Nothing Compares To Hands-On Experience

Valuable notes on internships and externships

Campus Life > Nothing Compares To Hands-On Experience
Nothing Compares To Hands-On Experience

Green Lane Academic Building; where students can build a future

Alexus Campbell

Imagine getting hands-on experience at a dream job, such as getting an in-depth view of what it is like to work as an employee or shadow the head of that company? Let's make those dreams reality and possibly get paid to do so!

Do not stress over not having all of the necessary information. Here at Kean university, located in Green Lane Academic Building (GLAB) in room 245 is the Office for Internships and Cooperative Education (OICE).

OICE's mission is to provide experimental learning through internships, global and practice opportunities. The office seeks to train students in the art and value of creating an authentic professional profile while teaching the important skills of having a 21st century job. It aims to match individual students to real world business opportunities.

Internships and externships are temporary jobs that give students short work experience within their chosen career field. For a set period of time, students are given the ability to work in a specific business setting.

It is important not to mistaken one for the other. They each carry important details that deal with different aspects.

Internships are typically longer than externships. When working as an intern, it usually lasts two to three months, a semester or even as long as a year. On the other hand, externships could range from a day to a week, and is usually completed over the winter or spring break.

Morgan Cummings, a 2016 graduate who received her Bachelors in Marketing shared, "What started out as a summer internship, has turned into an exciting and fulfilling career. I am now the special projects manager at Bombas, where I lead our college brand ambassador program and athlete ambassador program, and manage our relationships with shelters and organizations."

At a glance, internships may seem the more reasonable choice, but there are benefits to having an externship. The ability to have more insight in different work environments can be a set up for a potential internship.

Working at an externship is basically job shadowing. Externs are overshadowing either the head of the company or an employee. The job includes observing, exploring and asking questions.

Having an externship is not nearly the same amount of workload as having an internship. As an intern, assignments are meaningful as deadlines and expectations are given. Being an intern is doing what would be expected as a regular employee.

Internships are usually towards the end of a student's education (junior or senior year in college), but students can be an intern for a company at any time of their college career. Companies typically look for students who are looking for a long-term commitment.

On the other hand, externships are usually held towards the beginning or middle of an education. Out of an externship, there is usually no hint of a future position.

Generally internships stand to offer pay, and those that do not are called "cooperative education internships," also known as co-op internships. Co-op internships are course-credited learning programs that provide students with preparation, counseling, academic projects and the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned.

To assure that these college credits are being included towards a student's classes, email the Director for OICE Joanne Beiter at or the general Internship Department at

Now that the distinction between the two has been made, here some tips on how to land the opportunity!

1. Bring A-game to interviews. Research the company that is being applied to prevent feeling unprepared and blind sided by any information.

2. Emphasize flexibility. Open availability is always a positive when coming into a company.

3. Ask about future positioning. Knowing that a person is in for the long run is what companies look for.

4. Stay connected and follow up. This does not mean to consistently call every day, but make sure they have not forgotten..

When the position has been obtained, it is important to maintain that success.

  • Do the homework before actually starting the job. Like said previously, having knowledge of what the company does before stepping into the building is a plus. It is like knowing how the race is going to end before starting.
  • Show commitment, by showing up a few minutes early to a shift. Be willing to sacrifice overtime. This will definitely stand out to the person in charge.
  • Treat it as if it is a real job.
  • Find a mentor. Seek advice from an employee or the head person. Ask questions when in need and do not be afraid to ask for feedback!

If students are having trouble getting started, according to OICE, students can follow these 5 steps:

1. A student should access their personality, interests and major.

2. A student should constantly build and update their resume and other application. If one needs help with creating a resume and or a cover letter, check out the samples below:

  • Resume samples: here
  • Cover letter samples: here
  • The office offers the opportunity for students to attend workshops and edit their important documents before submitting them to a particular company.

3. A student should identify companies and target industries.

4. A student should visit the Kean internship office.

5. Apply and follow up!

Kean University likes to showcase students' successes. 

As for junior Armando Guerra, majoring in Global Business Management states, "As a student who has worked in the luxury sales since the age of 16 as a fashion stylist, during my Spring 2016 semester, I had internship offers on the table from designers Daniel Patrick and Rick Owens."

He was given the opportunity to work as an intern at Giorgio Armani, being the youngest candidate  and only student who was not in a  fashion school to receive this job!

He continues, "I realized interning was crucial to not only my college experience, but especially in the industry I want to have a career in. My internships at Giorgio Armani, Noritex S.A. and overall experience as a student at Kean has helped me develop into the individual and professional I am today...I truly cannot be more thankful and blessed to have been at Kean, a university that granted me opportunities, room for growth, and truly providing me with a world class education."

Armando Guerra has already received offers from Giorgio Armani, Noritex S.A. and HQ in NY for Coach before he has even walked across the stage!

If students are currently interning at a company, it is simple to be a part of the OICE Intern Hall of Fame on campus. Send a photo, the company's name and a brief description to

The OICE acknowledges that having an externship or internship is a great resume builder, but it is also a great way to test out the career a student is working towards. Students will have the ability to gain new skills and network themselves.

Students are open to stop by the OICE at any time to view the job posting board for available co-ops and internships, or email the office at or call 908-737-4706.

about the author

Alexus Campbell is a freshman majoring in communication with a concentration in journalism. She is a Staff Writer at The Cougar's Byte. She aspires to be a copy editor and/or an event consultant. Aside from working towards her dream, she enjoys cheerleading, doing yoga, blogging and singing her heart out in her car.