A quick experience at a company

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What is an Externship?

An externship is a short, unpaid, and informal internship where students spend anywhere from a single day to a few weeks getting exposure to what its like to work at a company. The word externship is a hybrid of “experience” and “internship”.

What is an Externship

Benefits of Externships

The purpose of an externship is to give students a special experience and exposure to a job,  company, or industry. Since the opportunity is typically very short, students don’t have to perform heavy work, and thus are unpaid.

This type of setup can be mutually beneficial for students and employers.

Benefits to students:

  • Quick exposure to see if they like a job, industry, or company
  • Small time commitment and minimal investment
  • Ability to have multiple externships to compare companies
  • Potential to get an internship or full-time job later on
  • An experience they can include on their resume

Benefits to employers:

  • Exposure to a wide range of potential hires in a short period of time
  • No financial cost to the company
  • Can be treated as an extended interview process
  • Increases company awareness at a university
  • A great community engagement exercise

Ex- vs Internship

There are many similarities and differences between an externship vs internship. Below is a list of the key attributes of each type of opportunity.


  • 10+ weeks long
  • Paid an hourly wage or salary
  • Enters into an employment agreement
  • Has specific job responsibilities and duties
  • Intern often completes projects and tasks independently
  • Typically confined to one department
  • May lead to a full-time opportunity in the future


  • ONe day to a few weeks long
  • Unpaid
  • No employment agreement
  • No major projects or deliverables
  • May job shadow one or more people
  • The extern will watch what people at the company do
  • Can be exposed to a wide range of people and departments

Externship Examples

Below are some examples of extern jobs that companies have posted on their websites across different industries such as accounting, finance, and technology consulting.

Harland Clarke – Accounting and Finance Externship

This program will allow students to apply their academic experience to real-life case studies and improve their understanding of accounting and finance. The successful candidate will work closely with other externs and get exposure to executive leadership, all while learning more about the industry. Being part of the program can increase your chances of being hired when you graduate, as externs will be considered first for summer internships and full-time working opportunities.

RSM Technology Consulting Externship

RSM offers a Pathways Program which consists of an orientation, client exposure, and program events.  Participants in this program learn about the firm and have a chance to meet staff and understand the details of the program. Next, participants get insight into the clients through job shadowing, presentations, and client visits.  There will be various events throughout the program giving students the opportunity to build relationships and learn about the firm’s culture. Events may include community projects, team building activities, and fun events.

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading this CFI guide to externship. To continue learning and advancing your career, check out these additional resources below:

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