What Is an Externship? How Can You Get One?

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Jobs

In college, there’s plenty of focus on finding an internship. However, plenty of students don’t know about externships. You might be wondering, “What is an externship?” and “How can I get an externshp?

Well, an externship is a shadowing experience that allows a student to watch and learn from experienced professionals.  Like most internships, externships are typically unpaid. However, unlike an internship, an externship is usually for a short period of time – sometimes lasting only one day.

Externships are often held over a student’s winter or winter break. Students don’t typically receive school credit for their externship experience.

During an externing, students can observe the workplace, engage in group learning activities, and shadow a specific industry professional. That’s unlike internships – where you’re expected to work as part of the team.

What are the Benefits of an Externship?

Just like internships, externships are very beneficial to your professional development. Here are some of the benefits of an externship:

  • No-pressure exploration: While internships function like entry-level jobs, externships are meant to provide students with a no-pressure opportunity to explore their area of interest.
  • Expanding professional network: Externing experience gives students a chance to interact with industry professionals and expand their network.
  • Building professional experience: Nowadays, even entry-level jobs require candidates to have some level of professional experience. Just like internships, externships can form part of your professional experience.  
  • Professional feedback: Students can get feedback on their skills from industry professionals, which they can use to further their career development.

Tips for Getting an Externship

Externship opportunities are rarely advertised. Students have to be proactive in seeking them out. Here are some tips to help you find externships:

  • Use your college’s career services: University career centers have developed relationships with companies to provide students with learning opportunities. Check whether your college’s career services can connect you with an externship in your area of interest.
  • Check with industry professionals: You’ve probably built a network that includes professionals in your industry. Reach out to them and ask if you can shadow them at work for a while.
  • Use your student organizations and clubs: Student organizations and clubs can also be of great help when it comes to finding an externship in areas they specialize in.
  • Through mentors: Mentors can also help you find externship opportunities. They can connect you with other industry professionals. Alternatively, your mentor can arrange for you to shadow them in their workplace. Join our mentorship program to be matched with a mentor.

Now you have more clarity on what an externship is, its benefits, and how to get one. Remember, you have to be proactive to get the most out of your externship. Prepare questions and show up ready to learn.

After your externship experience, take time to reflect. What are the tasks you completed? What did you learn? Lastly, don’t forget to include your externship experience in your resume.  

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