How Internship Success Can Jumpstart Your Career

This is blog post was written by a friend of the Intern Queen Network, Ariel Kendall, a 2011 graduate of the University of St. Thomas.

I vividly remember the first piece of advice my university tour guide told me as I took my first steps through campus: "Get involved; find and take advantage of opportunities presented to you in college -- they can often open doors for you."

My internship abroad in Barcelona, Spain, was one opportunity I'm glad I didn't pass up. I interned abroad through Dream Careers, and found that it was a great program for me to explore and fine-tune my career aspirations in ways that stretched me both academically and socially. Having staff to coach me through the interview process and give me career advice made me feel much more confident about the process. They also made sure I had access to numerous people and resources so I never felt alone or thrown into a situation I wasn't prepared for.

Although you may be working for college credit(s), your internship can be worth so much more. Follow these tips to make the most out of your internship experience; you never know, they may not want to let you go and offer you a full-time position!

1. Show Your Integrity. Work hard when no one is looking. Your boss and others in the office take notice of your work ethic, always.

2. Dress for Success. Take cues from your co-workers and dress appropriately. How you present your important; the better you look, the more confident you will feel.

3. Go Above and Beyond Your Call of Duty. Look for opportunities to further your education and personal growth. Develop additional responsibilities. Interns who identify office needs and ask to take on new challenges demonstrate the initiative and motivation that employers are looking for. If there is a project that interests you, ask your supervisor if you can contribute.

4. Treat Your Internship Like a Full-time Job. Be polite and always behave professionally. Avoid missing work. If you must be absent, request permission from your supervisor in advance.This shows that you take your responsibilities seriously and you are there for a purpose.

5. Be Social. Getting to know others in the company can lead to great opportunities. You can do this by arranging informational interviews with full-time employees and taking time to ask questions any chance you get .Also, before you leave your internship, schedule an interview with your supervisor for a review your performance.

6. Keep a Positive Attitude. Get along with others and set an amicable tone in the office. Be courteous to everyone and get along with the other interns. Stay out of any office gossip about employees, interns or company business.

7. Stay Connected. Be a cheerleader for the company. Tell others about your experience and let your employer know how thankful you were to be on their staff.

My internship in Barcelona created long lasting professional connections as well as long-lasting friendships -- I am actually staffing a summer program for the second time in Los Angeles this upcoming summer, and I can't wait!

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