Major / Career Exploration
What is Job Shadowing?
Job shadowing allows you to:
- Connect or “shadow” with a business professional (job shadowing mentor) who has specific knowledge about an occupation or career in which you are interested
- Observe responsibilities and tasks associated with the mentor’s career and have the opportunity to ask questions about the knowledge, skills, talents and level of education required for the job
- Job Shadowing is not a paid experience
Who should participate in shadowing?
We recommend job shadowing for all sophomores, but everyone is encouraged to take advantage of job shadowing to investigate possible careers.
How can job shadowing help me?
- Helps you explore various jobs and define career plans
- Make professional contacts in a given career field
- Try out a career before committing
- Minimizes the changing of majors during your junior and senior years
How can I find someone to shadow?
- Ask your family and friends if they know anyone in the career you are considering…chances are they do! Get them to introduce you to them.
- Faculty members can be a great help in locating someone to shadow in their field.
- Schedule an appointment with your Career Development Specialist to get tips and advice
- Review company/organization listings and reach out to a person/title of interest
- Join professional associations
- Career fairs at Georgia Southern
Job Shadowing Application Form
How to Contact
The phone call to the employer is an important first step. When you decide exactly what you want to say, write it out, practice saying it, make the necessary changes and practice again.
Start with a script such as:
My name is __________________. I am a junior at _______________, majoring in ________________. I am interested in exploring a career as a _____________ and would like to job shadow at your company. Would it be possible to speak with someone who might help me arrange a job shadowing experience? I would like to come in to spend some time with someone to observe and ask questions.
Be ready to answer questions from the employer such as when and for how long you want to visit, as well as what kinds of activities you want to observe.
Once you have secured your shadowing experience, give this letter to the host as a formal thank you from the University. If the employer returns the completed form to you, please return the form to the Career Services Office in the Williams Center.
What to do Before, During & After Job Shadowing
- Complete the Job Shadowing Application Form.
- Contact the employer to confirm the time and date of your shadowing experience.
- Remember that the employer is volunteering to host you. Be respectful of their time.
- Research the organization. While you may know the details about the specific position you are shadowing, make sure you understand the company, as well.
- Find out what the normal attire is in the office and how you are expected to dress. For example, if you will be shadowing a physician and the physician wants you to wear scrubs, do not come in a suit and tie or a skirt and blouse.
- DO NOT wear low-cut shirts, tight clothing, flip flops, or strappy sandals
- Write a list of questions as you think of them. See a list of sample questions below.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Do not arrive earlier than that or on time. You are trying to make a good impression, so “on time” may be considered “late,” especially if the first thing on your itinerary will be attending a meeting.
- Restate your purpose for shadowing and your gratitude for the opportunity.
- Maintain a professional composure. Do not text at any time or use the internet for anything other than professional use. Turn your cell phone on silent or off.
- Take notes. Take notes any time you feel you need to, not just when the employer is answering your questions.
- Some career fields require that you keep confidentiality. Be sensitive with this information.
- Stay within the agreed time frame of your shadowing experience. Prolonging or trying to abbreviate your experience may look bad and/or may interfere with the employer’s itinerary for the day.
- Write a thank you letter. Show your gratitude by writing a letter to the professional. Make sure you write personal details in the thank you letter, especially anything you really enjoyed.
Job Shadow Info Interview Questions
Questions to ask employers during your job shadow experience:
- How did you get your job?
- On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
- What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
- What training or education is required for this work?
- What personality qualities/attributes are important for success in this job?
- What skills does your employer look for in new hires?
- What types of positions are available within this organization?
- How much travel is normally expected in your job?
- What entry-level opportunities are best for learning about this field?
- How do you see jobs in this field changing over time?
- What types of training do companies offer people in this field?
- What sort of work is expected during the first few years?
- What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?
- What are the salary ranges for various positions within this field?
- What advice would you give someone entering this field?
Last updated: 6/21/2017