By Joanne Wood
The concept of job shadowing has been around for ages and is a great way to explore what it would be like to work in a specific industry. From 15-year-old learners to 40 year olds in search of a career change, job shadowing can be useful career decision-making tool – provided it’s done right!
Try these strategies to get the most out of your next job shadowing experience:
- 1. Use your contacts
Networking is one of the most effective ways of securing a job – and the same applies to job shadowing! Ask friends, lecturers, colleagues, relatives – anyone you can think of who may know someone working in the industry in which you’re interested. But, if you’re still not getting anywhere, call the HR Department of the company you’re interested in or a company in the field you want to explore; be specific and tell them the position you’d like to shadow so they can connect you to the relevant person or department. You may be transferred several times, or even need to try a few companies, but you’ll eventually find someone willing to help.
- 2. Be professional
Remember, the person you’re approaching to shadow is a professional whose time is valuable. Ultimately, you are asking them to invest their time in you. Show you’re taking the opportunity seriously by providing them with a CV and motivation letter explaining what you hope to gain from the experience – and ways in which you’ll be positively contribute to the working environment.
- 3. Send a reminder
Phone the person you’re planning to shadow three days before you’re due to start. This will ensure they are expecting you and are prepared for your arrival.
- 4. Dress appropriately
Find out the company’s dress code by researching their website or phoning their HR department. If in doubt, always go for a more rather than less formal look.
- 5. Take notes
You’re likely to be exposed to many new things during your job shadow experience. Note down your reflections and key lessons so you have something concrete to refer back to afterwards.