Job shadowing lets you to follow a professional in your industry to help you see the work environment and understand daily tasks.

What jobs can benefit from job shadowing experience?

  • Restaurant jobs
  • Hospital/Medical Industry jobs
  • Jobs in Manufacturing
  • Administrative roles
  • Many, many more!
So how can I set up a job shadow?

If you’re still in high school, check with your school to see if they already have a job shadowing program in place. Your guidance counselor or trusted teacher may know how to help you.

If you’re in college, some colleges have a job shadowing program in place for different career paths. Schedule an appointment with someone at your college or university’s Career Services office to see what options may be available. If they don’t have a job shadowing program, it is possible they could give you the name of local businesses who may be willing to help out. If that’s the case, keep reading!

man and woman with laptop sitting next to each other

When it comes to writing a resume, job experience is a must. Even if you are applying for your first job, there are things you can do now to gain that experience. Volunteering, internships and job shadowing are all great ways to learn more about the world of work before you actually get hired.

Let’s focus on job shadowing.  A job shadow can last as long as a few weeks or as little as one day.  Setting up a job shadow with a local business takes some planning, but isn’t impossible. Here’s how:

1. Find companies you’d want to work for. What are your passions? Your career interests? If you have a general idea of an industry you want to work in, you can start researching companies in that field. Make a list of companies in your area that you like and would want to work with.

2. Reach out. When contacting businesses, start with those who you may already have a connection with. Maybe you know someone who works there already and they can help set up a job shadow opportunity. If you don’t know anyone at the company, your best bet is to email or call someone in their Human Resources department. don’t be afraid to call or email someone in the Human Resources department. Make sure you have what you want to say prepared in advance!

3. Be ready to talk about your interests. Before bringing someone in for a job shadow, companies like to know WHY you want to shadow them specifically. Be ready to talk about your interest in the industry. If you know what role you want to work in, mention that as well (it can’t hurt to be specific!). Be polite and considerate, even if they turn you down. You never know, they could be a future job connection!

4. Work out the details. If  the company you’re talking to is interested in letting you job shadow, get all the information upfront. How long will the opportunity last? (a day, a week, 3 months?) When will it begin? How are you expected to dress? What can you expect from the experience? Will you have a chance to interview the person(s) you job shadow afterward? This may seem like a TON of questions, but asking these before your job shadowing will help make sure you make the most out of the opportunity.

Keep a list of the companies and people you reached out to somewhere safe, in case you need to go back to it. Document  everything you learned from #4 and have it with you your first day of job shadowing. Take a notebook and pen (if allowed) and be ready to take notes about the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. While it’s called “job shadowing” you aren’t expected to be an ACTUAL shadow and follow along silently.

After you successfully set up your job shadow, remember to say ‘thank you’! Send a quick note in the mail or email to all the people who helped. These folks could all be your future co-workers, so you want to make a good impression! So what do you think? Ready to find a job shadowing opportunity near you?