Job Shadowing Guide

E&l Toolset Icons Shadowing
Fact Sheet

Job Shadowing Fact Sheet

What is Job Shadowing?

Job Shadowing is a structured Career Exploration activity in which a learner is paired with and observes the workday of an employee, interacts with his or her clients or customers and attends meetings and other appointments with them..

Designed to help learners explore a field of interest while developing research
skills and building occupational knowledge, job shadowing is conducted at the workplace and occurs over most of the workday.

Job shadowing is one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all learners engaged in career-related programs or course of study in the Earn & Learn community.

Job Shadowing Is Designed To:

  • Promote exploration of a field of interest.
  • Provide an up-close look at a particular occupation, company and industry and the career path to that occupation.
  • Help learners make the connection between school and the workplace.
  • Inform career planning.

Job Shadowing Is Structured To:

  • Allow learners to listen, receive information and ask questions.
  • Enable learners to begin identifying areas of career interest.
  • Build knowledge about the education and training needed for a particular job, career path and entry into the industry.
  • Allow learners to practice and demonstrate key work-readiness skills such as communication and appropriate workplace behavior.

Job Shadowing Is Supported By:

  • Classroom preparation, including research on the occupation, its industry and the participating company.
  • Employer orientation and support.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.

Job Shadowing Is Connected To:

  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • Future work-based learning activities.
  • The learner’s next steps.
Job Shadowing Format Options
  1. Simultaneous Job Shadowing: Arrange for a group of learners to shadow different employees at the same time at the same company. Start the day with a Workplace Tour.
  2. Rotational Job Shadowing: Arrange for a learner to shadow a number of different people in the same company over time, rotating through a range of departments with different levels of employees in a series of Job Shadows.
Support Materials
Connector Checklist

Connector Job Shadowing Checklist

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Connectors to ensure a successful job shadowing program.

Before The Job Shadow:

  • Identify all interested teachers/faculty and help them plan for job shadowing. Share the Teacher/Faculty Tip Sheet.
  • Effectively match learners with job shadow hosts, based on their career interests and personal factors.
  • Collect any required forms.
  • Have teachers/faculty help create learning objectives and work with learners to prepare for the day.
  • Confirm scheduling and transportation arrangements for the learner(s). Check school policies, and ask about workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
  • Give employer information about the participating learner(s) and make sure plans have been made to receive them. Ask about dress requirements.
  • Determine if host site requires visitors to sign visitor confidentiality and/or non-disclosure agreement.
  • Provide Employer Tip Sheet and other support materials so the company can plan effectively.
  • Share this toolkit’s Workplace Compentencies with the employer hosts.

During The Job Shadow:

  • Make sure learners/learners receive instruction in workplace safety, if needed. Have the employer include a safety talk at start of day and highlight potential hazards.
  • Have learners share the day on social media if company allows.
  • Arrange for learners to visit different departments and observe employees with different levels of responsibility in the company.

After The Job Shadow:

  • Document the job shadow in ELENA. Review feedback from all parties and summarize results (Use the WBL Activity Evaluation). Make recommendations for improvements.
  • Help learners update their career development plan and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.
  • Work with teachers/faculty to help connect the job shadow to the classroom.
  • Send thank-you notes to host employers.
  • Share pictures from the job shadow with the companies for their websites or newsletters. Encourage learners to share photos on social media. (Ensure you have signed releases for all photos.)
  • Place a story about the job shadow in the local newspaper or on the school website.

This includes Earn & Learn work-based learning connectors and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for learners or other learners.

Sample Timeline
  • Beginning of the school year: Identify interested teachers/faculty and learners. Brainstorm business partners who could participate.
  • Two months in advance: Develop a schedule. Secure available dates, times and locations.
  • One month in advance: Confirm participation of employer hosts. Have learners research the occupation and company.
  • One week in advance: Send hosts information about the learner(s). Make sure logistics have been handled.
  • Day of the Job Shadow: Make sure learners receive safety instruction, if required.
  • After the Job Shadow: Send thank-you notes to all host employers and ensure learner reflection activities take place.
Tips For Success
  • Conduct Effective Planning
  • Prepare for Success
  • Identify Learning Objectives
  • Create Authentic and Engaging Experiences
  • Connect to Careers
  • Support Learner Growth
  • Ensure Activities are Safe and Legal
  • Provide Ongoing Support
  • Provide for Reflection, Presentation and Feedback
  • Connect to the Learner Next Step
  • Assess and Document the Experience

Remote Note

Job shadowing does not lend itself to remote or virtual activities.

Tools & Docs

Job Shadowing Downloads

Learner Preparation
  • Research company and industry of host employers.
  • Discuss how the job shadow can help them meet learning objectives.
Learner Reflection
  • Spark learner reflection with an activity.
  • Ask, “What new things did you learn about this job and industry?”.
  • Explore whether they want to find out more or further explore careers in the employer’s industry.