Job shadows provide an opportunity to see first-hand what the workplace looks like, to learn what a day in the life of the chosen career may be like, and to ask very specific questions related to the career.
Am I ready for a job shadow?
Job shadows are most appropriate and beneficial when you have narrowed your career search to a few good possibilities. Be sure to do some research on-line prior to your job shadow. It is much easier to know what to ask when you have some background regarding the career you are shadowing. Remember, both the career and the company play a role in how a job is portrayed. It may be helpful to shadow the same career in different settings because every workplace is different.
- Do your homework! Spend some time researching both the career and the employer. The more you research, the easier it will be to ask great questions, and the more benefit you will get from the experience.
- Dress like they work there. Treat the job shadow as an opportunity to learn AND as an opportunity to make a great impression on a prospective employer.
- Show up! When you schedule a job shadow, you are asking an employee to take time from their day to focus on you. If they are unable to keep the commitment, contact the individual you are scheduled to shadow as far in advance as possible. Request to reschedule at the shadow provider’s convenience.
- Be prepared with questions. Bring them on paper or saved in your phone so nothing is forgotten. Here are some examples of questions:
- What made you select your career?
- How long have you worked for this company? Where did you work previously?
- What could I expect to earn at an entry level in this type of job? (Do NOT ask what the job shadow provider earns.) You can also ask what the salary range would be for this position.
- Are you required to continue your training/education while working?
- Who do you interact with in the workplace? What are their roles with the company?
- What type of education/training did your job require?
- What benefits does your company provide?
- If I decide to pursue this career, what would you suggest I do to prepare?
- What technology do you use in your work? Has this changed since you started working here?
- What do you like most/least about your job?
- What classes should I take in high school/college to prepare for this career?
- Be sure to send a thank you to the individual shadowed.