New year new connections, right? Learn the benefits of job shadowing and why it is so important during the networking process.
The Importance of Job Shadowing
The start of the spring semester brings a lot of things. Snowstorms, career fairs, internship and job searching, and for some of you, graduation prep. It may seem like the importance of networking gets preached at students from the day they step foot on campus. But that’s because it is one of the best things (besides studying) that you can do to improve your college experience. Speaking of networking, an excellent way to network is to job shadow while you are still a student. Job shadowing is when you shadow a working professional who works in a field that you are interested in. Let’s get into some of the benefits of job shadowing and why it is so important.
See if the career/position is right for you
Job shadowing can help you decide if the career you are interested in is the right fit for you. The last thing you want is to enter the workforce after 4+ years of college only to realize that you don’t like the career as much as you thought you did. Maybe this career requires you to work 80-hour weeks in order to meet deadlines or maybe it just isn’t as glamorous as you originally thought. Even if you are passionate about an industry and are sure you want to work in that field, job shadowing can help you narrow down what kind of position is best for you. Consider job shadowing multiple positions at a company in one day to see where you would best fit in that industry.
Build up your resume
Most of the time employers want you to have more than just a four-year degree on your resume. Job shadowing is a great way to figure out what skills you can develop now to help you stand out when it comes to application time. Take the time during your job shadowing experience to ask your mentor what you can do now to help improve your resume and skills. This not only helps you beef up your resume but it’s also a good way to show the mentor that you are ambitious and willing to put in the extra work it takes to improve yourself. With job shadowing, you can also figure out what employers are looking for in your industry. Think of it as a bit of on the job training before you even interview for the job.
Practice talking to business professionals
Talking to professionals who seem like they have it all together can be intimidating. But trust me, most professionals are more than happy to help out the next generation of their industry. Spending even half of a day shadowing someone on the job is a good way to get comfortable with having professional conversations, which will help you greatly when it comes to career fairs, job interviews and other networking events. Job shadowing provides you with a more casual opportunity to practice your networking skills. And although you should practice being professional, don’t forget to ask all of your questions. Don’t worry, it won’t make you look weak; it will make you look interested and ambitious.
Learn about an organization’s work culture
Not every employer is created equal as you will learn when interviewing and accepting career jobs. Job shadowing allows you to learn about the work cultures of different organizations and learn which culture you like best. This is helpful to know when choosing between job offers since work culture can often make or break a decision. While job shadowing you have the opportunity to ask any questions that you’ve ever had about your future career to someone who lives and works in the real world of that industry.
Networking, Networking, Networking
Last but certainly not least: networking. Job shadowing is a unique way to network, it allows you to build a personal relationship with members of an industry. Having those close relationships can come in handy when needing recommendations or when searching for opportunities in that industry. Having one-on-one time with professionals makes you easier to remember when it comes to application time and keeps your name top of mind in the industry. So don’t forget to send thank you emails or notes and keep in contact with the connections that you make while job shadowing.