Job shadowing refers to spending time with a person actively employed in a career of interest as she goes through her normal activities. Job shadowing offers the opportunity to see daily activities, responsibilities and interactions. It also offers an interested candidate the opportunity to ask questions and explore a career before committing to the field.
For students about to enter the workforce or those deciding on a career path, job shadowing offers the opportunity to examine a position before making a formal decision. It also offers the opportunity to make connections in a field of interest and gain additional information. For established professionals considering a new career, job shadowing helps ensure understanding of the new field and increases networking opportunities.
When seeking a job-shadowing opportunity, consider setting up multiple sessions. Each company is different, and the same position title can vary dramatically. Spending time with more than one professional in a field of interest ensures a solid understanding of the job's responsibilities, potential growth and areas of specialization.
Job shadowing ranges from short, informal sessions to more defined long-term events. For established professionals, it may be possible to set up brief shadowing sessions within the same company or within an established network. For those entering the workforce or establishing a career, shadowing sessions may be more formal and scheduled for a longer duration.