During this hectic time between midterms and finals, it can be hard to believe that winter break is just around the corner! Before you know it, you’ll have another semester under your belt and those 8:00AM classes will be a distant memory. While it’s important to take this time between semesters to recoup and have some fun, don’t overlook winter break as an opportunity to advance your career goals. You’re obviously familiar with internships, but have you considered an externship?
An externship is essentially the same as job shadowing, or following an experienced professional as they go about their workday. Unlike some internships, externships are almost always unpaid and don’t have the option of being counted for college credit. Also, unlike with an internship in which you would be assigned work and projects, at an externship you’re only there to observe and ask questions of the professional you’re following.
Although not as hands-on as internships, externships have two major advantages. First, they are typically held for a short period of time lasting anywhere from a single day to eight weeks – perfect for winter or spring break! Furthermore, externships provide a great opportunity to get a feel for an industry that interests you without the level of commitment that comes with an internship.
So, how do you find an externship? Reach out to a professional in your network (LinkedIn counts!) or contact your school’s career services center to see if they have a job shadowing placement program.