Job shadowing is something that most people regard as an opportunity for students, but that’s not always the case. Anyone moving anywhere in the workforce, whether it’s into their first career or their tenth, can benefit from job shadowing. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be undervalued.
If you’re at a career crossroads, add job shadowing to the list of possibilities. It might be your best direct route to informed decision making. Job shadowing is similar to test driving a car. You wouldn’t invest a lot of money in a vehicle that doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, and you shouldn’t invest a lot of time into a job that isn’t satisfying.
1. No Strings Attached
Perhaps the biggest advantage of job shadowing is the utter lack of commitment. Most people won’t know exactly what a job entails and whether or not they’re cut out to fill that position until they’ve accepted the job offer. It’s really tough to start a job, only to find out that you aren’t nearly as happy with it as you thought you would be. No one wants to feel like they’ve been sold a bill of goods when they’re looking to achieve long-term success in a position with potential.
Accepting a job offer without job shadowing is almost like marrying someone you’ve only known for a week. Before you agree to devote your life to a company, see if they’ll afford you a job shadowing opportunity. You’ll have a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of the position, you’ll know what’s expected to you, you’ll troubleshoot your stress threshold, and most importantly, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
2. Learning Things The Job Description Won’t Tell You
When you’re poking around job boards trying to find an ideal position, you probably see a lot of repetitive statements. Everyone seems to be looking for the same kind of candidate to fill a position that’s described with cookie cutter simplicity. Things are rarely what they seem. Every position has its own nuances and complexities. Sometimes, a job is a lot more taxing than it was made out to be. Other times, it’s a little more enjoyable than you had anticipated.
Job shadowing can give you peace of mind in the sense that you fully understand whether or not you’re cut out for a job. You’ll know if you’re able to bring your unique skills to the table in order to help the company succeed. You’ll know if you might want to further your education or fortify your credentials before you apply for a similar position. In addition, how to leverage the qualifications you currently possess.
3. Experiencing The Workplace Environment
Many companies hire for cultural fit. A strong company culture ensures that all team members are working towards a common goal. This is why certain people gravitate towards certain companies – they’re natural matches, and shared success happens naturally. You want the same thing from your working environment, and you can assess your cultural fitness and comfortability with the environment through job shadowing.
You’ll also get a chance to see the perks that come with employment at a particular company. You’ll get to see employees taking advantage of the company’s wellness program, coming together to brainstorm innovative ideas, and hanging out on their breaks. Nobody will know if you’ll fit in better than you do, and making that judgement is important if you intend to work for a particular company.
You’ll also be able to see the policies that have been put into motion and the way they affect the workplace. You’re getting the rare opportunity to examine both the advantages and disadvantages of a workplace before you even apply to work there. Do they have a casual Friday or a bring your dog to work day? Is the workplace so crowded that you can’t hear yourself think? Do the stark white walls and buzzing fluorescent lights creep you out? You’ll know before it’s too late.
4. Excellent Networking Opportunities
When you’re shadowing for a position, you’ll be meeting a lot of important people. This is an excellent way to make a great first impression. Higher-ups within the company will observe the way you interact with the workplace, hear the questions you ask, and notice the input you provide. Many job shadowing opportunities can easily lead to employment with the company. Even if they don’t, there’s still more to gain.
The people who were impressed with you during your shadowing opportunity might not become future employers. However, they can become references who can attest to your professionalism. They may recommend you for positions in partner or child companies if you have a positive impact during your stay. Meet people, make connections, and continue to strive for the best possible career opportunity you can get your hands on.
5. Preparing You For a Transition
Leaving one job and starting another can be intimidating for a lot of reasons. There are financial aspects, like keeping the bills paid while you’re in transition, and there are aspects of adjustment. Knowing what’s around the bend can put your mind at ease. You’ll still have a lot to learn if you eventually start working for the company, but you’ll be able to start learning sooner. You’ll know where to find supplies you need. You will understand the tools and software you need to use. Also, you will already have been formally introduced to your coworkers.
By getting all of the formalities out of the way during your job shadowing opportunity. You will be able to jump into your new career with both feet. It’s less to deal with, and it won’t be as large of a shock to your system having to acclimate yourself to all of the newnesses in a single sweep. All you need to focus on is your ability to perform the work. Note, everything else has already been taken care of.
In short, you should seriously consider any job shadowing opportunities that are made available to you. In many ways, it’s like hitting the career lottery. It takes the stress, pressure, and uncertainty out of finding a position. Also, it gives you the chance to be a little indecisive about what you want. Shadow, find out for sure and then move forward with your career.
About the author:
Evie Cooper is an experienced Project Manager and Content Creator, supporting online knowledge libraries like UKAreaCode and Postcode-Checker. Working on numerous projects and with a variety of people have taught Evie a great deal in the fields of career improvement, team management and leadership. Privately, she is a huge fan of self-improvement literature and travelling.