Before you choose a full-time job, it is wise to invest some time to learn what it is really like. Every job and every company is different and getting a glimpse into the day-to-day life of your future career can help you make important decisions about what you want to do. You can have a sneak peak at different professions via externships.
Externships are experiential learning opportunities. They can take place in any job, with any company, in any industry. Culinary, business, medical, law, nursing, software engineering, entertainment, sports management, social media, and more – the options are endless.
They are designed to give you an introduction to jobs, companies, and careers.
Externships give you a taste of the working world and can help you make decisions on your career path and in your job hunt.
Externships are similar to internships, but different. An externship is more like job shadowing. Typically, they only last one or two days, although some may last up to a few weeks. This means that externships can easily occur over school holidays or during days off. The short time period means that you can participate in many externships and gain valuable and insightful knowledge about your potential career path.
At the company, you are hosted and supervised by company volunteers who show you a day in the life of an employee. This may include taking tours of offices and facilities, participating in company projects, meeting co-workers, or observing others. During an externship, you can see how theoretical knowledge is transferred to applicable skills.
Anyone can find an externship if they are proactive. If you are interested in a job or a career, contact the company and see if there is anyone available to shadow for a day or two. You can use your vast network of contacts or send in an email, or be old-fashioned and use the phone book. The important thing is to sound eager and excited to learn about a specific department at a specific company.
Sometimes schools will help arrange externships, but it is more common for students to arrange them on their own. Externships do not give university credit and are not paid.
Externships offer many benefits. By only making a small time commitment, you can learn about a company and a job. It allows you to realize there is a huge range of opportunities and options available. Spending a day in a company is great way to gain experience, build your resume, and establish contacts.
Often a short-term externship can lead to a semester-long internship or a full-time job. They are wonderful ways to get your foot in the door, learn from experts, and get a quick snapshot of life in a professional workplace. Externships can also help you make important life and career decisions.