Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Untitled Document Job Shadowing FAQs

I’ve heard a lot about job shadowing and been told it would be beneficial to set up before choosing a career. But, what exactly is it?
Job shadowing is an on-the-job learning experience that provides students with a real idea of the components of a career they may be interested in learning more about. These experiences are designed to allow a student to take an in-depth look at a career that they are interested in before completing their education and training.  Throughout this experience, a student will spend a brief time “shadowing” a professional in the field of their choice, learning about its educational requirements, employment outlook and any other topic appropriate. 

Some medical related and various other occupations do not allow Job Shadowing because of specific regulations.  For those particular fields, career videos provide a helpful source for current information.

What is the responsibility of the student when setting up this job shadowing experience?
Students typically hold the responsibility of contacting and arranging the job shadow appointment with companies that employ professionals in their field of study.  However, if assistance is needed in finding corresponding companies, KVCC representatives can help.  A great resource to utilize is Diane Finch, Director of Career and Student Employment Services, who can be reached at  269-488-4603 or dfinch@kvcc.edu.

Upon completion of the job shadow, the student should follow-up with a thank you letter expressing their gratitude. Make sure to know the correct spelling of the professional’s name!

How long do job-shadowing experiences last?
The length of a job-shadowing experience varies based on the needs of both the student and the company/organization. Job shadowing usually averages about 1-3 hours.

What are the benefits to the student?
Participating in a job shadowing experience will  provide the student with an opportunity to learn about the current and future needs of a chosen field or industry by speaking one-on-one with industry professionals. Several other benefits of job shadowing are that it allows for the development of an expanded circle of career contacts, strengthens important communications skills, gives students a real idea of how organizational cultures work, and sometimes provides a possible opportunity for future employment.