The more effort and preparation you put into your job shadow, the more you will get out of it. Follow these tips to have an informative and useful job shadowing experience.
Before your job shadow:
- Do some research on the companyso that youre prepared for when you arrive. Check the companys website to get this information. Learn basic facts such as what work they do, how many people they employ, and when they were founded. Also, read over the companys goals and mission statement if they have them to get a better sense of where youll be working.
- If you know who youll be shadowing,research their positionas well so you have a better idea of what to expect when you shadow.
- Be prepared to discuss yourself and your career goals.If youre not sure about your career goals, thats fine too, just mention youre still gathering information if youre asked.
- Prepare some questions youd like to ask while shadowing.These questions can be about the job itself, the career field, or advice youre interested in getting. Sample questions include:
- What caused you to choose this job?
- What do you like about this job? What do you dislike about it?
- What makes a person successful at this job?
- What classes can I take to help prepare me for a job in this field?
- What skills are useful for this job?
- Make sure you knowwhere and when your job shadow will be taking place,and confirm with someone from the company a few days beforehand.
During your job shadow:
- Know how to get to the location andallow extra timeto ensure you are not late.
- Dress appropriately. Unless you will be getting dirty, dress similar to how you would for a job interview. Dont wear t-shirts, shorts, or flip-flops.
- Bring a notepadso you can take down notes and things you learn.
- Keep your phone offduring the job shadow and resist the urge to text or check your Facebook messages until youre back home.
- Be enthusiastic and participate in each activity suggested.You want to learn as much as possible from this experience.
- Speak to as many people as you can andask for their business cardsif you’re interested in talking with them more.
- Shake hands and introduce yourself to every person you meet.
- Remember to be respectful of people’s time.While most people you meet will be happy to talk with you, remember that you are at someone’s workplace and they need to work as well, so try not to take up too much of any one person’s time.
After your job shadow:
- Send thank-you notesto the person or people you shadowed, and mention a few things you learned.
- Write up a few sentences on your job shadow experiencefor your own personal use. Describe what you did, what you enjoyed, what you didnt enjoy, and what you learned. This will be useful information to have in the future when you dont remember the details of your job shadow as clearly.
- Store contact information and business cardsin a safe place so you can reference them if you need to contact the company again for more information, ask follow-up questions, or if you end up applying for a job there.