What is a Job Shadow?
A job shadow involves spending several hours, or even a day or two, with an individual who is already employed in the career you’re interested in. Job shadows provide an opportunity to see and observe how the job actually works within an organization.
Why Job Shadow?
Job shadowing is a great way to find out what a career or job involves and what skills would be required to succeed. Here are some of the benefits of job shadowing:
- Learn by observation. You can observe and learn more about the actual duties and responsibilities of the job.
- Hone in on your career. People might not have a specific career goal in mind when they start job shadowing, but they usually gain some clarity by the end of the experience.
- Gain contacts. Job shadowing can also provide the opportunity to build a network of contacts that can eventually help you to find a job.
- Discover what you don’t like. Depending on what you observe, you may find out that the career you’re interested in isn’t something you want to pursue.
Making the Most of a Job Shadow
- Be prepared. Research the company you’ll be job shadowing and the person you will be shadowing. Think of questions you can ask the person to ensure that you get the most out of your job shadow experience.
- Make a good first impression. Show up on time and dressed neatly. Be respectful and courteous, and demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the job.
- Stay flexible. Not all job shadows take place on the same day, so be prepared to stay an extra day if needed. Be available if the employer needs you to stay later or wants to show you something else.
Job shadowing doesn’t guarantee you a job or even an invitation for an interview, but it can offer valuable insight into possible career paths and help you make more informed decisions about what career to pursue.