Job Shadow Etiquette

Have you heard about the Shadow Program through the Luther Career Center yet? If not, this program provides you with the opportunity to explore a career in your field of interest. The first step includes coming into the Career Center (2nd floor Union) and signing up in the area you would like to shadow. After Spring Break, you will be sent an email including information about the professional that you will be observing in Decorah. The great thing about this opportunity is that there is no required amount of time that you must spend at your site. It all depends on how busy your schedule is, and how much time the professional allows. Also, all years and majors are welcome to sign up. Sound like something you would be interested in? Come visit us in the Career Center- deadline to sign up is Friday, March 15th.

                Whether you decide to sign up for the Shadow Program, or have planned a job shadowing experience of your own, it’s good to know the etiquette for these semi-informal experiences.  Some job shadowing opportunities are arranged after a job interview, and some are simply used to experience new career paths. Whatever the reason, creating a great first impression with these professional contacts is valuable for networking reasons.

Before you go into the shadowing day, make sure you have done plenty of research about the company. Even though you are going there to learn about how the business works, the professional will expect that you know the background information.  Really, anything listed on their website is considered ‘common knowledge’ in a sense, and you should know all of this before the experience.  Also make sure that you are aware of dress expectations in the workplace. It is always better to dress too professionally than Too casual.  

Keep in mind that this employee still has to fulfill their tasks for the day even if you are there. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to sit in the corner quietly observing them, but also don’t bombard them with endless questions that take up significant work time. Prepare plenty of meaningful questions beforehand, and act genuinely interested in the company’s work.  After your job shadowing experience, make sure you follow up with a thank-you letter and reiterate your gratitude for the time they spent with you.