If you really want to get an idea about a job in a new career, there’s nothing better than getting the chance to actually do it. Externships give you a chance to use your skills and check out the environment you’ll enter when you become an employee. It’s an inside view with the added bonus of hands-on work.
Here’s why an externship is training you’ll love:
You Can Experience a Job Firsthand
An externship is like an intensive job-shadowing experience. You’ll spend time beside workers who have the job you want—and their supervisors. You’ll also get to perform the tasks of the trade. For example, if you’re training to become a Medical Assistant, you may have the opportunity to take patient histories, collect samples, provide direct patient care, and assist medical staff.
You Can Ask Questions
In fact, you should! It can be just as important to talk to someone on the job in your industry as it can be to experience what they do. You might ask a Veterinarian what it’s really like to be a veterinary assistant or a Dentist what he expects of his Dental Assistants. Professionals in the field can give you good, candid insight on their offices and the overall industry. They can give you advice on how to be successful in your career. All you need to do is ask questions and listen closely.
You Can Meet Others in the Industry
You might be surprised how quickly you can grow your professional network through an externship. Take advantage of being on-site at a place full of people in the industry you want to be a part of. Meet as many people as you can. Even those whose jobs are different from what you want to do can be great contacts. Connect with them on LinkedIn and keep in touch with those who may be willing to give you a recommendation or a lead you to a job opportunity. You might even ask one of them to be your mentor. People you meet through your externship can be great long-term connections as you begin and advance in your career.
You Can Narrow Your Career Interests
Thanks to externships and hands-on training in school, you can get a good feel of what a job entails before you are hired. But externships are especially helpful as you get closer to the workforce. Consider where you might want to work. Do you like cities or suburbs, small or large organizations? Maybe you’d really like to work in a sprawling healthcare campus. Or maybe you’d prefer helping out at a small physicians’ practice. Your externship helps with the process of elimination. Sometimes knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do like.
You’ll Add Experience for Your Resume
One of the most frustrating parts of looking for a job in a new field is that no one seems to want to hire you without experience. An externship gives you that missing piece! As you set out on your job search with your new certificate or degree, your externship—proudly noted on your resume—tells future employers that you have real-world experience. It might give you a competitive edge, especially in an interview when you’re asked to back up what’s listed on your resume with talk about your actual experience.
At Charter College, many of our programs include an externship that will allow you to get hands-on training. You’ll need to pass your coursework and demonstrate program competencies through our check-off process. And, depending on your career path, you may need to pass a background check and get different vaccinations and health screenings. But once you’ve been approved, you’ll be on your way to externship. Where will it take you? To get started on a new career path, check out all the career-focused programs at Charter College today.