What is an Externship?

An externship is a short-term shadowing opportunity that typically lasts one to two days and is focused on learning, networking and observing.

Why Do an Externship?

Help you choose your major(s)

Are you in the process of choosing a major, changing majors or considering a second major? Gaining first-hand exposure to potential career paths will give you insightful information to help as you determine how your skills, interests and values influence your major selection.

Explore possible career paths

Are you still trying to decide on the path you want to take after graduation? Externships are very beneficial and an easy way to gain a better understanding of how your major(s) and other academic experiences relate to a career.

Looks great on your resume

Are you looking for things to add to your resume? Along with internships and on-campus leadership positions, externships are great ways to show your interest in a particular career field.

Network with fellow Denisonains and friends of the college

Do you want to know what alumni and other professionals have done with your major after graduation? The vast majority of externship hosts are either alumni or people affiliated with our university. Not only can they tell you about their career paths, but they can also provide ongoing mentorship and potentially connect you with internships and full-time job opportunities.

Still get to enjoy your winter break

Do you want to relax during your break, but also feel like you should be somewhat productive? Externships are the perfect way to gain very beneficial experience, while only taking up one or two days.

Externship Process

  • Define - Define potential career areas interested in learning more
  • Identify - Identify professional contacts within each of the career areas and gather their contact information
  • Connect - Establish initial contact with the professionals and explain the reasons for contacting
  • Plan - Complete a planning call with the host to learn about them, to outline what an ideal experience would entail, to establish necessary preparation, and to agree on date(s) for the externship
  • Complete - Attend and act professionally, finding ways to maximize the experience
  • Follow Up - Send thank you notes and follow up on any next steps identified during the visit (e.g. apply for an internship)

Resources for finding Professionals

  • LinkedIn Denison Group - All members of the Denison community are welcome to join the official Denison group on LinkedIn, and members of this group can review the profiles of fellow members and send introduction messages to fellow members
  • LinkedIn “Find Alumni Feature” - Search by industry, location, or company to find Denison alumni all over the world.
  • Established Hosts - Previous externship hosts have included Accenture, Alliance Theatre, Bloomberg, City Year, Google, GSW Advertising, Edelman, Thompson Hine Law Firm, Turner Broadcasting, The Nielsen Company, Wiley Publishing, and many more.

Students can work with a career coach to connect with any previous host.

Sample Email

  1. Establish a connection: I am a sophomore at Denison University who is interested in a career in [FIELD].
  2. Make the request: Because you are a Denison graduate succeeding at [COMPANY], I hope to connect with you to learn more about your path from Denison. The university has established a program that connects students with alumni for one-day shadow experiences called externships, and I would like to talk with you to discuss the potential of an externship with you.
  3. Set next steps: Are you available for a 15-minute phone call sometime during the next couple of weeks? I tend to have most availability on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 1:00 and 5:00.

What is expected of Externs?

  • Submit reviewed and approved materials (e.g. resume and introduction email)
  • Register externship on Handshake
  • Attend an externship preparation session
  • Complete the externship and meet the expectations of the host
  • Follow up with the hosts based on your conversations (e.g. thank you note)
  • Complete a reflection assignment and attend the group reflection session

Sample Externship Components

The student and the host are expected to connect (usually over the phone) to collaborate on the agenda for the day. The day could include a variety of components based on the selected student’s interest and the host’s available options. Options include an overview presentation of the industry/firm, a tour of the office with introductions to multiple professionals, time to observe professionals working, an opportunity to conduct informational interviews with relevant professionals, and a meeting with an HR professional who will provide an overview of the internship and any entry-level job options.

Career Coach Support

A career coach will be happy to work with you to navigate the process of securing an externship. You can make an appointment through Handshake, by calling the front desk or by stopping by the center.

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