Job Shadowing Ideas

Shadowing a professional allows a glimpse at different professions.

Shadowing a professional allows a glimpse at different professions.

Job shadowing is an entry point for students into the professional world. Shadowing means tailing a professional as she goes about her daily tasks in her work environment. This allows you to have a first-hand experience of what could be a future career as well as build contacts to aid in your job search. Several job shadowing ideas may help to facilitate the best experience.

Group Shadowing

Job shadowing don't have to be done by a single person; groups can participate, such as with class of students and with each person assigned to a different individual. Group shadowing allows students to see how an entire department is managed rather than how a single employee operates. After the group experience, students can discuss what they learned and establish a concept of how the organization is run.

Know What You Want

Get the most out of your job shadowing experience by knowing exactly how you want to benefit from it. If you're having trouble choosing a career, consider that a job shadowing experience will give you more information than you'd ever learn from reading about it. While shadowing, pay attention to what skills you will need for the profession and try to build up valuable network contacts.

Get Hands On

While shadowing suggests that you become an invisible observer rather than an active participant, getting hands-on with the work allows for a deeper and more fulfilling experience. If you're allowed to actively participate in the work, the employer may take precautions and supervise your tasks if they present a risk, such as operating heavy machinery or accessing a system with direct access to sensitive information.

Job Shadow Query

Find someone to shadow by using your resources -- family, friends and neighbors. If you belong to social networking sites, post a message that you're interested in shadowing someone for a day in the occupation that interests you. Ask advisers in your academic department if they know of any graduates who are settled in a career and who might allow you to shadow them. Finally, contact an organization you're interested in working for and ask someone in Human Resources if you can observe one of their employees.

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About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

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