The Internet has opened up whole new worlds of information and is a fantastic resource for researching companies and careers during a job search . But for all its wealth of information, even the Internet can't beat the experience of learning about a company or career by experiencing it in person in the shadow of a working professional.
Contact The Career Engagement Center and we can help you identify Cornell alumni, parents, or other volunteers to contact about setting up a job shadow experience.
Helpful Tips to Follow
- If you need a vehicle for transportation to the location sign up with Hertz early so that you can be approved.
- Know what you want to accomplish - The primary objective of job shadowing is to investigate a specific career field so you can make a more informed career decision.
- Identify your potential contacts - When you know what you want to accomplish, ask yourself, “Who has the information I need?”
- Arrange for the job shadowing experience - You will want to discuss this with your job shadowing mentor. Your experience could be arranged for a half hour to a day or a week. It will typically start with questions related to the job or specific career field.
- Prepare for your job shadowing experience - Plan what you want to discuss with your job shadowing mentor. Come prepared with specific questions. Even though you are looking for information rather than a job, this same organization might have an opening in the future in which you would be interested. Being prepared will assist making a good first impression.
- Day of job shadowing - Remember that this is a professional experience. You do not need to wear “interview apparel” however, you should dress appropriately; “business casual.”
- Try to obtain additional contact names - Before you conclude the job shadowing experience, ask your mentor if they can think of other individuals that might be helpful to contact for additional job shadowing and career related information. By doing this you will gradually build your professional network.
- Follow up - Write your mentor a thank you letter as soon as possible. Mention some items that you found particularly interesting or helpful. Some contacts may ask you to stay in touch so they can monitor your career path.
- To contact the job shadowing mentor selected by telephone, email, or letter, and to arrange a meeting date. This meeting will be at the mentor’s place of work.
- To become familiar with the job shadowing process and prepare in advance the questions that will be asked during the meeting.
- To arrive at the agreed upon time and dressed appropriately.
- To follow up the interview with a thank you note.
Adapted from UW-Platteville Career Center
Learn more about Job Shadows and see professionals describe their jobs here.