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 Berry Career Institute and we can help you identify Cornell alumni, parents, or other volunteers to contact about setting up a job shadow experience. Learn more about Job Shadows and see professionals describe their jobs here.
Helpful Tips to Follow
- 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 - Building your professional network early can help you identify people who can get you connected in the right places.
- Arrange for the job shadowing experience - You will want to be courteous of the other person's time, figure out if it will be a half hour or a day or a week, whatever works for them. Make sure never to assume anything. Outline expectations clearly beforehand.
- Prepare for your job shadowing experience - Plan what you want to discuss. 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. Be on time. Dress appropriately. Always err on the side of more professional. Better to be over dressed than under dressed. Ask lots of questions and be prepared to talk about yourself and your interests too.
- 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 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.