What is Job Shadowing?
Job Shadowing is an educational activity in which students spend time learning about a specific job or industry. They interact with professionals on the job while observing actual operations and procedures and gain an understanding of the company’s culture. The primary focus is to explore potential career interests.
Job Shadowing is for observation ONLY! It is an informative opportunity to gain valuable information about potential career paths and fields of study that might be suitable for them to pursue.
Job Shadowing is a great way to align educational and career goals.
What are the benefits?
Through job shadowing, students will be exposed to real-world learning. A job shadow experience gives students the opportunity to:
- gain exposure to career paths and make informed course and career decisions
- gain insight into a “day in the life” of a specific occupation and culture within an organization
- ask specific questions that they may have about a particular field, the requisite skills and experience needed to succeed in a particular job
- build industry awareness
- obtain knowledge that comes only from being in the job setting
- link textbook knowledge and skills acquired in class and apply it directly to the real world of work
- establish a network of professional mentors
- set the path to an internship
Who can participate?
The program is intended for students that are currently enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College, and working toward a degree or certificate. Students must also be in good academic standing.
What might I do while job shadowing?
During this one-day job shadow experience, the host will provide students with a look at the world of work. Some of the activities that a job shadow host may have a student engage in are:
- conduct an informational meeting to discuss career paths, educational credentials and experience, industry needs and trends, culture of the organization, training and professional organizations
- observe general office tasks
- attend staff or committee meetings or presentations
- provide a tour of the workplace
- observe client interactions experience employee demonstrations of industry-specific software or tools
- review the department’s website, mission, marketing collateral, organizational charts
Upon the notification of the match, the host is responsible for making the initial contact with the student to arrange a mutually agreed upon date and time for the shadow experience. When you receive the call from the host, be prepared to introduce yourself, such as your major or program of interest, and job shadowing goals.
In advance of the job shadow experience, students are also encouraged to prepare a list of informational interview questions (sample questions will be provided to you by the Career Center Staff). Students should self-assess and be prepared to discuss their academic background, activities, skills and experiences. Additionally, in order to ensure a quality experience, students should research the field/industry, and research the department/organizations website. Moreover, students must dress in professional attire.
During the job shadow experience, students should listen, express their interest, and show enthusiasm and appreciation. Following the job shadow experience, students are encouraged to send a brief note or email to thank the host. Additionally, students will be sent an online evaluation survey to gauge their perception of the job shadow experience, and alignment with learning outcomes.
What to take to the job shadow experience?
Students are encouraged to take the following:
- Pen and notebook or electronic tablet (iPad)
- List of questions to ask the host
- Research materials
- Money to cover soda/snacks, lunch and any additional expenses
- Resume (optional)
Tips for a Successful Job Shadow Day
- Be timely. Arrive 10-15 minutes early.
- Learn what education and experience is needed, career paths, industry trends, professional organizations, and what it may be like to work in the host’s field.
- Observe actively. Note as much about the environment as possible, such as other workers, the manner in which interactions with colleagues and customers, and the general pace.
- Ask questions to clarity what you are observing and to learn more about the professional’s career progression.
- Take brief notes, if possible, but do not write everything down. Keep in mind that anything you hear or see may be confidential and keep it that way.
- If you are asked to work on a project, feel free to ask basic instructions and gain clarification of host’s expectations.
- If host offers to take you out to lunch, that is fine, but do not expect it and be prepared to feed yourself.
- Be yourself, relax, listen and learn.
- Ask the host for a business card for future follow-up.
- Enjoy the job shadow experience.