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Exec who started at the bottom: Here's how to turn an internship into a full-time job

Jodi Senese, executive vice president and CMO at Outfront Media
Courtesy of Jodi Senese
Jodi Senese, executive vice president and CMO at Outfront Media

Even the most successful people have to start somewhere. For Jodi Senese, executive vice president and CMO at Outfront Media, that meant taking an internship at an ad agency that paid $12,000 a year.

She turned her internship into a full-time gig and has been climbing the ranks in the out-of-home advertising industry for the past 36 years.

If you want to turn any internship into a full-time position, "treat it like a really long interview," the executive tells CNBC.

"Don't just address an internship as a temporary thing, a transient opportunity that's part of your path to a career somewhere else. Really treat it like an amazing opportunity and delve in.

"Get to understand the business, bring as much value to the organization as possible, and become a valuable member of the team," she says.

Treating an internship like an interview means continually proving your value, Senese says: "Don't ask, What can the company do for me? The question should be, What can I do for the company?"

This not only means "working harder than everyone around you," she says, but "the other piece is to always be thinking. From very early on, I was always iterating new ideas and new ways to do things."

To do this, you have to be aware, interested, and well-read, she says, which is why her go-to advice to interns is to stay up-to-date: "Make sure you read the newspaper, make sure you're up on current events, make sure you know what's going on in the world."

Self-made millionaire Marcus Lemonis agrees on the importance of always being informed. The entrepreneur reads the local and national newspapers on a daily basis, he tells CNBC: "Whether that's The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or your local paper, I think in order to get in touch with real-time information, you've got to study real-time data."

After all, "if you're going to make business decisions and you're going to make them today, you might as well have the most recent information," says Lemonis.

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