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How to Best Prepare for Your Job Shadowing Experience

Job Shadowing - FDM

A recent emergence in creating unique student experiences is the opportunity to job shadow industry professionals. Job shadowing is popular for its on-the-job learning, leadership and career development opportunities. It is an effective tool for learning, which involves observing a professional in their field of work, learning from them and absorbing every bit of knowledge. It is a unique opportunity to have industry experts provide you with their undivided time and attention. The experience will allow you to explore a specific career by observing an employee perform their daily duties. Job shadowing provides you with invaluable real-world experience that cannot be gained in a classroom setting. FDM Group offers a number of job shadowing opportunities and on-campus workshops in order to prepare you for a future career in IT and business. In order to maximise the unique learning experience that job shadowing can offer, be sure to check out these tips to help you prepare.


Job shadowing programmes put you in the unique position to be part of the industry for the day and explore multiple career paths. As a student, it is common not to know which career to pursue and this unique programme will bridge the gap, allowing you to ‘try before you buy’. Additionally, with the evolution of the workforce and technology pushing the boundaries of technical, business, and social sectors, many jobs today did not exist a decade ago allowing for more opportunities than ever before.


Job shadowing is primarily a tool for learning and you should try to absorb and retain as much as possible. The experience will vary from learning competency skills like communication and leadership to hard skills like programming and technical skills, all of which will be important in future career advancement. In addition to learning skills, you will also learn more about the industry in which your company operates and employees at the company may be able to provide you with information and advice that will assist you in career development.


It may seem like common knowledge, but coming prepared is critical to gaining the most out of a job shadowing experience. Your host company is allocating their time and resources to help you navigate your ever-changing career opportunities and it is important to recognise that. Ask your industry point of contact for a preliminary agenda and research the different departments you are going to shadow. This will help you prepare a list of questions in advance. These questions are fundamental for starting conversations and allow you to approach your career exploration from a different perspective. It is one thing to browse job boards searching for opportunities that sound like a good fit, but it is quite different to get a chance to speak to professionals working in those fields.


After spending years in classrooms and workshops completing group projects and learning to conduct research, what can you expect to be different in the workplace? Many of the skills you have developed in school can be adapted to face different challenges in the workplace.  You should keep in mind that that are no grades; you will not get an A+ for a job well done, but rather you will further your expertise in a given area and learn how to work in a team towards a common goal. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone in order to thrive in this new environment.  You will likely learn many new things about yourself and gain a better understanding of the career trajectory you want to pursue. Since you will spend half of your day at your future job, it is equally important to choose a work culture that best suits your work style and motivates you to come to work every day. Getting the chance to experience the company culture first-hand will allow you to decide if this is a company you want to work for in the future.

Job shadowing programmes are effective learning tools that will provide you with a unique opportunity to explore, learn, and prepare for your career. If you are interested in learning more about FDM and our on-campus workshops and job shadowing opportunities in Canada, check with your university’s Career Services team today!

Are you interested in training for a career in IT or business intelligence? You can do so on our award-winning Graduate Careers Programme, Ex-Forces Careers Programme or Getting Back to Business Programme.

Read more Careers Advice articles from our blog:

Updated 20 May 2019

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