Job Shadowing is a career exploration activity in which students learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a worker. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure where a student follows an employee at an organization to learn about a particular occupation or industry. While job shadowing, students are able to ask questions and experience the trials, triumphs, small nuances, and normal day-to-day activities they might experience while working in that specific job. Job shadowing provides more insight than just reading a job description or asking an employee to describe what they do.

NIST

HOST A STUDENT FOR JOB SHADOWING


Learning and Development Objectives

As a result of participating in a job shadowing experience students will enhance their knowledge and skills; including:

  • Demonstrating Professionalism: Gains experience regarding how professionals approach their job, conduct themselves in a workplace environment, and the tools that are needed to perform the job and be successful.
  • Communicating Effectively:  Conveys meaning in a way that others understand by writing and speaking coherently and effectively; writes and speaks after reflection; listens attentively to others and responds appropriately
  • Realistic self-appraisal, self-understanding: Assesses, articulates, and acknowledges skills, abilities, and interest areas; uses self-knowledge and realistic career information to make decisions such as those related career choices.
  • Problem solving:  Gain insight into how employees solve problems and overcome barriers to accomplishing work goals.

EMPLOYER ORIENTATION FOR JOB SHADOWING

STUDENT ORIENTATION FOR JOB SHADOWING 


Format

A job shadowing experience typically lasts for six hours in a single day.  Typically, students are scheduled to shadow from 10am-4pm to give their host unencumbered work time at the beginning and end of the day. A job shadowing sample agenda can be found here:

JOB SHADOWING SAMPLE AGENDA


Specific Activities Covered

Job shadowing enables an employer to expose a student to a variety of perspectives within an organization and can include many components.  Standard components typically include the following:

  • Overview of organization, mission and functions
  • Tour of organization facilities
  • Overview of organizational chart and introduction to leadership
  • Observation rotations in different functional areas of the organization
  • Opportunities to meet various staff members in various roles
  • Time for the student to conduct one or more informational interviews
  • Reflection via discussion or a reflection paper

Benefits for Employers

  • Spurring of interest in a particular industry among future generations of employees
  • Developing of a potential pipeline of candidates from qualified applicants
  • Marketing and name recognition among the area community as well as local colleges and universities
  • Collecting new perspectives and ideas from students regarding processes, organizational branding, and more.

Benefits for Students

Job shadowing serves as an attractive alternative to students who desire to explore a specific career field but are unable to make the time commitment necessary for an internship. This exploratory experience enables students to do the following:

  • Explore a particular industry and experience the “day in a life” of a designated career field
  • Gather information on an industry culture, lifestyle, norms, and expectations
  • Networking and “face time” with potential employers
  • Professional development
  • Expert insights regarding strengths, challenges, and potential career trajectories in a particular field

Compensation

Typically, a job shadowing experience is unpaid and does not qualify for academic credit.


Evaluation

The employer will be asked to complete a survey through which they can reflect upon their experience, evaluate the professionalism of their student, and make recommendations for change. The student will be asked to complete a survey reflecting on the benefits gained from participating in the experience and recommended improvements to the program.

HOST EVALUATION FOR JOB SHADOWING

STUDENT REFLECTION FORM FOR JOB SHADOWING


Additional Links

NACE Article: JOB SHADOWING: ORIENTATION A KEY FOR MAXIMIZING RESULTS


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