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Center for Professional Development
63 South Main Street, 2nd Floor
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
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Home >   Explore Careers


Dartmouth Externship Program for Professional Exploration
Opens: October 17th, 2016
Closes: November 15th, 2016

The Center for Professional Development and Office of Alumni Relations invite Dartmouth students to participate in a December break activity. This is a great opportunity to explore a particular career field through a job shadow or build a specific skill set through a short-term project.

What is a...

  • JOB SHADOW – Observe a professional for one or multiple days to gain a glimpse of the company culture, how the employer interacts with employees, and what skills and abilities the employee uses each day. Job shadowing will provide you with a realistic perspective of the type of work a Dartmouth alum or parent does, while gaining a better feel for the organization's culture and exploring your career interests. A job shadow is an unpaid opportunity.
  • SHORT-TERM PROJECT – Partake in a two to three week paid project (with the exception of certain non-profit organization) to enhance or build a new skill set or competency (i.e. develop a PowerPoint slide deck, conduct market research, develop or work on an excel spreadsheet). A small stipend will be provided by the host.
  • CAREER DAY – Participate in a program where you can learn more about an organization and career opportunities within. A career day could include a panel, tour, small group discussions, organization presentation that highlights organization structure and culture, positions and career paths, and/or key issues/trends in the field


To participate in this program – you must complete a student contract of expectations (located in DartBoard)

  1. Select a December break opportunity in your hometown or a location where you can easily travel to and self-arrange accommodations for housing.
  2. You may participate in one experience through this program. Please be mindful that other Dartmouth students are partaking in this program.
  3. You agree to follow through on all communications you have with hosts, even if you no longer are interested or available to shadow or work with them.
  4. You agree to fulfill your commitment once you have arranged an opportunity. If an emergency or unforeseen circumstance arises, you must correspond with your host.
  5. You agree to identify a mutually convenient time to shadow or work with the host. Each host has committed time to hosting you, be as flexible as possible with your schedule.
  6. You will provide your contact information (email address and telephone number) to your host in advance.
  7. You will request an address and direction to the host's company location.
  8. You will inquire what the dress code expectation is for your experience and any other pertinent information.
  9. You will inquire and follow all conduct and safety protocols at the job site.
  10. You agree to inform the Center for Professional Development when you have secured your December break opportunity.
  11. You agree to send a hand written thank you note to your host after the experience is complete.


STEP #1 – Login into DartBoard and select the "Externship Program" tab on left hand navigation bar.

STEP #2 – Research the opportunities for career days, job shadows and short-term projects. Develop a list of 3 – 5 hosts you would like to reach out to. **Contact one host at a time. If they have already accepted a student, then contact your next host of interest.

STEP #3 – Send the host an email requesting to do a job shadow, short-term project or career day.

Sample Email

Subject Line: Dartmouth College – December Break Opportunity

Dear Ms. Wright,

My name is Steve Jones and I am a first year student at Dartmouth. Thank you for your willingness to host a Dartmouth student during our December Break. I will be returning home for the break and excited for the opportunity to learn more about what you do in your role at ________ company. I have developed an interest in ________ field through __________. If your schedule still allows, I am hoping that we could arrange a mutual time to shadow you.

My email address is (Dartmouth email address only) and my phone number is _______________. I am excited to hear back from you and look forward to learning about your career field. If you have already secured a student for this break, I hope we can connect at a future time.

Thank you,

Steve Jones

STEP #4 – Once you've secured a December Break activity email with who you will be connecting with during the break.


If you do not secure or find an opportunity through the December Break Opportunities program, you can still seek out other meaningful opportunities.

1. Conduct an Informational Interview with an alumnus through the Dartmouth Career Network.

a. A great first step to exploring career fields is doing an informational interview to better understand a career field, trends, necessary skills and workplace culture.

b. Search the Dartmouth Career Network, identify 2 – 3 alumni that you could arrange a 30 to 60 minute phone or in-person conversation with.

c. Refer to the Networking Guide in the Resource Library in DartBoard on how to write an introductory email and what type of questions to ask.

2. Volunteer at a local service or nonprofit organization.

a. Employers continuously value civic engagement experiences as part of students' extra-curricular involvement. Arrange a one or multiple day volunteer experience with an organization in your home town or wherever you will be during December Break.

b. Arrange a short-term internship with a local organization. While there are no specific short-term internship opportunities currently in DartBoard, Dartmouth students will independently arrange a short-term internship with an organization of interest. If needing specific advice on how to do this, set up an appointment with an Advisor in the CPD.

3. Secure a seasonal job.  Partaking in a seasonal job in retail, food services, restaurants, etc. is an equally meaningful experience during the December break. You will develop and enhance a transferable skill set (communication, customer service, organization, etc.) valued by many employers.

Last Updated: 11/3/16