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Gretel Deruiter

Gretel Deruiter

Use Job Shadowing to Boost Your Career

Job shadowing can help you find new opportunities that are good for your career. This activity is often used to help those in high school and college, but established professionals can also benefit from job shadowing.  Here’s how:

  1. Explore new possibilities. If you are looking at fundraising for the first time, job shadowing allows you to explore this new field with little risk. It helps you focus on the positive and negative aspects of the opportunity, seeing how it fits your current skills and needs, without requiring a commitment.


  1. First-hand experience can help you narrow down choices. By being in the workplace and seeing the daily interactions and tasks of someone with a particular job, you can make decisions that better support your goals.


  1. Dress appropriately. Ask questions before the job shadowing begins so you can dress appropriately for the position. You’ll blend in better and gain more respect and also discover if you’re comfortable with the dress code.


  1. Learn the details. Job shadowing gives you a unique chance to ask those involved questions about their career and work-life balance. Your questions matter as long as they are related to the work being performed. This is also a chance to show the office your ideas and skills.


  1. Stay open to changes. Job shadowing can involve more than sitting in an office and watching others work all day. You may be asked to join meetings at restaurants or attend events at other offices. It’s important to stay flexible and keep your schedule open. These unique opportunities can offer your career an incredible boost.


  1. Bring business cards. Offer a card to everyone you meet at the job-shadowing opportunity. In addition, consider making them unique so people will remember you.  


  1. Take notes. You can use a digital device or a traditional notebook.


  • As you may be presented with a great deal of information and ideas while you job shadow, notes can help you keep track of the important points and make a list of your questions.


  • Taking notes shows staff members you’re interested in the job and want to learn more.


  • Pay attention to office policies. If notes are avoided during certain meetings to protect client privacy, you’ll need to follow suit.


  1. Send hand-written thank-you notes. Online communication may be faster and easier, but hand-written notes show you care about and are grateful for the opportunity once it is over. All the people who took the time to help you deserve a note. And send notes to people in power so they will remember you when it comes time to fill a position.


Job shadowing offers you the chance to experience a new field and learn more about a career. Taking full advantage of this opportunity will help lead you down the path to success in your chosen field.

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.