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What is job shadowing and how can it help you?

My Career
My Career

So you have your dream career in mind; the TV shows make it look so cool! But is it really all ‘Objection, your Honour!’ or ‘I just operated on a man blindfolded in the dark and saved his life’? Or is the reality a little different? Well, job shadowing could really help you figure that out!

What is job shadowing exactly?

No, this is not an opportunity to stalk someone! Job shadowing is spending some time observing a professional while they’re on the job, with their knowledge and permission, obviously. You will follow that person around to gain knowledge on his/her daily activities and exposure to the workplace. 

But, why tho?

Job shadowing can help you discover whether or not a career or job is right for you. It gives you a quick look into the daily roles and responsibilities of a particular job. You can use job shadowing as a tool to explore your options and see what different careers are all about. You can also learn how the same job differs depending on the company and employer.

Okay cool, but how?

Generally, job-shadowing opportunities are not advertised like other jobs. You have to create these opportunities by directly contacting the employer, company or the individual you are interested in shadowing. You may send an email, make a phonecall, or go and ask in person. It is simply asking the person who has a job you are interested in if you could shadow him/her for a while. 

So how long does it last?

A short period, usually a few days or weeks. 

What are the benefits of job shadowing?

  •       You will get answers to questions and advice about the job position and industry.
  •       You get a realistic view of what to expect in the career and industry in which you are interested.
  •       It is a networking opportunity to get to know people in the industry, for possible future employment and work experience.
  •       Having job shadowing in your CV will show employers that you are driven and serious about making the right career choices.

This is an unpaid gig fam, #StayHumble

You will not get paid because you will not be doing the job or formally working. You will simply shadow or observe someone doing their job. But the benefits are #WorthIt.



Article adapted from

Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: