Students learn a great deal from experiencing full immersion – even for just one day – in a workplace. The job shadow program allows you to plan a one-day on-site schedule for a student (or students) in your organization. You can choose to simply have the student “shadow” you as you go through a typical workday, or arrange for the student to have conversations with and observe a variety of professionals in your organization.

The Job Shadow Program is an opportunity for Amherst students to gain exposure to industries, career paths and organizations as part of their overall career exploration. Program hosts welcome a student on-site in their organization for one day (or more). Typically, this will take place during a school break. Those host will organize a schedule of representative activities and informational meetings to ensure broad exposure to the work of the organization. Students are responsible for their expenses and logistics traveling to the job shadow site.

Hosts who participate in the Job Shadow Program will:

  • Have the opportunity to mentor a student and share your expertise and perspective
  • Raise visibility of your organization with first- and second-year students before they make choices about applying to internships or jobs

Students who participate in a job shadow will:

  • Learn more about a career field of interest and workplace norms
  • Gain confidence in informational interviewing and networking
  • Integrate their experience with academic, personal and career goals


Preparing a Successful Shadow Day

Best Practices for Sponsors: * Communicate with student prior to shadow day about mutual expectations and the student’s career interests and learning goals for the day * Develop and share a written schedule to provide structure and clarity for the day * Enlist colleagues to provide an even greater perspective on various roles and functions within your organization; scheduling individual appointments for informational interviews is highly recommended * Reserve time for reflection, questions and conversation with the student at the conclusion of the day

Sample student activities that may be included in a shadow day:

  • Sit in on staff meetings
  • Observe a client interaction or presentation
  • Conduct individual 30-minute informational interviews with various staff members
  • Tour the office and/or immediate neighborhood, if appropriate
  • Have lunch with a small group of staff members
  • Review organization’s mission statement and organizational charts
  • Research and discuss current trends or key issues in the profession
  • Complete a small task or assist with a project