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.
Students should do an internship by the summer of their Junior year, if possible.Undergraduate Internship Agreement Form
HANDSHAKE will give you access to thousands of internship listings across Illinois, the United States and abroad!Login to HANDSHAKE
STUDENT SUCCESS STORY
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 its very important."
Share your internship experience with others! Send your photos or video clip and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finding an Internship
- Internship Housing Options
- International Internship Opportunities
- Making the Most of Your Internship Experience
- Top 5 Reasons to Intern
Need help finding an internship? Call 217-581-2412 to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
Do an Externship! (a.k.a. Job Shadow)ApplicationEvaluationReflection / Action Plan
What is an Externship?
Eastern Illinois University's Externship Program offers you a wonderful opportunity to "test drive" a career prior to graduation.
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:
- Conduct informational interviews with a professional to gain a broad perspective of their work and how it contributes to the overall success of the organization.
- Tour the facilities.
- Observe functions and duties of a particular position.
- Attend meetings and/or client appointments.
- Observe and ask questions.
When should I do an Externship?
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:
- Explore a career field.
- Experience a workplace "up close and personal".
- Learn from to apply your major through discussions with a professional who has a similar background.
- Assess your "fit" for a particular position or organization.
- Make connections and begin establishing your professional network that can be used to obtain an internship or a job in your desired field
Benefits of an Externship
- Obtain exposure to an actual workplace and see what the professionals do on a daily basis.
- Begin building your professional network that could potentially lead to an internship or full-time job.
- Gain professional development that you can add to your resume and career portfolio.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
- STEP 1: Complete the externship application form. PLEASE NOTE: You must register at least 4 weeks in advance prior to participating in the Externship Program.
- STEP 2: Submit a resume that has been approved by a Career Counselor.
- Be sure to contact Career Services at 217-581-2412 to schedule a meeting with the Externship Coordinator to discuss your areas of interest!
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. In this case, 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 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:
- Advocate Christ Medical Center
- Aerotek, Chicago Offices
- Athletica West Loop
- Blackstone Hotel
- Carle Hospital
- Caterpillar, Inc.
- Central East Alcoholism Drug Center (CEAD)
- Champaign County Forest District
- Charleston High School
- Charleston Police Department
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago Institute of Arts
- Coles County Animal Shelter
- Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education
- Eastern Illinois University
- First Mid Bank
- Heavenly Cupcakes
- Illinois State Park
- Killian Branding
- Lakeland Homes
- Leo Burnett Worldwide
- Mayor's Special Events Office
- Red Frog Events
- Refugee One
- Rush Hospital
- Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
- Sears Headquarters
- St. Louis Blues
- St. Mary's Cancer Center
- University of Chicago