By: Marjorie Meyer, BA
What if I told you the perfect externship is out there and waiting for you? And that all the hard work you put into the last few years will finally pay off? Would you believe me? Well, you should! As someone who recently went through the externship process, I can assure you everything will work out fine. It’s all in your preparation and mindset. In this post, I’ll break down my Do’s and Don’ts of externships in order to help you have your best experience this application season.
My name is Marjorie Meyer and I’m a third-year audiology student at the University of the Pacific (UOP) in San Francisco, California. I am currently serving as the 2022-2023 national SAA Chapter Relations committee chair. As I was preparing for externships, I knew that I wanted a well-rounded placement where I could see pediatrics through geriatrics, cochlear implants, auditory brainstem responses (ABRs), and vestibular assessment. I know, that’s a lot to ask for in an externship, but those were all the areas I was truly interested in! Although I wanted to stay in California for my final year, I knew that if I restricted my search to that region, I would have a harder time finding my dream placement. After lots of research on HearCareers, googling audiology externships and discussing potential sites with UOP alumni/faculty, I chose nineteen externship sites across the United States that I felt were a good fit for me. I was offered fourteen interviews, and eventually accepted my dream externship!
Starting on a High Note…The Do’s:
- DO create a cover letter template. Create one template, and edit it for each site. Keyword: EDIT. You don’t need to recreate the wheel when you are introducing yourself; you should edit why you would be a good fit for their program, what aspects of their program stood out for you, and highlight if they are your top externship.
- DO dress to impress. These interviews, whether they are in person, via phone or by video, are the first impression you will make on the externship committee. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle-free and your hair is in a neat style. Wear something that gives you confidence and makes you feel good.
- DO consider your background during video interviews. If you are having an interview on a video call, consider your background. A solid background without distractions is always a great choice, as it allows the interviewer to focus on you. Avoid light switches, distracting artwork, or family members walking by. If you live with roommates, coordinate a quiet time during your interview to avoid excess noise.
- DO research your externship site. Some externship sites offer technical interviews to test your knowledge; others base their potential externs on their personality and ability to work with a team.
And what everyone is waiting for…The Don’ts:
- DON’T apply to externships that have non-negotiable criteria for you. In short, if you need a stipend at your externship, don’t apply to places that don’t offer one. If you want to stay in a certain area, restrict your externship search to that region.
- DON’T feel pressured to accept the first offer you receive. Some externships will extend their offer early in the externship period with a deadline for acceptance. Similar to a job offer, you can negotiate an extension while you await other offers. Other sites follow the Audiology Clinical Education Network (ACEN) timeline. Externships need to give you time to consider their offer.
- DON’T let your externship year define you. If you really wanted a setting with vestibular assessment, and only got offers from practices without vestibular assessment, it’s okay. This year is your final year of audiology school, but it does not define your future career as an audiologist. You will continue to learn and grow throughout your career.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions or would like more advice throughout your externship application process, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out this month’s President’s Corner and Advisor’s Corner on the SAA Blog and our recently updated SAA Externship Guide for more externship process tips and tricks. Good luck in your externship journey, you’ve got this!
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