Here in the Office of Career Management, we’re constantly telling students to set up informational interviews. “They’re so important!” we say. “Do as many as you can!” we say.
But what happens after the informational interview? What if you want to know more? What if there’s a company you’re SO excited about that you just can’t even imagine working anywhere else? But you can’t yet, because you’re a freshman or sophomore and they won’t hire you yet? This is where a job shadow can swoop in and save the day!
By definition, a job shadow is a career exploration activity that offers an opportunity to spend time with a professional currently working in a person’s career field of interest. In other words, that person has the job you want at the company you want it at. You follow?
So to learn more about this particular job (as in, what does this person actually do all day?!?), setting up a job shadow can be an excellent way to see first-hand the duties and responsibilities of this individual, get a scope of the projects they work on, and even take a tour of the company.
The easiest way to initiate a job shadow is to find a professional with whom you would like to shadow and contact them in a professional manner. We recommend first reaching out to our office (The Office of Career Management) to see if any alumni have volunteered to have conversations with students.
From there, LinkedIn is your best bet. Start with OSU alumni in your chosen industry, and try to narrow your list down to 1-3 individuals. Reaching out to professionals in your chosen industry should always be in a professional, courteous manner. A sample email message to initiate the conversation can be found below.
Hello Mr. /Ms. Last Name
My name is Name, and I am currently a [year in school] at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and I am considering [field] as a future career path. After reviewing your LinkedIn profile, I was wondering if you might be willing to let me spend a day observing you so I can learn more about [field].