Job Shadowing

What is job shadowing?

Job shadowing can vary in length, but usually lasts one or two days. It generally involves shadowing a professional through a normal day's activities and may include informational interviews, a tour of the facility, and participation in actual office projects, etc.

What is the difference between job shadowing and an internship?

Job Shadowing is short-term (one to two days), offers no pay or academic credit, and is hosted by volunteers in various organizations to help students gain an insider's view of a career field. Internships are longer term (a semester or summer), may involve pay and academic credit, and support an organization's work function.

Why should I participate in job shadowing?

Job shadowing is an excellent way to learn about the day-to-day work life of a professional in a career field of your choice. It offers you the chance to "test" a career without the risk of long- term commitment and can help you get your foot in the door for a competitive internship program or job.

How do I get started?

Use your personal network to identify potential contacts working in fields that are interesting to you. If this doesn't work, use the yellow pages of the phone directory, company's or organization's web pages, professional associations and career fairs.

Call the individual and indicate that you are seeking more information about their field and would like to spend a half day or day shadowing them on their job.

  1. Sound enthusiastic and excited about the prospect of shadowing this person.
  2. Refer to the research you've already reviewed about this field or organization.
  3. If the individual agrees to your request, schedule a time and date for this job shadowing experience to take place.

Here is an example of a telephone lead in to help you get started:

Hello Mr. Anderson, this is Linda Tran, a junior biology major at the University of Arkansas. I am considering becoming a physical therapist, but before deciding, I would like to spend a day or half a day shadowing someone currently working in this field. I am free on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. Would those be good days for you?