Applying for externships can be a daunting task. For me, it was as if I was applying to graduate schools all over again, and it felt as if the weight of my future was resting in my hands. Everyone has different goals and preferences when it comes to choosing and landing the perfect externship, but I’m sure everyone who has done it will tell you some variation of these same five tips.
1. Choose Your Ideal Audiology Setting.
The world of audiology has many different specialties and niches, all with wonderful potential for the right person. Think about what you enjoyed in your clinic placements thus far and what you want to bring to the table when you graduate. What you do at your externship will ultimately set you up for your future career as an audiologist, so if you know you want to work with a specific age group or within a certain area of audiology, make sure to look for externships that develop your skills in that area. Or if you still have a little soul searching to do, find externships that offer a little bit of everything.
2. Determine Your Ideal Location.
Finding your dream externship can be exciting, especially if you are longing to live somewhere new (it is just a year after all). Keep in mind the cost of living for that city, the compensation that the externship may or may not be offering, how far you’ll have to drive all of your possessions you just stuffed in a trailer, and the rest of your expenses (you do still have to pay tuition you know), other than that the world is your oyster! There are externships from coast to coast and in every state, some even with the option of getting hired after graduation. Find somewhere you can be happy and make it happen!
3. Be Organized.
It would be very unfortunate if you found the externship of your dreams, only to realize you missed an important date or requirement in the application process. I suggest making a spreadsheet with important information to keep yourself organized. Here you can list details about each externship such as: location(s), number of positions available, financial arrangements, and what services externs provide when there, as well as important application information such as: the application deadline, document submission requirements, special instructions, and any other pertinent information. Start early, reach out to the site’s contact person, give your rec letter providers plenty of notice, and be on top of the process so you don’t miss out!
4. Prepare For Your Interviews.
Most externships require phone/skype/in-person interviews or a combination of the three. If you apply to places all over the country, you may find yourself taking time out of your busy class and clinic schedule to make a few trips because in-person interviews are almost always more beneficial than video conferencing (for both you AND the hiring audiologist). Make sure you’re not wasting your time by brushing up on your clinical knowledge and by taking advantage of mock interviews through your university, at job fairs, or at conferences. Get a good feel for the clinic and the audiologists at your interview and be prepared to ask questions!
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Dream Big!
Some externship listings are intimidating, don’t be afraid to apply to some that you might feel are out of your league. If you don’t know a lot about a test that they run, be ready and willing to learn and they will teach it to you. If an externship draws in a lot of applicants, or even if some of your classmates and friends apply to the same one, don’t fret! You never know what they are looking for until you try. Apply for the externship of your dreams (and maybe a couple fallbacks, just in case)! Good luck, and enjoy the hunt.
Jacob Sommers is a fourth-year AuD student at Louisiana Tech University and an extern at ENT Associates of East Texas. He currently serves as a member of the SAA Communications Committee. His audiology interests include advanced diagnostic testing, cognitive effort and hearing aid use, and speech perception in noise.