Externship - Definition, How to Get One, and More

What is an externship? College students have access to a variety of tools that might help them get their careers off to a good start. Externships are one such resource. While internships are widely discussed and popular among students because of their obvious benefits, few people grasp the value of externships and how they may aid.


What is an externship?

An externship is a program that college students participate in to complement their job experience while pursuing their academic goals. It is similar to an internship in that it allows students to gain hands-on job experience, but there are a few key distinctions.

Externships are excellent tools for students who want to enter the job right away since they may be utilized to emphasize experience in many areas on a resume/student resume.

Externships are often held during the school year as part of a student's curriculum and provide an experiential learning setting in which students may get real-world experience while studying about theoretical issues.

Opportunities for job shadowing

Externships are generally the result of existing connections between universities and firms that are prepared to provide training. Externs usually conduct a lot of job shadowing and sometimes work on minor projects.

Externships offer students a unique opportunity to exhibit what they've learned in a real-world job setting, as well as a chance to assess whether the area they're interested in is a suitable fit for them. Externships are often done for the purpose of gaining experience rather than money.


If they do give compensation at all, it is minimal. Externships, on the other hand, provide you the opportunity to study in a real-world situation and ensure that you're on the correct track.

Internship vs. externship

Internships and externships are similar in that they both provide chances for hands-on learning, but they are also extremely different in other ways. Here's how to do it:


Internships are generally long programs that last weeks or months and are performed during the summer or while attending school. Externships, on the other hand, are not like that. Externships, on the other hand, provide a brief but intensive program that allows you to gain exposure to many elements of a business or sector in a matter of weeks or days.

The rationale behind the program's design isn't fully practical. In fact, by shadowing a profession for a few days or a week, students may get a good sense of what the work requires and determine whether it's something they want to pursue.

Students can do numerous externships to apply their talents to different employers until they find the most gratifying match because internships are short and intense.



Externs may be expected to take use of a variety of learning opportunities, such as job shadowing, attending conferences, studying in groups, practicing a variety of operational duties, completing minor projects, and working through any specific processes.

Externs may encounter many various aspects of an employment in a short period of time due to the program's design, whereas interns will conduct day-to-day activities across several months.


Externships are less thorough training than internships since they offer brief previews of what a normal career may be like for a prospective student. Trying a few externships before finishing an internship might be one approach for choosing a potential job path while in college.

The appropriate externship may show a student whether or not a particular field is a good one to intern in. Even if you don't wind up working in the industry where you shadowed, it's still valuable experience for your resume/CV immediately out of college.


There are exceptions to every rule, but externships are generally unpaid. Because of the program's nature and length, it seems reasonable that they would be finished for experience rather than to gain money quickly. Generally, externships are only an opportunity for students to job shadow in their career field. This makes it great for the law field (e.g., legal extern) or nursing field.

Learn more about the difference's between an internship and externship.

How to get an externship

Here's how to get an externship program:

University services

Externships are usually created as a result of a collaboration between a college or university and the organization providing the learning experience. As a result, if you're searching for an externship, it's a good idea to speak with your assigned adviser first.

You can check with your college's career services office if you don't have an adviser or don't know who it is. Companies and organizations can be contacted directly, too.


If you decide to look for externships on your own, networking is a good place to start. It's always a good idea to expand your network, whether it's by attending a business networking event as a student, reaching out to existing business contacts, or visiting conferences and engaging in educational programs where you meet individuals in your chosen area.

You can ask for externship referrals once you've built a network.

Using social media

You can also utilize social media to broaden your network and seek for assistance in locating an externship.

If you don't already have a profile on a business networking social networking website, now is an excellent time to establish one while you're still in college and looking for professional possibilities.

Professional and education services

Externships can be arranged through community groups such as a rotary club, chamber of commerce, or other non-profit. Contact groups that rely on community ties for funding and membership to see if they can help you find an externship. Externship options may be available from government institutions such as a courtroom or police department.

If your college or institution does not provide externship placement assistance, be prepared to get creative with your search.


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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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