As a grad student, I’ve applied to my fair share of academic programs and jobs in the past. So, when it was time to start applying for externships last year, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as far as my resume, cover letter, and letters of recommendation. But I had no clue what the rest of the process would be like—where to look, when to apply, interviewing, etc.—I felt completely lost!
To get started, I chatted with some friends who were fourth-year externs about their experiences. Hearing about their journeys was so helpful—they told me about the importance of beginning your search early, tailoring your cover letter, and what to expect after you apply. Talking with friends who had already gone through the process reassured me that I was on the right track.
Once I jumped into my own externship experience, I came across a few things that I wanted to share with you!
Prepping Your Resume and Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter should be specific for each externship position you apply to. Don’t use the same generic materials for every placement! Not all placements will have the same requirements, and some of your experiences may be better suited for one placement over another. What you’d say in a letter to a pediatric hospital should be different than what you’d say to a private practice.
When I was applying, I had eight versions of my resume and cover letter! I wanted to make sure I was addressing the requirements of each placement and show why I was a good fit for each position.
Since each placement is different, look out for whether or not you need to provide:
- A transcript from your undergrad university, not just your graduate university
- SAT/ACT/GRE scores
- A personal review
Getting That Interview
Start networking now! If you get the chance to go to the ASHA Convention, do it. If an audiologist at the site you want to apply to is giving a presentation, stop by and say hello! Then remind them of your meeting in your cover letter—you’ll have a greater chance of them remembering who you are, which might just get you that interview.
Networking provides a great opportunity to build relationships with audiologists across the country. One audiologist I met at Convention didn’t have an externship available at her clinic, but she gave me great advice for my search, which provided me with ideas for what to highlight about myself in interviews.
Although interview deadlines are typically around October and November, many are on a rolling schedule. And externships are competitive! Because of this, I started applying in August to give myself ample time to complete the application process. And it paid off—my interviews began in September and I knew my placement by November!
Websites and online forums don’t often post a lot of externship opportunities. You just have to ask around to the places you’re interested in. I was really interested in working at a pediatric hospital that didn’t have any externship positions posted online. So, I emailed the director with a copy of my resume… and I got an interview!
You Got the Job! Now What?
I was so excited when I found out I got the externship I’d wanted most—working at a pediatric hospital! But there were a few more things I needed to check before starting:
- Some placements prefer you’ve passed the PRAXIS before beginning your externship—check to see if you’re placement need this info.
- You may be required to have a temporary/provisional license to practice during your externship—be prepared!
- Make sure the audiologists at your placement site have their CCC-A. Your supervised hours must be completed by an ASHA certified audiologist in order for you to be eligible for certification.
- Make sure you understand the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement and what it means for applying for out-of-state externships. If you’re unsure about how it might apply to you, ask your clinical director.
- Visit your placement site if you have the time and funds. You can read the online job description a million times, but until you visit in person, you may not know if it is a good fit.
At the end of the day, don’t forget to ask yourself what’s most important to you. Is it to be located near your family? Does the amount you’ll be paid matter? Do you want to have a broad or specific experience? Keep all of these things in mind while you’re searching so you find an externship that’s right for you.
Finding an externship can be a stressful process. You may not get the first job you interview for—or the second or third or fourth, for that matter. But don’t take rejection personally. Eventually, you’ll find the externship that’s right for you and it’ll all work out in the end!