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Eastern Illinois University

Career Services

Internships & Externships

In today's competitive job market, it takes more than a degree to land a job upon graduation. That's why an internship is very important to your overall education experience. Employers look for work-related experiences when choosing candidates. An internship proves that you can do the job and will give you a decided edge over another candidate without an internship. Many employers look first at their own internship pool when filling positions.

Internships provide you with an opportunity to learn in a real work environment with professionals in your field. You'll be able to develop skills and work characteristics that employers seek, including developing your communication and interpersonal skills and learning how to work with others. You will also have a better understanding of what people in your field do, gain more confidence in your abilities, and learn how to get things done. In general, you will be better prepared to enter the world of work in your chosen field.

Participating in an internship will also help you decide if you are really suited to a particular profession or field. If you decide it isn't for you, you'll still have time to modify your plans.



Jamye Camfield did an accounting internship at Lake Land College.

"In my job search, I noticed that having more than one internship was a definite advantage for getting job interviews and higher salary offers. I would recommend that all students get at least two internships in their field if they want to set themselves apart from all the job seekers. If I could go back I would have done more. I was so focused on just getting the course work done and thought they were a waste of my time. Now, I completely see why it's very important."

Share your internship experience with others! Send your photos or video clip and story to

Do an Externship! (a.k.a. Job Shadow)

What is an Externship?

An Externship is designed to help underclassmen obtain an accurate understanding about the daily routine, skills and demands of a particular career. Early identification of a career allows students to select the major, elective classes, activities, internships and professional development plan that provide the skill sets required by specific fields.

What will I do as an Extern? 

Student externs observe day-to-day activities of an organization and assist with a variety of projects or short-term activities, such as:

When should I do an Externship? 

You are encouraged to be an Extern as early as your second semester freshman year to gain knowledge to assist you in making the right choices regarding your major and your career.

How long is an Externship? 

Externships generally take place during non-class days, semester breaks, and holidays. You could be placed at an organization in your hometown or near Eastern Illinois University's campus. Externships can last from 2 hours to a full 8 hour day.   

How can I benefit from an Externship?

An externship gives you the opportunity to:

HOW DO I find one?

Informational Interviews

Informational Interviews may take place at the professional's place of employment or may be conducted via phone. Occasionally, some areas of profession have confidentiality issues that prevent a site visit. Here, an informational interview might provide insight into the career field. In an informational interview, you can speak with experienced professionals and learn whether you are on the right career path.  It is also a good chance to practice interviewing skills without the pressure of a job interview!

Important Tips for Students

Informational interviews are to be taken as seriously as regular interviews. Do your homework and be prepared! Check out the Interview Section for assistance.

What Students are Saying about their Externship experience...

"All in all  it was an interesting and educational experience. I don't think that I want to work in a strictly Special Education environment or work with children that are young. I am glad to know that now, instead of after graduation!"

"My externship was a great experience. It totally changed my career options and helped me focus on what direction I wanted to go. I received valuable advice from the employer and plan to apply for an internship next year."

"It helped me to make a decision about what major to pursue."

"I learned that I don't want to work in a clinical setting."

"This was a great experience! I am very interested in pursuing a career in Forensic Science and (the Externship) gave me an understanding of what a career in the field would be like."

"I would tell (students) to do an Externship because the experience you gain is very valuable and you can learn so much from someone that is already working in the field that you plan to go into."

"Students can see how well a field suits them by actually asking professional questions. The observing of the job is excellent and just might help them make a decision on what career to pursue."

"Very valuable, helpful, and well worth the time!"

Recent Externship Sites Include: 


Career Services

1301 Human Services, Charleston, IL 61920

Office Hours

School Year Hours: Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm Summer Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8am - 4:30pm Friday: 8am - 12pm