Employer & Alumni Job Shadow Information

A job shadow consists of a student “shadowing” you during a typical workday to develop career-related knowledge and skills. You will have the opportunity to be a part of the student’s career exploration as he or she gains insight into your industry and field.

Below are a few FAQs to help you understand more about the job shadow experience.

What is my main objective as a job shadow host?

To provide an educational experience in which students leave with a realistic idea of what it is like to work in your profession.

What is the purpose of a job shadow experience for the student?

Students will “shadow” an alumnus/employer during a typical workday to develop career-related knowledge and skills and to engage in career exploration as they are in the beginning stages of thinking about potential career paths. Also, as a result of this experience, we hope students will gain valuable skills to do future job shadows on their own.

What additional information should I provide to a student before the job shadow?

Provide the student with the following:

  • Location/address and where to go when they arrive
  • Parking information
  • Dress code (be as specific as possible, i.e. wear a business suit)
  • What to bring with them (example: money for lunch)
  • Itinerary for their visit

What should I plan to do or talk about with the student during the job shadow?

Students will visit with you at your workplace, see your work in action and may be allowed to participate in some type of meaningful activity (examples: participating in a marketing plan brainstorm session with your creative team; writing a press release for a sample client).  The experience can be structured in many ways with the goal being to provide a realistic understanding of a career field.

Ideas of activities for your job shadow itinerary can include:

  • Observation of daily routine
  • Participation in meetings or presentations
  • Listening in on customer/conference calls
  • Facility tours
  • Speaking with a variety of employees in different departments
  • Lunch with you and other employees

Below are some topics you may want to share with a student:

  • Occupational Field – How has it changed from the time you graduated? How do you see it affected, if at all, by the economy? What graduate degrees are prominent in this industry?
  • Current Job – What do you like best and least about your job?  What types of people do you work with and for?  What is your current role and responsibility?
  • Career Future/Alternatives – What other jobs and careers could you go into? If things develop as you would like, what types of career goals do you see for yourself? Before choosing this path what other employers were you considering?
  • Lifestyle – What obligation does your work place upon your personal time? How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, hours of work, vacation schedule? How often do people in your line of work change jobs?
  • Advice for a New Professional – How is the current workforce in your industry in relation to the economy? What do you look for in a new hire?  What keywords do you look for in a resume?
  • College Activities – Which campus activities helped you prepare for your current professional position?  The job market in general?  Which activities or courses do you wish you had taken to be better prepared for what you are doing right now?
  • Feedback – What should the student think about for future job shadow experiences?

Throughout the conversation, please keep in mind the student’s developmental level.  Students may have little knowledge, understanding, or experience with your industry and work role, and are using the job shadow to further develop and learn about career options in the world of work. Remember your own career exploration period and the successes and challenges you faced during that time.

How are Students Prepared for a Job Shadow Experience?

In order to participate, students must complete the following items:

  1. Handshake Application
  2. Job Shadow Reflection
  3. Resume
  4. Job Shadow Opportunity Survey

Students are also provided information about the following:

  • The purpose of a job shadow experience – they will understand that this is a short-term experiential education opportunity designed to learn more about career options, companies, and job roles in the world of work (you, as host, are not committing to an internship, full-time employment, a letter of
  • Be prepared to tell you what they would like to get out of their visit by identifying their goals and purposes for participating in a job shadow experience
  • What to wear (business casual attire, or other attire as directed by you)
  • What to bring (paper, pen, resume, water, money for lunch or parking, etc.)
  • General office conduct/etiquette (be polite and respectful, no chewing gum, be on time)
  • How to develop a list of questions for you about your work, industry, and company
  • How to follow-up with a thank you note and additional questions that may arise after the job shadow

Who should I contact with any questions, concerns, or feedback?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lori Sykes, Assistant Director, Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, at sykeslh@nullwfu.edu or 336.758.3850.