Why Job Shadowing is key to the career growth of a student?

Category : Jobs and Internships | Sub Category : Posted on 2021-05-06 13:13:42

Why Job Shadowing is key to the career growth of a student?

What is Job Shadowing? 

Job shadowing is where a student or an individual from one area of the organisation has the opportunity to work alongside and gain experience of the role of another individual, and gain insights into that particular work environment. Job shadowing involves spending time following a professional as they work. By observing the professional for anywhere from a few hours to several days, you can get a better understanding of their particular career.

Why should students do job shadowing? 

Whether you’re a high school student or in your first years of university, you may be looking around ideas of what you’d like to do in your future.  What career would you like to pursue? Or Where do you want to work from? If you’re someone who is wondering what type of career to choose or even someone who is pretty sure that you have it all figured out, you may want to set up some job shadowing experiences to make sure that you’re aware of what your “dream job” should look like.

Job shadowing is an opportunity for students to observe an employee performing their daily work routine in their environment.  It allows you to explore specific careers and to get a realistic picture of the tasks performed at that job. This allows you to make an informed decision about your career of choice!

How do you prepare for Job Shadowing?

It is more important to be prepared for a job-shadowing experience so you can get the most out of it.

Plan your schedule ahead of time

Pick a time that you can commit to. This might be over a summer break. However, you also need to consider the job. For example, if you want to shadow a teacher, it will be harder to find one working during the summer.

Do your research

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the person you will be shadowing. It's also a good idea to visit the company's website. This context will be helpful during the experience. 

Stay in touch with the person you are shadowing, they will be an invaluable networking contact as you begin to look for a job. Also, write a thank-you letter to the host for giving you the opportunity to learn from them.

Prepare your questions

You likely will have an opportunity to ask the host person questions about the job, so prepare some ahead of time. You should also be ready to talk about your career goals, where you've worked or interned previously, and why you're interested in the job. 

The following questions serve as suggestions of topics you may want to discuss with the person you are shadowing. Be prepared with at least 10 questions from this list to ask your mentor.

Questions about the job:

  • What is involved in a typical day?

  • What are some of the routine aspects of your position?

  • How did you get interested in this field?

  • What keeps you in the profession?

  • What are the toughest problems you face?

  • What skills are most essential for effectiveness in this field?

  • What personal/professional qualities will contribute to success in this field?


  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to do this kind of work?

  • How did you prepare for this field?

  • If you were a college student again, what would you do? the same and/or differently?

  • What careers are possible with my major?

  • What experiences during college will enhance my employability?

  • What types of training are provided to persons entering this field?

  • How can students find summer jobs or internships in your field?

  • Are there other means of gaining experience before graduation?

  • Is a graduate degree important? If so, what fields of study are helpful?

  • Can you recommend sources for more information?

Take Notes

You will want to record what you learn throughout your shadowing experience and write down any additional questions that arise. Bring a notepad and pen, so you're prepared.

Benefits of Job Shadowing for the student

  • Learn from the experiences of the host person

  • Coaching and mentorship

  • Develop your skills

  • Understand why things work the way they do

Benefits of Job Shadowing for the host person

  • Learn from the student 

  • The opportunity to view and reflect on your own area of work supported by the “fresh eyed” view of the student 

  • Develop your coaching/mentoring skills

If you're thinking of developing your career before even securing a job then job shadowing might be a good idea. Start by meeting with a career counselor at your school or get in touch with your college career services office www.talentmatch.rw Or, you can just reach out to professional contacts, friends, and family to see if you can spend a day with them in the office.



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