An externship is more than just a way to get real-world experience in the field you’re looking to start a career in. For many people, it can be the deciding factor as to what route they ultimately pursue in that career. Why? Because externships give participants a sneak peek at a day in the life of – whatever profession happens to be the focus of that externship. Let’s take a closer look at what externships are, and how they can help you when it’s your turn to enter the workforce. So, what is an externship?
What is an externship?
To sum it up – an externship is some type of short-term, on-the-job training that gives students practical experience in their chosen field. That might include shadowing an employee or going straight to hands-on participation in a real-life work setting, but it’s a great way to test drive a potential career path.
What is the difference between an externship and internship?
One difference is typically the length of time they run. Externships are usually relatively brief, whereas an internship might last several months. Another key difference is that most externships are unpaid, while an internship may pay a small amount.
Another key difference is that externships count as credit toward your degree or diploma. It is set up by your vocational school with employers in the community that are ultimately looking to hire new professionals. On the other hand, internships offer a smaller number of opportunities and are pursued by many candidates at any given time. The internships include an interview process similar to a regular job. An externship is garnered by the vocational school and is part of the overall curriculum.
What are the benefits of an externship?
Benefit #1: Networking potential – By interacting with more people who are
already working in the field you’ve chosen you are able to expand those that
know you and can recommend you for jobs or give you valuable advice. The
externship also offers an insider’s perspective that could also lead to
opportunities down the road.
Benefit #2: An inside look at the career you’ve chosen – What better way to prepare for your future career than by experiencing the work you can expect in a real-world setting? By trying a wide variety of tasks, you can understand how you want to shape your career and if you prefer a specialization. You may also go into the externship thinking you want to pursue one role and find a completely new role that you are more passionate about.
Benefit #3: Minimal, short-term commitment – Most externships are designed to
fit seamlessly into your program curriculum and require no financial
investment. Externships are part of the curriculum and usually complete a
degree or diploma program. After you sit for lectures, get hands-on experience,
and learn your vocation, you get to experience the job while being mentored by
a supervisor and shadowing those that already perform your job.
Benefit #4: Help you find the right fit – Actually spending time observing the career you’ve chosen in a realistic setting can narrow your focus and help you decide if it’s the right path for you. Do you want to pick a specialization, work in a
specific industry, or at a unique type of organization? You will learn what
employment atmosphere you are looking to join, what you want in a supervisor,
and who you want to work alongside of day in and day out.
Benefit #5: Relationship building – Externships can result in life-time connections
with mentors, colleagues and other professionals in that field of interest. You
never know when you will need guidance from a supervisor, career assistance
from someone in the HR department, or help from your network. The people you find at an externship might help you get that next job. Everyone should stride to
get the most out of their Externship.
Benefit #6: Confirm your intentions –You can only learn so much from reading a book about a subject or doing mock tasks. It takes an externship to put everything into context, show you the real-world applications, and confirm that this is the job you want to do.
Benefit #7: Build an important skill set – Not only will you learn how to perform a job, but you will build important skills that will serve you well in your new career. Every vocation is enhanced by good communication skills, attention to detail, and teamwork skills. During an externship, you build the skill set that you will need to succeed in your new career.
How do externships benefit you when you’re entering the workforce?
The answer is – all of the above! But externships can also help you build critical communication skills and maybe more importantly, confidence in your ability to achieve your career goals.
To sum it up, it truly comes down to one word – preparation. The primary goal of any externship is to prepare you for what comes after graduation by putting you in the real-world environment you’ll be working in. That’s what makes an Externship such an important part of any training program. It’s also why every Occupational program at Interactive College of Technology, (ICT) includes an externship at a company in your chosen field. Because there really is no substitute for hands-on training in the actual workplace and because – your future matters. Did learning about what an externship is interest you? Maybe you’d like to learn more about the programs at ICT? Call us today. Or visit us online at – ict.edu.