Once utilized by middle schools and high schools as a means to introduce students to numerous career choices, job shadowing is increasingly becoming popular with adults and professionals looking to make a change in their careers. Job Shadowing is a form of career exploration where one party follows another party during work hours to become privy to their work environment, job duties and overall satisfaction working within a particular industry and/or for a particular company. It is touted as the “close cousin” to an informational interview.
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It has become increasingly clear that job satisfaction is not what it once was in the work place. Many professionals are opting to take leaps of faith by quitting their once secure jobs in order to pursue areas and industries that truly interest them, regardless of age. Here are a few tips if you are interested in job shadowing:
1) Determine What You Want Out of the Experience:
Do you have a deep passion for animal but completely clueless about what it entails to be a veterinarian? Have you always had your sights set on dancing professionally on Broadway, but aren’t familiar with the grueling time requirements and dedication? Have you always dreamt of being the next Johnnie Cochran, but have never set foot in a courtroom? If this is the case, clearly determine what you want from the experience. The likelihood that you are offered an internship on the spot my not be vast, however, the shadowing opportunity may open your eyes to issues you may not have factored into your decision about whether or not to pursue this particular goal.
2) Narrow Down WHO You Would Like to Shadow:
Sure you may want to get a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a meteorologist, but have you pinpointed someone who is making great strides in this area of interest? Start from your immediate network of friends, family, colleagues and classmates (present and former) to specifically decide who you would like to shadow. It may be best to invite them out for coffee and/or lunch to get preliminary information about what they do and explain your interests to them. This gives them an opportunity to gauge whether or not they would like to expend their time and resources on your request.
3) Be Considerate:
People are busy. In your requests to shadow, make sure you are not a stalker and/or a nuisance in both procuring the opportunity and actually being in their presence.