Externships are similar to job shadowing gigs, typically lasting for a short length of time ranging from a day to a week. By doing an externship, students can discover the day-to-day responsibilities of a professional in a certain field all within a short period of time as opposed to an entire semester or summer. During an externship, students have the opportunity to observe, ask questions and get to know what it’s like to work in a particular job field, making them great opportunities for students still undecided with their field of study.
An externship sounds a lot like an internship, but there are some differences. The most obvious one being the length of time. Interns typically commit to working for an organization for at least a semester whereas in an externship it’s only a few days. Students who apply to internships are usually upper undergraduates who already know what career they’re interested in pursuing; students who apply to externships are usually in their first or second year of college and are testing out different career options by way of shadowing a professional in a particular job field.
Externships are usually found through college career centers where they have a list of employers that host externships to students. Internships can be found through other means like college job networks or by using outside sources like job seeker sites or an organization’s website.
Another difference between externships and internships is the pay. Internships can pay or offer college credit. Externships don’t offer either option. An intern is being paid or receiving credit for working to help the organization; in an externship students are typically there for informational purposes only and may or may not help out the organization depending on the type of externship offered.
Like an internship, an externship offers great benefits to students. It’s a good way to be introduced into a job field you may be interested in pursuing. By following around a professional all day, you get to cultivate a professional relationship. The person you’re shadowing could even make a great reference for you in the future. You can also network with other people you encounter in the organization. The small amount of time committed to an externship offers students the chance to do many externships, that way they can explore as many job fields as they’d like.
Were you aware of the differences between an internship and an externship? Have you ever had an externship? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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