Advertising and Public Relations students are always thinking of ways to build up their resumes, gain more experience in the field, and set themselves apart for other people they will compete against for jobs. Job shadowing is one of the ways students can accomplish all those things. Following a professional around his or her day to day tasks at work is also a fast way for students to find out if they like the job. Job shadowing can range from one day to weeks, and it also unpaid. Here are some tips to help you have a successful job shadow.
One of the things you should always bring with you to a job shadow is a pen and paper. The professional you will be following will want to teach you as much as they can, and it could be overwhelming to try to remember everything at the end of the day. To ensure you don’t forget, you should make sure to take notes throughout your time shadowing. Taking notes shows that you are prepared and want to retain the information the professional will tell you. It can also help make a great first impression.
Before you show up to your job shadow you should research the company you will be at. Researching will make you more knowledgeable about the place where you will be shadowing, and may answer any common questions you have about the company. It will also educate you more on what the business is about. You might even come across some interesting projects or clients the company has worked with, leading to an opportunity for you to spark up a conversation with the professional and impress them with your research.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. Take advantage of being able to talk to a professional in your dream field. Your sponsor will be more than happy to answer questions and explain the process of something. If your sponsor was talking too quickly while you were taking notes, ask for it to be repeated. Come up with a situation and ask them how they would handle it. The last thing you want is to leave at the end of your shadow and regret not asking a question that was running through your head. It may even be helpful to come up with some questions beforehand.
Being respectful can go a long way to making a good impression. Always pay attention when your sponsor is talking—do not let yourself miss the opportunity you’ve been given by using your phone during your shadow. It is also important to try to the learn names of the other employees you encounter, and writing them down can help.
Remember how you are presenting yourself. Check ahead of time what the appropriate attire is, so you fit in. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early to show that you are prompt and responsible. Stand up straight with good posture, and talk appropriately and professionally.
My last tip is to send a thank-you note to follow up your job shadow. This will leave the person you shadowed, as well as the company, with a good impression of you. If you ever wanted to apply for a job with them in the future, they will be more likely to hire you because you took the time out of your day to say thank you for the opportunity.
I hope these tips come to good use during your future job shadows and that you make the most of your experience. Good luck!
Delaney MacKenzie is a sophomore at Grand Valley. She is an Advertising and Public Relations major with an emphasis in Advertising. Delaney is also an account executive in GrandPR. She was most excited to join GrandPR because she wants to have real life experience and to see firsthand what she could be doing in her career in the future. In her free time, Delaney can be found in record shops, looking for classic tracks to add to her collection, or painting on canvas in her apartment.