengthen your brand association 

While building your resume is crucial to getting your next hire, strategically building your resume is advantageous, especially if you know the organization you want to enter or the role you're looking to fill. Strategically building your resume involves obtaining work that will make you more valuable to your future employer. This includes working with organizations with mandates consistent with your career goals or work ethics. This can be done by obtaining temporary work with organizations that will help you maintain and strengthen a specific impact purpose. For example, if you're looking to secure a healthcare-related permanent post in the future, obtaining temporary work in organizations such as Médicines San Frontières, The Red Cross, and UNICEF may be ideal for strengthening your healthcare associations. 

In addition to strengthening your career objectives, working with notable brands is a great way to convince your future employer of your competence. 

See the organization's impact firsthand

Temporary work can be beneficial to get an overview of the organization that you're interested in working for. For example, getting a short-term contract in an organization's HR department can allow you to learn more about a particular organization. You'll be able to get insight into their goal-setting process and development discussions, amongst other practices key to getting an overview of an organization's mission. You can use the information to help you decide whether you want to stay in the organization and if so, help you build your skills and expertise based on the organization's needs. 

Gain International experience 

Organizations like the Red Cross jump at the opportunity to hire candidates with good overseas experience, especially overseas experience for the country where you will take the post. Having overseas experience demonstrates that you'll have something to offer in terms of versatility, readiness, or even confidence and that you'll be able to cope with difficult situations in the country. 

There are several ways to get overseas experience; however, one of the easiest is to join service abroad programs. The Red Cross, for example, has several service abroad programs focused on various topics and located in several regions. With the experience gained in service abroad programs, proving your passion and experience for a staff post at an Impact organization like the Red Cross may become much more manageable. 

Experience in challenging environments 

In line with getting international experience, experiencing development work under challenging environments is another critical stepping stone that temporary work offers for getting your dream career. Examples of temping in a difficult environment are short-term humanitarian aid work in an area that has been affected by a natural disaster or getting a short-term contract at a charity in a war zone area. 

Temping in a difficult environment gives you the right skills to cope in difficult environments.

Furthermore, it's especially beneficial when you're gunning after, for example, field roles assisting people affected by war, natural disasters, or other humanitarian crises. 

Transform Your Volunteering Opportunity into a Job

There are several perks to engaging in volunteer work. The internal benefits of helping people and witnessing results are the most lauded perks. But, there's also being able to interact with experienced professionals from all over the world, learning skills, and of course, landing the opportunity to gain full-time work. According to research, volunteers are 27% more likely to get a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. 

When seeking a volunteer opportunity, it's essential to ensure that it aligns with your career ambitions. Gain as much experience as possible, then make your case about why you'd be the perfect fit for a permanent hire. 

Fill employment gaps while looking for your ideal jobs

Getting your ideal job usually doesn't happen on the first try. For example, you may want to be a Program Officer at an International Development organization; however, an opening may not be available, or you may lose the race to a more fitting candidate. However, while you're still searching for your ideal role, filling the employment gap with a temporary one is essential. Having long periods of unemployment can be detrimental to securing your future job, as it gives hiring managers the impression that you aren't committed. Hence, by getting a temporary role, you can plug the spaces between permanent positions and show a consistent work history to reassure future hiring managers that you are responsible. 


Gives you direction when considering studying further

Sometimes it requires floating from one temporary job to the next to discover what you really want to do in the sector. Your realization may prompt you to leap into getting further education. For example, after taking on an entry-level field-based role, you may decide that staying on the field but doing it more reflectively is what you want to do rather than advancing to a policy-level position. Based on your newly founded career ambitions, you can find an education program that will be a great match to provide you with the know-how for your future job. 

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