Job Shadowing: A Great Way to Prepare for a Career

By Janessa Rutiaga
Blog Content Contributor

We’ve all had those sessions with our advisors where it seems that all they tell us to do is job shadow. It always seems unnecessary because, hey, we know exactly what we think that want to do, even if we have no clue. It seems like this is one of the biggest pieces of advice students receive, but constantly ignore. Students: don’t ignore this piece of advice. If your advisor is telling you to job shadow, there is a reason for that.

For one, your future is your own. Your advisor won’t know what you like or dislike unless you can tell them exactly, so getting a first-hand look at the job yourself will help them help you. You don’t know exactly what a career path entails until you’ve talked to someone professional in the field. You can’t imagine a career the way you want it; life won’t work like that with you. If you think being a lawyer is the perfect job for you, there’s no harm in setting up a job shadow at a local firm. If, by chance, you realize that you’ll hate being a lawyer, then you wouldn’t have been wasting your time. You’ll save yourself a lot of money and time in school if you go the extra step of setting up job shadowing while you’re still finishing basics.

Community Impact Office in Austin, Texas. Photo by Lacy Llana/Community Impact Newspaper.

I had never considered job shadowing before until last semester, when my advisor basically told me I was in the wrong field for the career I wanted. I’m a journalism major with an English minor, and I’m aiming at being an editor after graduation; I thought it was perfect. His biggest piece of advice for me was to go job shadow a copy editor somewhere in Austin. So, after speaking to a friend of mine and a Texas State Alumni, I secured a job shadowing opportunity at Community Impact News in Austin. It was an amazing experience, and it reassured that I was doing everything I could educationally to get to that position. It gave me the opportunity to speak to people working in the news field, which included everything from sales and graphics to editors and reporters. After that experience, I feel much more open and excited moving forward with my major.

If you’ve been told to job shadow but haven’t, I urge you to reconsider. It’s a good experience and opens your eyes to all the things you can do after graduation. You can also network with these experiences and form contacts with people in your desired field. We all know how scary post-graduation can be, and you should do everything you can for yourself to make it exciting.

Featured image  by Janessa Rutiaga. 

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