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Recommendations for Job Shadowing

Job shadowing can give students a glimpse into the world of work.

Job shadowing is a short-term experience designed to give students an up-close look at how an employee or group of workers do their jobs. Learners can observe people working in any type of job, in any industry.

For one day or one week, students "shadow" workplace mentors as they go through a normal day on the job. The learner observes the employee's work duties, interactions with customers or coworkers, meeting attendance, and other parts of the job. The program invites students to see firsthand how their skills and classwork relate to the workplace.

Job shadowing is a work-based learning experience that typically occurs as a career exploration activity in late middle school or early high school. Adults job shadow to help them decide if they want to change careers.

The learner is expected to ask questions to find out more about similar occupations, the company and the industry. These questions can be asked throughout the day or during an informational interview scheduled during the job shadow.

The Benefits of Job Shadowing

For Learners:

  • Provides an answer to the questions "Why do I have to learn this?" and "Would I want this job as part of my career?"
  • Gives a realistic view into all aspects involved in work. Students can observe the job characteristics and responsibilities to see how they match written career profiles.
  • Students learn firsthand what it takes to make it in their fields of interest from the people who know best — working professionals.

For Educators & Advisers:

  • Helps motivate academic learning of students by demonstrating the tangible applications of classroom lessons.
  • Motivates adult job seekers by helping them to visualize themselves in a new work environment.
  • Provides information to craft additional activities or lesson plans around students' career interests or needed skills.

For Employers & Mentors:

  • Helps prepare the future workforce for the skills and expectations needed to succeed.
  • Shows teens and adults career possibilities in different industries.
  • Demonstrates a tangible commitment to supporting and improving the community.
  • Creates a feeling of personal satisfaction that comes from mentoring another person.
  • Promotes potential long-term mentoring relationships.

Job Shadow Resources