What is Job Shadowing? And how can it improve your career?

Job shadowing is the process to learn about a specific job or career. It involves spending time or working with a professional who might: have something to teach or is able to help the person shadowing him to learn new aspects related to the job, organization, certain behaviors or competencies.

By observing the journey of the professional while doing his daily work, the trainee will be able to get the real sense of the job and its different tasks.

  • How does it work?

Each job-shadowing experience has its own particularities.

However, the process evolves around following an employee and observing him practicing his daily job. You might be asked to help with certain tasks or even learn critical skills to the job. Some professional working in the company can give you the chance to ask some questions throughout the day or at the ending of the experience.

  • How to get the most of job shadowing?

To profit from a job-shadowing experience, you should be prepared and you must follow the following steps:

-Prepare questions. You will probably get the opportunity to ask the employee questions about the job. So, it’s important to write down some questions ahead of time. You should also prepare yourself to talk about your future goals, where did you interned previously, and why you’re interested in this job.

-Be informed about the job and company. Before starting your experience, take your time and do some research about the person you will be shadowing, spy his LinkedIn profile and social media and visit the company website to know more details about your job.

-Dress professionally. Adopt yourself and your dressing code to the company you will work for, what is considered professional depends on the industry and field of the job. When in doubt, ask the person your shadowing for advices.

-Bring something to write on. Since you will need to write down some notes during your shadowing experience, you better take a note book and a pen to be fully ready. This will help you also to write any questions or idea that might arise.

-Pick a good time. If you are a student, you should pick a time that works the best for you, to start your shadowing experience, this might be during your summer break or winter break.

-Behave professionally. Besides having a professional dress code, you must behave professionally. Be attentive, show your enthusiasm and participate throughout the job shadowing experience.

  • Benefits of Job Shadowing 

Job shadowing have a lot of advantages, like:

-Helping the trainee or the intern decides if its actual skills match the career field of interest and know how his competencies acquired from school or previous jobs might be useful to the new post.

-Having a real snapshot of a day in the life of a professional expert. This will help the candidate decide whether or not he will be enjoying the job.

-Developing your professional network and increasing the number of your contacts. When shadowing someone who is competent in his career field, you will get the chance to know experts, professional who might work as your referrals, give you recommendations. You can also gain a useful resource as you begin to seek and apply for jobs or internships.

-Since job shadowing is a short-term experience, it is a good way to decide whether or not you want to pursue a particular career before applying for it.

Advice: at the end of your job shadowing experience, make sure to write a thank-you note to the employee who coached you, for giving you the opportunity to learn from them. Stay in touch with him/her because they will be a valuable networking contact when you will begin looking for a job.

Sources :

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_shadow
  2. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-job-shadowing-2062024

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