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What is a an externship experience?
An externship is an unpaid learning opportunity for students to spend time observing and shadowing a professional on the job for the purpose of investigating a career field
- Gain a better understanding of work environments and career fields.
- Obtain information on which to base and clarify career goals.
- Expand your professional network (if you make a good impression!).
- Assist Virginia Tech students in exploring and/or confirming a career path.
- Expand your ties with Virginia Tech; students often learn about organizations from other students who talk about their experiences.
- Identify a future intern or full-time employee.
- See your organization from a fresh perspective by gathering student feedback.
What do students do in an externship?
This varies based on the organization and the career field.
In addition to shadowing your organizational sponsor, it could include:
- Observing the work that is conducted in one or more departments.
- Learning about professionalism, confidentiality and procedures that may apply in the workplace.
- Conducting informational interviews to learn about the jobs of different individuals in various roles within the organization.
- Assisting with basic office tasks.
- Observing interactions with customers, guests, clients, patients, etc.
- Sitting in on meetings.
- Touring the facilities of the organization.
What academic level must students be to do an externship?
An externship can occur as early as high school and can be done throughout one's career.
Therefore Virginia Tech students of any major or academic level may take initiative to seek an externship experience that is related to a career field of interest.
An employer may have preferences or requirements related to academic level or prior experience. Students seeking externship experiences will communicate with employers regarding their preferences and requirements.
When and where, geographically, do externships occur?
This can vary considerably depending on the circumstances and location of the student and the workplace sponsor, and the career field. Some examples:
- A student might have a scheduled time weekly to spend in an externship in an office/work environment over the span of a summer, a
semester, or much longer.
This could occur in summer at a location where the student lives.
This could occur during a student's enrollment at Virginia Tech if the workplace location were in commuting distance of campus.
- During school breaks, the student might arrange a full work-day, or multi-day intensive externship experience that might span one to five days, or longer. This could be any location where the student could have access, such as your home/family location, near your campus location or elsewhere.
How do students get started?
Attend an externship information session.
How do employers express interest and get started?
Ready to sponsor: Post position in Hokies4Hire.
History of externship opportunities with Career Services
- The Career Services Externship Program began in 2004.
- Career Services now offers a flexible-timing program to teach students how to seek out externship opportunities, and enables employers to post those opportunities. This allows the timing of externships to be flexible based on the schedule of the student and the needs of employers.
- Students will learn search skills and how to exhibit professionalism in the search process and throughout the duration of the externship experience.
- Students may seek out employers based on career field, location and timing.
- Employers may post externship opportunities on Hokies4Hire.
Externship information sessions for students: SCHEDULE
Multiple sessions are offered during fall and spring semesters.
Choose one session to attend.
Sessions assist you in the process of seeking an externship experience, teach you skills to communicate with potential employers in a professional manner, and give you resources to get the most out of the externship experience.
For questions not addressed above, students and employers contact:
- Ms. Ali Woodworth
Past sponsor quotes
"Externship provides mutual value. It provides us another way to give back to VT by providing our time in exposing future graduates to the 'real world' application of their degree benefiting the student. It also gives us the chance to begin a relationship with a student as a potential summer hire or permanent hire upon graduation a benefit to us as an organization."
- Mark Meno of NAVAIR
"Our externship experience was great. Our student did such a great job that we offered him an internship for the following semester. This is a program we will continue to participate in."
- Nanci Hardwick, CFO of AVID LLC
"An externship is a great opportunity for both the student and the company to learn more about each other. This helps the student make more informed decisions about their future and the company knows how to better to support them. In addition it gives a leader an opportunity to positively impact a young person's life at an important time in their lives."
- Andy Bates of American Infrastructure