How to Use Job Shadowing to Boost Your Career
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Job shadowing can help you find new opportunities that are good for you. This technique is often used to help students in high school and college however, established professionals can also benefit from job shadowing as well.
Consider these ideas to enhance your career with job shadowing:
1. Explore new possibilities. Job shadowing allows you to explore new fields with little risk.
2. First-hand experience can help you narrow down choices. By being in the workplace and seeing the daily interactions and tasks of someone with a particular job, you can make decisions that better support your goals. Each company has its own culture so shadowing can help you clarify which culture is a good fit for you. Is the office quiet? Loud? Does everyone have an office with a door or are there only cubicles? What are your thoughts as you observe? Where do you think you would be most comfortable?
3. Dress appropriately. Ask questions before the job shadowing begins so you can dress appropriately for the position.
4. Discover the details. Job shadowing gives you a unique chance to ask those involved questions about their career and work-life balance.
5. Stay open to changes. Job shadowing can involve more than sitting in an office all day and watching others work. You may be asked to join them in meetings at restaurants or attend events at other offices.
6. Bring business cards. Consider making your business cards unique and professional so people will remember you and be sure to bring more than you think you’ll need.
You don’t want to run out and look unprepared. Offer a card to everyone you meet at the job shadowing opportunity and let them know you are open to connecting on LinkedIn.
7. Take notes. You can use a digital device or a traditional notebook.
8. Send a hand-written thank you note to multiple people. Although online communication is faster and easier, hand-written thank you notes can make you stand-out.
Job shadowing offers you the chance to experience a new field and learn more about a career. Taking full advantage of this opportunity will help lead you down the path to success in your chosen field.