A checklist for students.

Job shadows (aka career in… programs) are brief programs to ‘taste’ a job, get a real life experience by spending time with someone who actually does the job. This could be done 1-1 or with a team. They typically cover multiple sessions of 30-60 minutes, and are either fully or partially done on line. *

What it would typically look like

An organized series of 4-6 sessions with one or more people who have an interest in your career field, more like an informational onboarding experience. A typical sequence could look as follows:

1st session (1:1): This is an introductory walk through of the host’s industry and organization: size and complexity in numbers; Key challenges and trends. Types of backgrounds of employees. This intro session is done by the host of the program. The host can also share her/his career background during this session.

2nd session (Team): The student/informational mentee meets with specific team members learning about their area or the field of expertise and their stories. They share their personal stories, Findmino competencies and how these competencies helped them get on their career pathway. (See below for more details).

3rd-5th session (Production/Activity & Team): The student/informational mentee is introduced to the production aspects of the organization and its other activities relevant to the career exploration.  Examples could include a live feed of the ‘production part’ of the organization. Alternatively, the student could meet with different team members in a different field of expertise within the same organization. How do they look at the field of expertise differently or related by way of the team conversation are interested in. Participants are asked to submit questions for this session in advance.

Closing Session: Q & A of questions by participants. Exchange contact details, in addition to what’s been shared in the system. 

Job shadow making notes

How to make them successful?

1. Prepare yourself well.

Before going there, look for information on the organization online. How big are they? Any recent publications that make the organization stand out? What’s going on in the industry? These are questions that will give you context for conversations, processes and meetings you see, experience and attend throughout the Job shadow.

Part of your preparation would also be to perform the swipe quiz at FindMino.com. The quiz gets you a personal profile and indication of what your competencies are, your interests and skills. Browsing FindMino and bookmarking jobs and/or majors might also help in getting yourself prepared well.

2. Show up on time.

Take the program as serious as a first day at work. Remember that the person receiving you will be putting in time just for you. Show up on time to show respect. And don’t forget that this contact might help you later on, at least as a reference, an internship and sometimes even as a place to find a job.

3. Dress appropriately.

Dress for the occasion. It is important to show respect to the person you will be meeting. This is important for real live meetings as well as online meetings. It may differ from a job shadow at an office to one in a groceries store, but generally dress professionally. Men, wearing a button up shirt will typically work fine. Women, dress modestly and avoid lots of flashy jewelry.

4. Ask questions. Make notes.

Show you are prepared. Bringing a note pad or iPad with questions comes across as professional, and prepared. And more importantly, it allows you to get the best out of the experience.

Take time to list the questions that matter most to you. Please find a few to get you started:

  • Get some basic facts about the organization you haven’t been able to find online: size of the business, in numbers and employees, number of branches/ offices. Are they just local or national, international?
  • How does your host view the prospects of the business they are in longer term? Would they recommend you to get into their industry?
  • What does your host like most about the organization and type of work;
  • What do they like least ?
  • What would they recommend in terms of education in order to be successful in their industry or business?
  • What personal characteristics and interests would make you successful in their industry for business ?
  • What is the one thing they wished someone had told them when they had your age, in terms of choosing the right career path?

5. Stay in touch.

Make sure you thank your host for the time spent. Ask if you could stay in touch. Exchange contact details. As said earlier, the host will most likely be happy to serve as reference for further programs you would like to join, other job shadows, internships.

6. Reflect and be honest.

Liked it, really ? After the job shadow, take time to reflect on your experience. Make notes of your conclusions. What did you like about what you experienced. What did you like less? Are the ‘likes’ of this experience outbalancing the ‘dislikes’? Take a close look again at your Swipe Assessment. How do your likes match your personal strengths and interests?

Admissions committees and future employers will love seeing job shadow experiences on your resume. Plus, it provides you with invaluable work experience and insights into a career you may consider.

*Covid-19 regulations will be leading in deciding to organize live events.

Further Resources

What is job shadowing and how can it help your career?

The importance of job shadowing.

How to job shadow? (YouTube, 4 min)