Career Videos: The Job Shadow

Nov 09, 2016
Career, Research, Current Events, Video Resource, Internships

I was stumped by a teacher at the recent JumpStart conference who asked if we had a video that could help prepare students for their job shadow experience. For those not familiar with a job shadow, here’s a brief description (from

Job shadowing is a work experience option where students learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent worker. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the student.”

For those who organize job shadows, they know what amazing experiences these are for students! I had my first taste of job shadowing when I was a senior….in college. I had worked summers as a golf caddy (no better paying job in those days and I had to pay for college after all). I dressed in a suit, drove 30 minutes south to Newark, NJ and spent a week at Prudential Reinsurance. The only task I remember from that week almost 30 years ago was inputting foreign currency rates into a spreadsheet. Oh, and I also decided I didn’t want to work in reinsurance or be a desk jockey:) Warren Buffett may love reinsurance as a business (he owns a few) but I didn’t enjoy it as an employee!

Here are a few videos that might be helpful to introduce the concept:

  • Job Shadows (just watch the first 4:30): a handful of students describe their job shadows in a variety of fields from bio-medical engineering to auto repair. Will get your students excited about what they can expect on their job shadow day.

  • What questions should you ask when you shadow (1:20)?

  • Job Shadowing Training (5:00) – Kitschy video that provides some key tips on ensuring the job shadow is a success for high school students (you can tell in first 20 seconds if this is something you like or not:). Provides tips on…
    • Contacting your mentor
    • Attire
    • Arriving on time
    • Attitude (this was my favorite part as it showed the importance of paying attention in a professional setting)
    • Writing a thank you note (email doesn’t count!)

Why not have your students shoot 1-2 minute videos (OR give them the option to write) where they have to answer the following questions AFTER the job shadow?:

  • What did you learn about the company you shadowed?
  • After observing for the day, what “soft” skills do you think are important to succeed in the field?
  • What education/training is required to succeed in this field?
  • Are you more or less interested in this field then before the job shadow day?
  • What surprised you about your experience?


Check out the NGPF Career Activity: Creating A Famous Person’s Linked-In Profile

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.