UShadow host Rick de la Guardia speaking UShadow host Rick de la Guardia speaking
UM Alum Rick De la Guardia from DLG Engineering, Inc., speaks about the benefits of job shadowing.

Wondering if you’re on the right career path? Learn more about a career or work environment through job shadowing.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing experiences allow you to gain insight into a career by observing a professional in their work environment. Through sufficient preparation, job shadowing should serve as a highly immersive learning experience. Most importantly, observing professionals in the workplace has the potential to help you make more informed decisions about your career choice. Depending on your interest and the flexibility of your job shadowing host, job shadowing can take place over the course of one day or even several days. Considering multiple shadowing opportunities can also help you gain a more holistic understanding of a career in your field of interest. 

Benefits of Job Shadowing

  • Develop a holistic perspective of the benefits and challenges of a specific career 
  • Find mentors in your field(s) of interest  
  • Build your professional network  
  • Gain professional experience you can discuss when interviewing for jobs 
  • Hone essential career readiness and industry-specific skills

Types of Job Shadowing Experiences

  • Meeting(s) with your job shadow host virtually or in-person 
  • Informational interview(s) with your host and other members of their company/organization about their job responsibilities and career paths 
  • Shadowing throughout a half-day, full-day, or over the course of several days or weeks achieved through observation, activity briefings, and sometimes the performance of hands-on activities under the supervision of the host
  • Lunch meeting followed by a tour (virtual or in-person) of a company 
  • And other relevant professional activities! 

Finding a Professional to Shadow

  • Research your field of interest to find a specific position (or positions) that you would like to learn more about.
    • Need help figuring out what areas you would be interested in exploring? Check out our SCAN webpage dedicated to helping you explore possible occupations and life paths based on your interests, passions, needs, and skills. 
  • Utilize networking resources such as LinkedIn or our Cane2Cane Career & Mentorship Network to find professionals who might be open to having you shadow them.
    • On Cane2Cane, under the “Community” tab, you can search for mentors by location, industries, majors, and more. You can also find mentors who have selected "Job Shadowing" as a help topic. This way, you can explore with confidence knowing they are looking for the opportunity to serve as a job shadow resource. 
    • On LinkedIn, you can search for University of Miami alumni through the alumni tool and filter by location, degree, company, job role, and more. 
  • Ask any professional that you meet for the opportunity to shadow them in their workplace.
  • Connect with contacts from your own network, or the networks of friends and family.

Tips to Maximize a Job Shadowing Experience

  • Before your job shadowing experience, create a list of questions to ask your host. You can find a list of sample questions in this guide. 
  • Dress as though you are going to a job interview to practice professionalism and leave hosts with positive impressions to maintain these connections if desired.
  • Take notes throughout your job shadowing experience to record things you learn and demonstrate interest. 
  • Demonstrate respect and gratitude to your hosts by thanking them afterward with a thank you note or email. Keep the thank you note concise, express your gratitude towards the top of your note, mention a specific thing you learned or enjoyed while shadowing your host, and review your grammar and spelling. Here is a sample thank you note for a job shadow host.  

Informational Interviews

When you are job shadowing, it is important to utilize your time to gain further information about a career you might be interested in or a company you might want to work for. Informational interviews are a way to gather this information from the professionals you are meeting.

Check out this guide that our Toppel staff has put together to conduct an informational interview! 

Learn how to get the most out of an informational interview.