Some high schools and colleges offer job shadowing opportunities for students to learn about specific careers and observe professionals in their workplace environments. Job shadowing typically lasts from one day to one week, and teachers often require a short summary report following the experience. The report should include details about the person you shadowed, education and skills needed for the job, your daily schedule and personal observations.
Who, When and Where You Shadowed
Start your report with a brief explanation of who, when and where you job shadowed. Include the dates, the person's name and title, details about the job site and the total number of hours you spent observing. Explain the person's role in the company, such as her goals and responsibilities, and how long she's worked there. Briefly detail trends that affect the industry, rewards associated with the job, difficulties or frustrations associated with the work and possible career opportunities in the field, suggests the Auburn University Career Center.
Education, Skills and Qualifications
Provide a concise summary of how the person you observed put her education, such as degrees, training or certifications, to practical use in her position. For example, if you job shadowed a pharmacist, you might explain how she used chemistry or math to calculate dosages or prepare prescriptions. List some of the job skills that you noticed were most important to the job, including technical skills and people skills. Include in your report some high school or college courses that the person you job shadowed recommended that you take to prepare for a career in the industry.
Outline your daily or weekly schedule so your teacher can evaluate how you spent your time. Include the times and specific activities. For example, you might write, "From 9-10 a.m., I toured the facilities, and from 10-11:30 a.m., I attended the weekly in-house sales meeting. We ate lunch at a deli across the street, and from 1-3 p.m. I observed Mrs. Jones' work on the sales floor. I took a short break in the lounge from 3-3:15 p.m., and from 3:15-4:15 p.m. I observed Mrs. Jones' administrative duties, including follow-up phone calls and paperwork. From 4:15-5 p.m., I interviewed Mrs. Jones about the job qualifications, demands and rewards." Discuss whether the day you job shadowed was a typical day of if you observed events, such as meetings, that were out of the ordinary. Explain whether the job entails predictable daily routines or if the schedule changes due to outside factors.
Include personal observations in your report, highlighting things you learned during your job shadowing experience. For example, you might not have known the job requires certain computer skills or the use of specific equipment. Discuss the atmosphere in the workplace, such as whether the employees typically work together in a bustling environment or if they work independently, resulting in a quiet workplace. Discuss what you liked most about the job and list any negatives that might hinder you from pursuing a career in the field.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.