Are you starting a new career? Whether you're coming back into the workforce after a long absence, you're a new graduate, or you're one of the millions of adults switching careers just because you're ready for a change, consider job shadowing to give yourself a boost with your resume, networking, and interviews.
If you've been in the workforce a while, you may have a mental block about job shadowing--but it isn't just for students. The reason it's so associated with students is because they're the biggest group of people setting out on a new path. Just because you're an adult doesn't mean it's not a great idea for you, too. Anyone trying something new needs a way to test the waters first, and job shadowing can do a whole lot more for you, too.
Try Before You Buy
Job shadowing lets you try out a career for a day to see if you're really interested. You might like the idea of a job, but not like the day-to-day rhythms and challenges of it. Liking a "typical day" on the job will mean greater success for you down the road. When you're on the job shadow, ask questions about what the person likes and dislikes about that job, what a good career path looks like, and what more you need to do to get your foot in the door.
Build Your Network
Job shadowing is a great way to build your network in that area of the woods. As you go through the day you'll be meeting people and finding out who's who.
Boost Your Resume
Job shadowing helps you get critical keywords for your resume. Sure, you're going to play up your transferable skills when you're angling for a new career area. Along with that, use the job shadowing experience for buzz words that HR's computer systems are looking for when they scan for interview possibilities. Giving that job shadow a spot on your resume also shows that you're a person who's creative, enthusiastic, willing to learn, and willing to go the extra mile for success.
Ace Your Interview
Job shadowing helps you have a better interview. If you get called in for the interview, your job shadowing experience is going to give you more of substance to talk about. You're going to have more understanding of a typical day on the job and what the challenges and issues will be. That will help you speak more intelligently about what you can bring to the job, and why it's a good idea to hire you. It will also help tremendously in creating your 30/60/90-day plan--which is vital to your interview success when transitioning careers.
Seriously Consider a Job shadowing Experience
Most people will be flattered that you asked to follow them around and be more than willing to help. (It would be a nice gesture to treat them to lunch, though.) Just remember to do your research first, come dressed for work with your list of questions ready to go, and send a thank you note later.