Although we have tried to address all questions that you may have, we understand we may have missed something. Please contact Chris Bennett, at email@example.com if you have any additional questions.
What is a job shadow?
A job shadow is an opportunity for students to observe first-hand a typical day on the job by accompanying professionals, many of whom are alumni, through their workdays. The job shadow provides each student with a realistic view of a company and the everyday aspects of the workplace, and will help participants understand what skills and attributes are necessary to work in a particular field.
What is the difference between a job shadow and a site visit?
A job shadow is normally a full day rather than a short visit. Unlike a general overview of a company for a large group of students, the job shadow experience is intended to provide a more personal, immersive experience during which students explore specific career paths individually or in small groups. This is why we limit the number of students hosted at any single job shadow.
What does it cost to participate in the Job Shadow Program?
Neither students nor employers pay to participate in the Job Shadow Program. However, students are expected to cover all of their personal expenses (travel, meals, and accommodation). Any assistance that a host company can provide students in this regard is most appreciated.
What is an opportunity description?
The job shadow opportunity description is the most important part of the host registration and is similar to the position description in a job posting. It tells students what they can expect to do, observe or experience over the course of the job shadow day with you. Using clear, engaging language will help attract students to your job shadow opportunity. The more specific your opportunity description, the better. A good opportunity description makes it easy for students to determine whether they are interested in shadowing you, and results in better matches between students and hosts. It should include some or all of the following items:
- A description of the particular unit or team that the student will observe during the job shadow day
- A few words about what makes your team or company unique (size, culture, etc.)
- The work activities that a student is likely to observe while shadowing you
- The various topics you are interested in discussing with the student
- Other activities or opportunities that you might arrange for students (site tour, mock interviews, lunch, Q and A panel, etc.)
- The types of students who would be most interested in your work (career aspirations, academic concentrations, etc.)
Can you provide an example of a good opportunity description?
Here are a few strong opportunity descriptions that have been written by job shadow hosts:
Job shadow students will be exposed primarily to our retail and commercial sales and operations. Students will be able to observe the activities in a branch bank operation, watch individuals do credit analysis, meet with senior leaders of this region, and participate in meetings regarding bank business. We will also plan for a lunch out with at least one staff person to answer questions.
While the focus will be on our management and sales teams, there will also be interaction with operations, IT, accounting, planning and production. We will conduct plant tours of our facilities, see material at the different stages of production and hold meetings with different personnel. Students interested in a career in sales or management would benefit the most from this job shadow opportunity.
Job shadow students will experience our business as if they were part of our team. They’ll be introduced to the business and the team, and learn about the customers, sales processes, and management and reporting tools. Depending on the schedule, we may visit a customer during lunch. All of this happens through the course of the day, interacting with customers and dealing with whatever comes up, so the schedule may change a bit.
This person will work directly with our CEO. This will be a fantastic opportunity for someone interested in an entrepreneurial career path. We are a smaller company and a student will be exposed to all aspects of that day’s business. We may also provide the student with a project to provide a firsthand idea of what we do. Students interested in marketing, sales or entrepreneurship would likely see the greatest benefit but all are welcome. Students should be interested in a hands-on experience.
What if my company has special requirements regarding privacy or confidentiality?
Prior to their job shadow day, students are advised, in general, about workplace confidentiality but you may also consider some of the following options to further address this risk:
- Discuss specific confidentiality or privacy requirements at your company with the student(s) upon arrival.
- Require students to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
- Build greater structure into the job shadow day schedule in order to limit student access to secure areas or information. For example, a series of formal informational interviews may be more appropriate than informal one-on-one shadowing.
- Do not grant student(s) access to secure areas or areas where they are likely to encounter confidential information, or ensure they are always accompanied by a staff member when in these areas.
Job Shadow Program staff members are happy to discuss your company’s unique needs to help find the best way to address your privacy concerns.
About Our Students
What is a typical job shadow student like?
While participating students and their motivations vary greatly, there are a few general characteristics that describe many of them:
- Most students are prebusiness majors—primarily in their sophomore year—early in their business coursework. Prebusiness majors have declared their intent to become business or accounting majors but have not yet completed the prerequisite courses required to be eligible to apply for full major status. We also accept some juniors, as well as experienced freshmen.
- As prebusiness students, many of the program’s participants are exploring different business concentrations and are using the job shadow to help them choose their focus.
- Many of the college’s strongest students, including students from the college's Business Honors Program, participate in the Job Shadow Program as a way to enhance their studies and get a jump-start on building their careers. In 2015-2016, the average participant’s GPA was 3.49.
- Because of their youth, many participants have limited industry awareness. They may not yet fully grasp detailed business concepts and may not be familiar with industry-specific terminology. You may need to explain some of the key concepts of your work but there's no need to explain everything that's happening.
- While our students will prepare questions to ask during their job shadow day, they are also interested in learning through observation. They may gain as much by watching you and your colleagues throughout the work day and experiencing the workplace culture as they will by engaging in discussion.
What are the program prerequisites for students?
The program seeks applicants who are on track to become successful business and accounting students. The following prerequisites, along with applicants’ brief statements of interest, are taken into account when considering applicants for acceptance into the Job Shadow Program:
- Declared Pre-Business Administration major (Business and Accounting majors may also be accepted but priority is given to Pre-Business students)
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
- Completion of BA101 (Introduction to Business) with a minimum grade of B-
- Placements with public accounting firms require a 3.25 minimum cumulative GPA and completion of Accounting 211 (Introduction to Accounting) with a minimum grade of B.
- International students must demonstrate English language proficiency through completion of the UO’s Academic English program.
What are the program’s expectations of participating students?
We expect that students participating in the Job Shadow Program will be engaged and professional and will represent the Lundquist College of Business and the University of Oregon well. We also expect that they will respect your time and your workplace. We take transgressions of these expectations very seriously and want to hear from you if a student doesn’t live up to your expectations or ours.
Students are also required to:
- Complete a training and orientation program before their job shadow visit
- Arrive on time for their job shadow day and participate actively and professionally
- Cover all travel, food and accommodation expenses
- Write a thank-you note to their host after the job shadow day
- Complete a program evaluation
How will students be prepared for the job shadow day?
Prior to their job shadow day, participating students will complete a comprehensive training program designed to help them make the most of their job shadow day. This training includes approximately six hours of online and in-person workshop instruction focused on three key themes:
- Self-assessment – This is a critical first step in the career exploration process. Students reflect on their values and interests, prepare self-introductions or elevator pitches, and identify questions about themselves that they would like to explore on their job shadow day.
- Company research – Students conduct basic background research on their host companies and craft questions that they want to explore during their job shadow day.
- Professional skills – Students practice key professional skills such as workplace attire, handshakes, introductions, networking, and informational interviewing.
After the job shadow day, students complete additional online exercises designed to help them reflect on their job shadow days and identify next steps in their career exploration process.
Job Shadow Matching Process
How are students matched with hosts?
Students are matched with host companies based on the students’ preferences and career interests. After reviewing the registration information provided by hosts, each student ranks his or her top choices for their job shadow placement and provides a brief explanation for each choice. Job Shadow Program staff then match students based on these preferences, availability, and fit between student and host.
What involvement can I have in selecting my student(s)?
Because of the large volume of students and hosts participating in the Job Shadow Program, and the program’s necessarily short timeline, we are unable to accommodate special host requirements or involve hosts directly in selecting their student matches. However, program staff work carefully to screen students before acceptance, match them with appropriate hosts, and prepare them for their job shadow day.
You can help us make better matches by providing a specific and detailed opportunity description when you register to host students. Please also indicate any special circumstances we should take into account when matching students with you.
What information will I receive about my student(s) before they arrive?
Hosts are notified of their matches approximately three weeks before the job shadow days. You will receive the name and contact information of your student(s) as well as their major, anticipated graduation date, their short responses to questions about their professional and academic interests, and their explanations of why they are interested in shadowing you.
We do not, as a rule, collect resumes from our participating students. Many are still working with our Career Services advisors to craft their resumes.
You are welcome to correspond with your student(s) before the job shadow day and, if you wish, you may ask them to send you their resumes.
What if I don’t get matched with a student?
In order for the program to work, we need more registered hosts than students. As a result, there are several hosts each term that are not matched with a student. If you are not matched with a student, you will be notified approximately three weeks before the job shadow dates.
Please don’t take this personally. Student interests are always changing and are difficult to predict. Just by registering your job shadow opportunity, students will be introduced to your company and its work. We encourage you to participate again in a future term. As students become more aware of your work, they are more likely to choose to shadow you.
If after several terms we have not been able to match a student with you, program staff will contact you to discuss this. We will explore ways to revise your opportunity description to attract more students, or suggest other ways for you to engage with Lundquist College of Business students.
Preparing for your Job Shadow Day
What should I do to prepare for my job shadow day?
- Coordinate with others in your company to plan the schedule for the job shadow day.
- Identify staff members who will participate in the job shadow day and confirm their participation.
- Review student profiles sent by Job Shadow Program staff describing students’ career goals and interests. You may also contact the student(s) with whom you have been matched by phone or email prior to their arrival.
- When appropriate, inform your supervisor and affected clients or customers that a student(s) will be shadowing you or other staff.
- Identify any paperwork or waivers from your company that may need to be completed by students. If they must be completed in advance of the job shadow day, please forward them to Chris Bennett.
- Obtain necessary clearance and secure parking passes and ID badges if necessary.
- Communicate with Job Shadow Program staff to address any questions, problems, or concerns.
What does a typical job shadow day look like?
Though the format and schedule of the day will vary between companies and hosts, designing a job shadow day is not a complicated process.
In general, you should plan activities that help the student(s) gain a better understanding of your company and career field(s). Where possible, a one-on-one “ride along” format is preferable to a presentation format because it allows for more direct observation, but we recognize that this format does not work for all hosts. Here are some common things you can do with students on a job shadow day:
- Meet with the student(s) at the beginning of the day to give an overview of the company and meet again at the end of the day to get follow-up with them on their experiences.
- Give students a set of company promotional and recruitment materials, as well as a list of common acronyms used in your workplace.
- Provide an overview of the company, industry, and career opportunities. Discuss the organizational chart, company culture, and working environment.
- Give a tour of your workplace.
- Allow time for students to observe regular business activities at the workplace by accompanying you or other employees during some or all of your daily schedules.
- Provide opportunities for students to conduct informational interviews with you or other employees. (Informational interviewing is a skill we would like all participating students to practice.)
- Arrange a panel presentation or meet-and-greet with colleagues from different areas of the company so that students can obtain a variety of career perspectives.
- Introduce student(s) to interns and first-year employees so they can get a realistic view of entry-level roles at your company.
- Introduce student(s) to current technology and tools used by professionals.
- Schedule an informal lunch with recent hires and/or Lundquist College alumni.
- Have the HR department describe job opportunities within the company and review the student’s resume.
- Schedule meeting(s) with the President, CEO, head of the department, or other individuals who can give a broad perspective of the company.
- Involve University of Oregon alumni when possible.
- Have fun. Make the experience enjoyable for you and the students!
Are there any sample schedules I can use?
As you begin to structure your company’s job shadow day, there are a variety of factors to take into consideration. Chief among them are the level of staff involvement, and how structured the day will be. These sample schedules illustrate some of the possibilities. You are welcome to copy or adapt these to your job shadow day. Job Shadow Program staff are also happy to work with you to design a schedule that best showcases your company and fits your company’s culture and staff availability.
Download/View Sample Schedules
There are lots of other ways to design your company’s job shadow day. If you have an innovative schedule or job shadow activity to share, please email us.
What should I talk about with the student(s)?
Students should come prepared with questions for you, so feel free to follow their lead. But if they are having a hard time getting comfortable, here are a few topics to get the ball rolling:
- Trends affecting your industry
- Daily challenges and requirements of your job
- Your interests, educational background, and career path
- Advice for someone wanting to get into your industry and/or your particular company
- Classes the student(s) should consider taking
- Experiences/internships that the student(s) should have if they want to pursue a career in your field
- Suggested publications or professional associations they might explore
After your Job Shadow Day
What do I need to do after the job shadow day is over?
- Complete the online program evaluation. We will send you a reminder after your job shadow day.
- Share your story. Please send Chris Bennett any stories, pictures, or quotes we can use in our program materials.
- Communicate with Job Shadow Program staff to address any problems or concerns.
- In the rare case that a student does not show up for the job shadow day, or if you experience disciplinary problems with a student, please inform Job Shadow Program staff as soon as possible so that we can follow-up appropriately.