Shadowing Tips & Tricks

Congratulations on taking the first real steps to your dream job.  Shadowing gives you your first real exposure to the job – beyond the pretty perks and society’s view.  The job is likely more than what you think.  It could be harder, more rewarding, more exhausting, you’ll never know until you see first hand.  Use these tips to make the most of your day.

  • Do your research | Know the person your about to shadow. Know the job they do. Know what to expect.  Not only will this help reduce anxiety as you head in, but it will also allow you to be well prepared for the day, making you look like a strong candidate for any potential future opportunities like internships or opening positions.
  • Come with questions | You’re shadowing to explore a potential career – surely you have some question about the job, the experiences of the person your shadowing, or the company where you are shadowing.  If you do not have any questions at all, then perhaps you should explore a new career because you’re not interested enough for this one.
  • Dress the part | Do not show up to a business office in jeans and a t-shirt.  Likewise, don’t show up to a contracting job in a cocktail dress.  When in doubt what to wear, don’t be afraid to ask!  It’s much better to ask than to show up looking like a dunce wearing the wrong thing.
  • Be genuine and enthusiastic about the opportunity | If this is a job you are shadowing for, there is obviously a reason for it.  There must be a passion there for that job.  If there isn’t, what are you doing?  Go in to this opportunity and let that passion shine.  Go in with heart and an openness about you that accepts everything this opportunity presents.
  • Follow-up with a warm thanks and solidify that network connection | Show the staff you genuinely appreciate them taking you with them on their day.  Make it personable, referencing something you talked about with them, follow up on something you mentioned checking out, wish them the best of luck with their kid’s first day of kindergarten…include something to show you were genuinely interested in them and the conversations you had.  Don’t overdo it and write them a three page love letter summarizing every single thing you talked about that day, pick one or two key points.

Remember while you are shadowing to engage with the person you are shadowing with to show them you are interested and make them feel purposeful in showing you the ropes.  Don’t take a moment for granted.  Ask questions, make the most of the opportunity, and make the best first impression.  Good luck and have the best day!

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