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Internship vs Externship: Differences and Meaning

Have you ever wondered why a prospective job vacancy notification will read: “We need personnel with a minimum of 3 to 5 years experience”?

Or have you seen a fresh college graduate whose resume is loaded with various job experiences as though he has graduated a long time ago?

The answers to these questions are not farfetched. This is because before you graduate from the university or high school, you are expected to have spent some valuable time either as an intern or extern at a reputable organization/company. This saves you the trouble of not getting shortlisted for a job offer after graduation.

If you have noticed, I have used the two words, internship, and externship. So, you may be wondering if the two words are the same or if there are differences between them.

Well, this article you are about to read will shed light on this and many other essential details. Such as:

Read through the information I am about to provide diligently as this might be all you need to know to get yourself an edge in the labor market. To start with,

What is an internship?

An internship is a professional short-term work experience were a trainee, a student, or a recent graduate works in a company to gain insight about a job or several job dimensions. An internship is mostly done while one is on semester break or academic activities are on hold. It spans a period of three to five months.

Internships can be done at various sections of a company. That is, there is an opportunity for everyone to intern regardless of one’s course of study.

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While it’s advisable to intern before one finally starts searching for Job, always intern in relevant places and offices that correspond with your course and the future job you have in mind.

What is an Externship?

Having noted what an internship is. Now, let us look at what externship means.

Like an internship, an externship is a practical work experience that guides college students in choosing a career path. It is a limited-time training program that equips students with valuable skills while still in college.

Externship is as important as internship even though there are still differences between them. Externs engage in job shadowing and most times, work on small projects in a company.  

Why do you need an internship?

The next lines you are about to read will expose you to the importance of an internship. Consider this an eye-opener, because it will surely trigger you to seek an internship anywhere you find it.

The following are some of the benefits of an internship;

One, being an intern avails you the opportunity to work with skilled professionals in your area of specialization.

Two, most interns get minimum payment during their period of stay in the company. Although this might not work everywhere, most enterprises pay interns.

Three, working as an intern serves as an avenue for students or trainees to learn valuable industrial skills and work with professional mentors.

Four, an internship enables people to gain the required soft skills needed for future career pursuits.

Next, having worked as an intern, you stand a high chance of getting selected for a job offer above other likely candidates because of the experience you have garnered.

While these are some of the innumerable benefits internship accords to you, there are other unmentioned opportunities you are likely to be offered for going through an internship.

Is an externship necessary?

Having seen the benefits of an internship, you may want to think an externship is of no use. However, in the next couple of lines, I will show why an externship is necessary.

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An externship is as important as an internship because of the following reasons:

One, externship exposes students to the workings of different jobs, industries, or companies.

Two, working as an extern allows you to get an internship and even be retained for job offers. However, this is assured based on your level of commitment.

Furthermore, it adds value to your resume/CV while applying for a job. Getting a job might be difficult these days. But, having a good CV  makes you the most potential suitable candidate.

Also, to a company or an organization, it presents such a company with the opportunity to explore the potential of different applicants and it saves cost as well.

Differences between externship and internship

While internship and externship are experience-gaining oriented, there still exist differences between the two. Therefore, read through them all as I give them out.

First, an internship is professional short-term training that takes long weeks or months to be completed. But, the externship period is just for a few days to weeks.

Next, most time, externs are always more exposed than an intern because the former gets the opportunity to shadow several offices and jobs while an intern maintains one job.

Moving forward, while interns gain an appreciable and almost comprehensible experience about a job, an extern has little experience because of the duration spent during the training.

Also, in most cases, externs are not paid during their stay in the office. However, interns are sometimes paid and other times not paid.

But, there have been agitations that interns should be paid even if it is a little stipend because of the duration spent working. More often than not, interns get paid if not handsomely, something worthy.

Who is eligible for internship and externship?

Just anybody can apply for an internship and as well externship. However, you have to have at least a high school graduating certificate, and be willing to work assiduously.

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How long do internships and externships take?

For anyone who wishes to become an intern, you would spend at least a month at the company you wish to intern. But, it is always advisable to spend more to gain full experience.

Externship takes a few days and sometimes a week. And you could do more if you wish. But, judging by the nature of the externship, you need not more than a few weeks.

How do I get an internship or externship?

Internship opportunities are always made public by industries or companies through their publications. So, you should always be conversant with such publications.

Also, one could walk up alone to a company to express one’s desire to intern. Externships are mostly done by college counselors or career guidance. This person links interested students with companies.

Are all externships and internships done on-site?

No. Before now, internships and externships were mostly done on-site, but with the advancement in technology and communication system. You can now intern in the comfort of your room.

All you need to do is to give time and be committed to gaining useful experience. Companies that allow online internships include; KPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte, and many more.

About Martin Vernon

A lifelong learner, educator, and advocate for education as a means for individual and social change. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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