Host a Job Shadow
The UNH Career Center is excited to work with alumni and employers who want to host first and second year UNH students for job shadowing experiences. Alumni and employers who provide job shadowing opportunities make a valuable contribution in educating our students on potential career paths by giving them the ability to observe and ask questions of professionals in their daily activities and work functions. This opportunity also provides you the benefit of showcasing your company and helps you identify future talent early in their college career. We greatly appreciate your willingness to take the time and teach our students so they can make informed decisions that will impact their future.
As the host employer, you determine and manage the content and duration of the job shadow experience. Shadowing experiences can be a half to full day, to a few weeks.
Here is one shadowing example schedule:
- 9:00 - Welcome and orientation, brief tour of facility
- 9:30 – Meet with professional staff to shadow: Overview of company, culture and department. Discuss agenda and goals of the day
- 10:00 - Shadow staff (could be more than one individual in same/similar role or department). Possible experiences: Overview of job, informational interview, observe team meeting(s), observe customer interaction, visit to local client off-site.
- 12:00 - Wrap-up and lunch. Review experience with student. Provide contact information for students to encourage them to stay connected with the people they shadowed.
This example outline can be adjusted depending on staff availability/involvement and how structured you want the experience to be. If UNH interns and alumni are available, it’s encouraged to connect them with the student shadowing. The following best practice tips will help make for a beneficial experience for your organization and the students.
Having a structured plan/schedule for the student will make the experience easier to manage for the employer and also help the student know what to expect. Though students are expected to contact employers to arrange the details of the job shadow experience, the employer should send a schedule to students before they arrive on site (as well as directions to your office and information about parking). Having a schedule will also help the student prepare their questions and feel more comfortable – helping them get more from the experience.
Engage the Student
Students may be nervous in a new professional environment, so the more you engage them by being approachable and making the process feel like a conversation instead of a class lecture, the more they will learn about your job and gain from the experience. When employers actively share insights from their experience and valuable professional development information with the student, the job shadow experience has the greatest benefit.
Seeing the Big Picture
Another great way to help students learn about a potential career is to have them observe different aspects of your company. Give them a tour of your facility. Introduce them to your co-workers to get a greater understanding of your company culture. Help them gain broader exposure to the various ways they can apply their major. Show them new technologies and help them make connections between their studies, skills, and your company. The students will value the diverse exposure to the organization and job functions. If your company has an internship program, you may even introduce your student to some of your interns to give them a valuable peer perspective of your company and its work.
Information and Follow Up for the Student
At the conclusion of the job shadow, please share materials with the student about your company and industry, including related professional industry association information and a business card so they can follow up with you if they have questions, and thank you for helping them as they explore their career interests.