Hidden Gems to Propel Your Internship Search

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Your college or university may be offering hidden gems that are truly stepping stones to your next internship.  Be prepared to expand your career perspectives, learning and networking by leveraging shorter term career experiences.  Let’s start by exploring the terminology that you might hear from your college’s Career Services office.

The terms “externship” and “winternship” may have different definitions depending on the school or association. Often, an externship or winternship is similar to a short term internship or an extended job shadowing program. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.  Winternships are always in the winter; while externships can be offered any time.

Tufts University offers winternships for students during January break. These are typically available with Massachusetts employers in January. The period is shorter than a summer or semester internship. Several colleges around the country offer programs for students to connect and work with employers and alumni during the winter holiday break.

At Cornell University, their global shadowing program is called an Externship. At Colgate University, they support various job shadowing opportunities including one called “A day in the life.” The titles and duration will vary, so check with your college Career Services office first. You may also find these opportunities through an academic department or club.

Emily Abramson, a recent graduate from Cornell University Hotel School, participated in an extern program during one of her January breaks. She worked at a busy country club in Virginia, and helped the club with cost reduction and efficiency improvement projects. Emily rotated among 7 departments and shadowed department managers. Emily says “This early externship opportunity helped me to secure internships as I progressed through college. It was also a great learning experience. It demonstrated my interest and commitment to the hospitality industry as a freshman in college.”

Consider an externship, winternship or job shadow through your college or university to get your foot in the door and expand your learning and networking. Don’t underestimate these hidden gems. Use the same criteria to select an externship as you would an internship. Look for a great fit and mentorship. Consider your alternatives carefully and choose one that is the most beneficial and aligned with your goals. What’s your experience with a shorter term career experience?

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