By: Megan Boone, Career Community Advisor
Job shadowing is a great way for students and young professionals to gain insider insight about a career without committing to long term experiences. Many professionals open their doors to those who are seeking careers and exploring different options to go into. Shadowing a professional in healthcare gives an individual first-hand exposure to what a professional does day to day, different skills they practice, allows observation of relationship building, and more to test out if the profession is a good fit.
Not sure how to locate professionals in the healthcare field or how to make the most of a shadowing experience? Here are five tips to have a successful job shadowing experience in healthcare:
Network with alumni on ASK or LinkedIn. First things first, finding a professional in the healthcare field can sometimes be difficult to narrow down and locate. Utilizing different platforms such as the Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network as well as LinkedIn can help narrow down different alumni that are working in a desired field that may be open to hosting job shadowing opportunities. These individuals also have the common connection of gaining an education from the same institution and may be more eager to network and host a job shadowing opportunity. Searching on these platforms by keywords such as major, job title, or general career of interest can slim down the list of professionals in a specific field. In addition, tapping into one’s own network (family, friends, peers, professors) can be a great way to locate a job shadowing opportunity without casting a wide net.
Research the professional’s role and company before you shadow. Once a professional is found to shadow, it is extremely important to research the professional’s role and the company as a whole. Each company typically has their own website or LinkedIn page to give more insight about their mission, the community they serve, and the other individuals working for the company. In addition, it may be useful to look at the organization’s structure and other roles outside of the professional being shadowed to best understand the company as a whole.
Develop a list of questions to ask the professional. Asking questions is one of the best ways to gain insight about the professional and the work they are doing. In the moment during a job shadow, there may be multiple things occurring at once making it hard to remember important questions to ask. Developing a list of written questions before the day of job shadowing can ensure all questions get answered and cause less stress during the experience. Some questions to consider include, what does your average day look like? What prior experiences did you hold before this role? What key skills are needed to complete this role?
Take notes of significant findings. It’s easy to get caught in the moment of job shadowing and later forget essential information from the day. Bring a notebook or way to keep notes throughout the experience. After the day is completed, further research may be needed to gain more information regarding the people met, essential job functions, or the organization as a whole. Reflection on these findings can also help identify if the profession was a good fit or not.
Follow up with the professional to maintain a relationship and get involved in future opportunities. After the job shadowing experience is completed, send a thank you email or note to the professional thanking them for their time. If interested in the profession moving forward, follow up with the professional to maintain a relationship and learn about future opportunities the organization may have to stay involved.
Not sure how to locate a professional to shadow in your desired field? Need support developing questions for the professional in your shadowing experience? The Career Center can help!
Whether you are a current student or an alum looking for job shadowing opportunities in healthcare, book an appointment with Megan or another member of the advising team through Handshake or by calling the Front Desk Loop (312) 362-8437 or Lincoln Park (773) 325-7431.