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What’s the Big Deal with Job Shadowing?

By: Rebekah Parker

  • What is job shadowing?

Job shadowing is a great way to investigate career fields, clarify your career goals and build your professional network. Keep in mind that all job shadowing opportunities are unique, and depending on your Sponsor and their work environment, you may have the opportunity to participate in a number of professional activities. These activities can include observing a professional in action, conducting informational interviews, sitting in on staff meetings, touring the facilities and meeting professionals in your field of interest, and learning about the organization and occupational trends.


  • Why is it important?

In today’s job market we continue to hear “it’s not what you know but who you know,” which is so true when job hunting. This is where job shadowing can be very handy. While job shadowing is normally only a matter of hours or day, the experience can allow students to network and get their foot in the door for an outstanding job opportunity. Take a look at a number of benefits that can come from job shadowing, like exploring different career fields, observing a professional work environment, establishing a network of professional mentors, getting a head start in marketing yourself for internship and full-time job opportunities, and finding out if you are studying for the right career. Since job shadowing is a short-term, low-commitment option, it’s a great tool – in particular – for students who are still trying to decide on a major or career. Unlike internships, during which students commit to an entire  semester with a certain company, job shadowing gives students the opportunity to see what a job entails and understand if they would work well within this type of position in just a day or two.


  • How can I get started?

The Career Prospector program links students with alumni and other professionals who are willing to provide job shadowing opportunities. The first step is to meet with your career advisor and talk about the Career Prospector program. Once you have completed the orientation for this program, you can begin searching for opportunities on NinerJobNet and getting plugged in with companies all around the Charlotte area. You can schedule an appointment by calling 704-687-0795.

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