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Job Shadowing: Arrange to spend the day with a Lehigh alum at work

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

Set up a job shadow day with a Lehigh alum based on your specific job, industry or company of interest. Make the most of your winter break (and before the spring semester starts) by spending time in a professional environment that will help you understand career options for life after Lehigh.

Winter break is coming, and fast! Many students are looking forward to finishing up the semester, putting academic stress away for a few weeks and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. A little downtime is important for everyone, but there is an easy way to also use the winter break to grow your resume, build your network and most importantly, gain insight into career paths and industries. Job shadowing is a partial or full day experience where you watch, learn and ask questions of a professional while he/she is at work. Tap into the Lehigh Community to schedule your own job shadowing day.

Identify an ideal host

Use the growing community on Lehigh Connects to identify a professional at a company of interest, or within a job or industry of your choice. Use the filters (major, location, industry, key word, etc.) to sort from over 1,550+ Lehigh alumni mentors. Review their profiles to better decide if their career aligns with your interests and identify an alum that is regionally accessible for you. Use the “Lets Connect” button to send a message or meeting request for a job shadow date.

Review the Career Insights Page on LinkedIn which includes 50,000+ alumni and current students. Using the built in filters or key word search, narrow down the profiles to those in positions of interest. Using the “Connect” button and adding a note, ask to learn more about their work and job responsibilities by job shadowing.

Talk to your friends, family, classmates and faculty. Does anyone have a contact they could refer you to? Request an introduction or ask them to share contact information so you can communicate to schedule a job shadow day.

Time it well

Enjoy some time “off” during break and take time to catch your breath after finals. But be strategic with your time. Jan 2nd-19th is a great time to consider scheduling a job shadow. Most professionals have returned to work during this time and the spring semester won’t start until Jan 21st. You have more than 2 weeks during that time to give one or more days to job shadowing! You are welcome to request days outside that date range, but remember that vacation plans and holiday events are likely to keep some professionals out of the office.

Build Your Pitch

Dear (referred person),

My friend/uncle/classmate/professor Joe Schmoe recommended I connect with you, as your career is something I would love to learn more about. I am currently a sophomore studying _______ at Lehigh University and I am considering a career in __________. I would love to job shadow you during my winter break so I can learn more about the work you do and the environment at (company name). I am specifically available between Jan 2-19, is there a day during that time I could spend with you at work? I would be happy to accommodate your schedule as much as possible, and I can be flexible with the hours or timeline that works best for you. I would love to see what skills, projects and team dynamics are in play at (company name) to decide if positions like yours would be a good fit for me. I would also value your advice on how best to prepare and train for a future career in (industry of interest).

Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon,

(Your Name)

Dear _________,

I was thrilled to find your profile on Lehigh Connects and would love an opportunity to learn more about your position and company. I am currently a freshman at Lehigh and I am struggling to make an academic major decision and evaluate career options. Your position interests me because ________ but I would love to know more about what you do on an average day. I have a couple weeks available during my winter break between Jan 2-19 and would love to spend one of those days shadowing you to gain insight into your work responsibilities and company environment. If you are able to host me, I would love to take advantage of an opportunity to explore your career as a way to make some of my own career goals and academic decisions.

Thank you,

(Your Name)

Bring Questions

Go prepared with questions to ask your job shadow host by reviewing the “Questions for Your Mentor” attachment on the Handshake networking tile. Be sure you have read your host’s profile on Lehigh Connects or LinkedIn and done basic company research via the website or online tools.

Example questions:

  • How is success measured at your company?

  • What are some of the skills you use everyday?

  • How much of your day are you working independently vs in a group?

  • What does a career path look like within the industry?

  • What type of technology, programs or tools are important in your work?

  • How would you describe the leadership at your company?

  • Is an advanced degree or on the job training required for your work?

  • What should I ask myself or consider if I wanted to evaluate if this position would be a good fit for me?

  • What are challenges could I expect to face if I worked at this company/in your role?

  • Could I meet any other employees here to compare their role with yours?

  • How has your job changed in the past few years? What changes do you expect in the future?

  • What experiences should I complete as an undergraduate student to be competitive in the field?

  • If I wanted to do an internship in this industry, what advice do you have?

Take time to reflect

  • What did you learn?

  • Could you picture yourself in that role, at that company or working in that industry?

  • What information did you learn about next steps to take?

  • What classes, clubs, or groups could you join to build skills and experiences that relate?

  • Who could you talk to or job shadow next to explore other options?

  • Does your academic plan align with this career plan? What Lehigh majors connect to the industry?

  • What changes to your academics or career plans do you want to make now?

  • Now that you know what you know.... how does this information or experience help you make academic or career decisions?

Use the Career Center for more help

Attend Career Lab weekdays from 11 am - 2 pm to discuss your experiences, questions or shape your career goals with career center staff.

Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with a Career Coach on Handshake.

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