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Job Shadow Tips

Before going on a job shadow, review these tips to help you be successful. If you have any questions, contact your work-based learning coordinators.

One way to prepare for your call is to create a script and use it to practice. You don‘t need to follow the script word for word, but having something prepared will help you stick to the point and get the information you need. A script can also be helpful in case you are nervous or are worried about what to say during the call.

When calling a business, use a professional voice, not a conversational tone that you might use when talking to your friends on the phone. Unlike a friend, a potential business host has never met you. When you call to introduce yourself, you are making an important first impression.

Example Script

Hello, May I speak with ___(Name of Your Business Host)___, please?

When your business host comes to the phone, say the following:

Hello, my name is ________. I am calling from ___(Your High School)___ to confirm my job shadow on ___(Day of the Week)___, ___(Month and Date)___ from ___(Start Time)___ to ___(End Time)___.

Is there anything else I need to know upon arrival? (Confirm attire, parking, etc.)

Thank you. I look forward to seeing you soon. Goodbye.

Preparing for Your Job Shadow

Dress to Impress

  • Dress appropriately for the workplace. Most employers are looking for neat, clean clothes. 
  • If the employer suggests what to wear (may be more casual or more professional), do as they ask. 
  • Do not wear clothing that conveys a political or social statement.
  • Do not wear your hat indoors.

The fact that you are sensitive to an employer’s concerns and that you are willing to comply with business expectations regarding appearance will make a lasting impression.

Prepare for a Successful Visit

  • Turn off your cell phone—or better yet, leave it in your car. 
  • Leave gum, food, drinks, and candy in your car.
  • Arrive a few minutes early to allow time for parking and locating your site host.
  • Introduce yourself and offer a handshake and a smile.
  • Be attentive and act interested the entire time.
  • Apply general rules of courtesy. Say please, thank you, and excuse me. Don't use profanity or vulgarity.
  • Use good posture and eye contact.
  • Bring a folder, binder, or notebook with paper to take notes, your list of questions, etc.  Listen carefully, observe, and take good notes.
  • Ask for a business card. You will need a complete name, job title, and address for your thank-you letter. If they do not have a business card, write down the information. Add this person to your contact list.

Ask Your Host Questions

When you are on-site with your business host during your job shadow, it is appropriate to ask questions. They may ask you at different times throughout the day if you have any questions, so be prepared with a few questions you may want to ask. Here are several questions for you to consider.
  1.  What do you like about your job?
  2. What do you dislike about your job?
  3. What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in your job?
  4. How much job security is there for people in this field?
  5. What other jobs could a person do with the skills you have gained in this field?
  6. What are the biggest challenges in your job?
  7. What are the biggest rewards in your job?
  8. What advice would you give someone?
  9. What type of schooling or training is necessary for this job?
  10. Other than what I observe while I am here what is a typical day in your life like in this position?

Write down a few questions of your own before you get to your site. Remember, the better prepared you are, the more valuable the experience will be.

Cedar Valley Career Connections

Work-Based Learning Coordinators

Find your work-based learning coordinator

Kelly Kobliska
319-296-2329 ext.1024
Email me

Erin Swancutt
319-296-2329 ext.2022
Email me

Stacy Ascher
319-296-4029
Email me

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