Career Services

What is an externship? What are some externship activities? 
An externship gives you the opportunity to explore a specific career path,
gain marketable job experience, and make professional connections by
working with hosts employees or employers who are currently
working in your field of interest. The primary purpose of the externship
program is career exploration. You will most likely participate in the
following activities:
• Shadowing one or more professionals
• Attending meetings and presentations
• Touring the department
• Conducting informational interviews
• Participating in daily operations that will provide hands-on exposure to the career field or industry
• Completing a relevant project, if the externship is long enough

What are the benefits of an externship?  
This experience should help you better understand a work environment
and a career field, helping you clarify your career goals. You will also
be able to:
• Learn more about a job or occupation
• Understand what a particular job is like on a daily basis
• Expand your network of professional contacts
• Experience the culture of an organization
• Have your questions about a job or occupation answered
by professionals in the field

Am I eligible for an externship?
Any current  undergraduate or graduate student is eligible to participate in the  externship program. However, only one student may be placed at each site. This means that externships are competitive and the most prepared candidate will have priority. We encourage all applicants to consider alternative companies if they aren't placed in the first choice.

How do I apply for an externship?
All current degree-seeking students can apply through Handshake,  
Locate the job posting entitled  Externships (716992), and submit your resume and a cover letter.  A sample cover letter to assist you in this process. Upon submission you will be contacted by  Career Services to arrange a screening interview and determine placement.

How are externship placements determined?
Externship placement decisions are made by Career Services. They will
be based on application materials submitted and interviews. Apply for
at least three externship sites to increase the likelihood of placement.

How are applicants matched?
After the application deadline has passed, all applications will be
reviewed. Once applications have been read and processed, you will
be notified about interviews. If selected, you will be matched with an
department host if it is over fall break and a company host if it
We will make every effort to place all interested students in suitable
externships; however, we cannot guarantee placement for all students. Since
the primary purpose of the externship program is career exploration, students
with less exposure to the career field who submit well thought-out applications will be given placement preference.

How long is an externship?
Externships are available during academic breaks, and specifically designed so a student can participate for a full two-to-five day experience without the conflict of classes or other work.

Do I need to be available during the entire externship period to be eligible?           
The externship program takes place when classes are not in session. Since
externships are usually two-to-five days, you are expected to be available for
the entire length of the program. However, we do ask you to be flexible during
that period of time for scheduling purposes. You are required to participate in
and complete any externship you are matched with and agree to pursue.

Who serves as externship hosts?
Review a full listing of active hosts by clicking on the black "Externship Sites" tab above.  Some of our hosts are also alumni of.

Can I put an externship on my résumé?
It's a valuable, but brief, learning experience and shows initiative on your part - which is a plus on your resume.  Indicate that it occurred over spring break and provided 3 skill bullets about the areas in which you were trained.

What if I am not selected?
Students can apply to a maximum of three externships. You are encouraged
to apply for three positions, as you may not get your first choice.

What is the difference between an externship and an internship?
• Externships are short-term (two-to-five days), and offer no pay or
academic credit; internships may involve academic credit and can
be paid or unpaid.
• Externships are a brief learning experience and an extended site
visit where the sponsor puts significant time into hosting you and
giving you a learning experience. Internships are longer-term.
Length of one summer is typical, but internships could also run
from several weeks to a year.
• With an internship, you could be employed long enough for the
employer to benefit from the training you are given.

Can students earn academic credit?
No. Academic credit is at the discretion of your academic department.
Remember that this is a two-to-five day experience.

Who pays for externship expenses?
You are expected to cover any costs for the externship program, so you
may want to select externship sites in locations that will minimize any
travel, meal, or lodging costs.

Why not use your academic breaks to start your career?
Career Services can help you find an externship as well as assist with
your job search, exploring majors, career counseling, mock interviews,
informational webinars, alumni connections, finding mentors, internships,
and much more.

Kathryn McLaughlin
Graduate Intern