Job Shadow Instructions

What is a Job Shadow? 

Job Shadowing is a great way for students to learn more about a particular field of work by seeing it “up close and personal”. Most Shadows involve spending a full day or part of a day with a professional at his or her place of work observing what a typical day is like.

Reasons to do a Job Shadow

  • To explore careers and clarify your career goal                                                                        
  • To see first-hand what a person in that profession does                                                     
  • To make more informed decisions about your career goals
  • To expand your circle of professional contacts within a field or industry
  • To ask specific questions about a career field
  • To identify skills, education, and training needed in order to be successful in the field. 

Steps to Follow to Conduct a Job Shadow  

1. Identify the occupation or industry you wish to learn about

Assess your own interests, abilities, values, and skills, and evaluate labor conditions and trends to identify the best fields to research.

2.  Prepare for the Job Shadow

Read all you can about the field prior to the job shadow. Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation/industry. Prepare a list of tasks you would like to observe.

3.  Identify people to Job Shadow

Professional organizations, the Yellow Pages, and organizational directories, company websites are good resources. You may also call an organization and ask for the name and information for the person by job title.

4.  Arrange the Job Shadow 

Contact the person to set up a shadow:                                                                           

  • By telephone  
  • By a letter followed up by a telephone call
5.  Conduct the Job Shadow  
  • Arrive on time and at the agreed location  
  • Upon meeting your host, thank him/her for allowing you to spend some time with him/her.  
  • Explain the reason for your visit and highlight that you would like to gain additional information about  opportunities in the field.  
  • Acknowledge that you are there to observe and do not want to interfere with work obligations. Ask for advice on how to best accomplish this.  
  • While making observations, remain professional and ask questions when appropriate.  
  • Keep a positive attitude and remain engaged throughout your visit.  
  • Unless invited to stay longer, promptly end the visit at the agreed upon time.
6.  Follow up

Immediately following the job shadow, record the information gathered and complete the activity reflection. Be sure to send a “Thank You” note to your contact within one week of the job shadow.