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See what a typical work day looks like in a field or industry of interest and build your professional connections by shadowing an alum over winter break.

Less commitment than an internship and more expansive than an informational interview, job shadowing is a great way to explore and get experience.

UVM Job Shadowing

What does Job Shadowing look like?

Many UVM students decide to shadow with an alum for a one-day job shadow over your winter break. You can see what a typical work day looks like, make connections with people in an industry, and determine if a certain type of job is a good fit with your interests and goals. Each year, hundreds of alums offer to host job shadows in a variety of different industries and locations.

Job shadowing is an option for students of all majors, class years, and of any GPA. You are not expected to have prior knowledge or experience; this is a great learning opportunity!

Past participants’ experiences

Find a Job Shadowing Host on UVM Connect

You can find a variety of job shadowing hosts by joining UVM Connect, our exclusive online community of UVM alums, students, staff and faculty. If you are new to UVM Connect, you can create an account by signing in with LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, or registering your email.

Find shadowing hosts on UVM Connect by visiting the Directory. You can filter by clicking on Mentoring, then Offering Mentoring, and selecting “Host a student to shadow me at work”.  You can find shadowing hosts by location, industry, or other interests.

Once you find a prospective shadowing host, visit their profile and click on “Request mentoring” and then select “Host a student to shadow me at work.” You’ll then have an opportunity to craft your own message inquiring about setting up a job shadowing opportunity.

Sample Outreach Message

Dear Ms. Smith,

My name is Amanda Chase and I am a current UVM student. I saw on your UVM Connect profile that you are open to hosting a job shadower, and I am reaching out to see if I might be able to spend a day with you at your position this winter. I am a sophomore majoring in political science, and am very interested in learning more about state and local government. 

Specifically, I would be available to shadow between December 21st -23rd, or January 4th -11th. If you are open to hosting me as a job shadower, could we arrange a time to talk on the phone about what that might look like? 

Thank you,

Amanda Chase

You might also include some of your reasons for choosing this site, and what you hope to learn.

 

Please keep in mind that shadowing hosts may have a limited capacity for shadowers, so it is in your best interest to reach out early. Many students set up their shadowing date during winter break (between mid-December and mid-January), but you can choose any date or time that works for you and your shadowing host. While there is no deadline to reach out, we recommend contacting a potential shadowing host at least two weeks prior to shadowing. Keep in mind that you are responsible for all transportation and lodging that may be required for the shadowing day.

When you reach out to a potential shadowing host, they may ask to see your resume. For resume support and resources, check out our guide to resumes.

Suggestions for How to Have a Successful Job Shadowing Day

Shadowing hosts can help answer questions as you prepare for the shadowing day. We recommend discussing the following as you make your plans:

  • What time should you show up?
  • What will the schedule look like?
  • How should you get there? What should you know about public transit or parking?
  • What should you bring? (e.g. ID, lunch, notebook, money for parking)
  • What should you wear?

Job shadowing is available in a variety of locations. You are responsible for getting to the shadowing site, so be sure to choose a site you can get to on the date of your job shadowing.

What you wear for a job shadowing day will depend on the particular job shadowing site. For example, the following options may be a completely appropriate way to dress for a particular job shadowing site:

  • Shadowing at a construction site could necessitate clothing that can protect you from harm.
  • A more traditional, corporate environment may require a full suit.
  • A casual workplace might see most of their employees wearing chinos and polo shirts.

We encourage you to do some research and ask your shadowing host for their recommendation on what to wear to your job shadowing site.

Job Shadowing Day Expectations

You are expected to act professionally and represent UVM well. Shadowing hosts are taking time out of their schedules to allow you to join them. As such, we require that you:

  • Use professional communication and respond to messages promptly (within 24 hours).
  • Follow through on your commitments.
  • Communicate any issues to your shadowing host, and inform them immediately if you need to reschedule or cannot make it to your job shadowing day.
  • Arrange your own transportation and show up at the agreed upon time and place.
  • Send a thank you note after shadowing.
  • • After the shadowing experience, both students and hosts will be asked to complete an evaluation of the shadowing experience.

Sharing your shadowing day: #UVMshadow

If you use Twitter or Instagram, you can use the hashtag #UVMshadow to share a picture or note about your shadowing day! It's a great way to connect with UVM and other alumni, and a chance to show your Catamount pride.

Questions about shadowing? Come to the Career Center Drop-In hours Monday to Friday from 11am to 4pm, or email us at career@uvm.edu.