Job Shadowing Experiences as a Teaching Tool: A New Twist on a Tried and True Technique

Job shadowing has a long history of utilization. It is primarily considered a way for youth to become aware of the world-of-work through programs sponsored by schools or social organizations. For example, Junior Achievement International, in cooperation with several government agencies, has sponsored Groundhog Job Shadow Day for nearly 20 years. A quick internet search for job shadowing yielded over 24 million hits with the vast majority of those focused on programs aimed at high school students. Internet offerings detail anecdotal accounts of experiences, methods for setting up and executing programs, and extolment of the virtues of shadowing as a tool for high school students to prepare for college career direction. Other internet offerings focus on employer-developed programs aimed at internal advancement or as a recruitment tool for potential employees. There has been very little published addressing the use of job shadowing at the college level. Yet, job shadowing can be a great tool for college students to explore potential careers prior to committing to a specific major. This project details a pilot program in which professional selling students engage in a job shadowing experience that yields not only personal experience for themselves, but that also generates information which can be used as a teaching tool for all students.