For high school students, job shadowing can be a fun and unique experience that can not only help you affirm your career choice, but also teach you valuable skills you can use in nearly all work environments. You can also learn how a work environment functions, including how to dress, how to behave and what to expect.

Job shadowing involves spending time with a professional during their daily work schedule. You can follow them around, take notes, ask questions, and observe them. For young adults or students who are trying to figure out what they want to do, job shadowing can help you gain experience and a deeper understanding of a particular career or profession. It is a great way to take charge of your career search!

Job shadowing is also a great way to build networks with professionals. Building a network means that you start to build relationships with professionals within the industry... and the people they know, and the people they know, and so on. As you make connections, you can show off your work ethic and what skills you could bring to the table. This can pay dividends later when you’re looking to start out in a career. The larger your network is, the greater the chance you’ll know someone with an opportunity for you. Even if they don’t have jobs for you, they might know other colleagues with positions that could suit what you want to do.

Job shadowing can also give you valuable on-the-job training. Similar to networking, on-the-job training can offer you a tremendous advantage while interviewing with potential employers. Not only does it give you something eye-catching to add to your resume, you will already have a base knowledge and understanding of the career you’re interested in. You will also know what to wear and how to conduct yourself to really impress.

The great news is, you can job shadow in almost any career, from a ride-along with a police officer for a shift to following a doctor or lawyer in their offices for a day. Contact your chamber of commerce, ask your guidance counselor to connect you with a local professional in a career you’re interested in, or contact them yourself by calling or emailing. Set up an appointment or initial meeting to discuss the possibility of you shadowing them. And as always, contact your CAA coaches to talk more about your career goals!