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Why Shadowing Experience is Key to a Successful Career

As you start contemplating what to put on your resume, there’s nothing more valuable than shadowing experience. Shadowing is an important aspect of the job-searching process, as it can help you gain a better understanding of your desired industry, fine-tune your career aspirations, and develop essential skills. Here’s why shadowing experience should be a key component of your resume, and some tips on how to obtain and maximize its benefits.

Gain Valuable Insight into Your Desired Industry

While researching on the internet, attending job fairs, and speaking to professors can give you a sense of what you want to do in your future career, nothing compares to shadowing. Shadowing provides a window into the daily activities of a professional in your desired field, allowing you to observe how they interact with colleagues, how their workday flows, and what general skills the job requires.

Make Informed Career Decisions

Shadowing can also help you realize what you do and do not like about the job. For example, you may find that the day-to-day tasks of a particular job are different from what you thought they might be, or that the job simply isn’t right for you. This information can save you both time and money by helping you to avoid career paths that won’t work in the long run.

Examples of Successful Shadowing Experiences

Shadowing has helped many people to make informed career decisions and to excel in their fields. Here are some examples:

  • A medical school applicant who shadowed a neurologist found out that she was not as passionate about medicine as she thought she would be.
  • A college student interested in event planning shadowed a professional event planner and was able to get hands-on experience that helped her land her first job in the field.
  • An aspiring chef who shadowed a head chef realized that the demanding work schedule would not fit her desired lifestyle and instead opted to pursue a career as a food writer.
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Addressing Common Concerns

Despite its clear benefits, some job seekers may still be hesitant to include shadowing experience on their resume. One common concern is that shadowing may not be relevant to the desired career field. While it may be true that some employers may not recognize the value of shadowing, it is important to remember that shadowing experience can demonstrate skills such as communication and attention to detail. It is also a testament to the time and effort that you have put into preparing for your desired career.

Another common concern is that shadowing is not a serious or substantial enough experience to list on a resume. While shadowing may not have the same weight as a full-time job or internship, it is still an experience that shows initiative and an interest in developing your skills.

Tips for Finding Shadowing Opportunities

Finding shadowing opportunities can seem daunting, but with some effort, it is possible to secure a shadowing experience in your field of interest. Here are some tips:

  • Start with your network – reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances in your desired field.
  • Contact local businesses or organizations related to your industry and inquire about shadowing opportunities.
  • Attend career fairs or job conferences to meet professionals in the industry.
  • If all else fails, you can always volunteer for organizations related to your industry – this can be a great way to gain exposure and potentially connect with professionals that can offer shadowing opportunities.

Maximizing the Benefits of Shadowing

Once you have secured a shadowing experience, it is important to make the most of it. Here are some tips:

  • Take notes and ask questions – be curious and attentive to maximize your learning.
  • Follow company rules and regulations – remember, you are there to observe, not to intervene or take over.
  • Create a relationship with the professionals you are shadowing – consider sending a thank you email at the end of the experience or inviting them out for coffee to further discuss their careers.
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Key Takeaways

  • Shadowing is an excellent way to gain insight into your desired industry and make informed career decisions.
  • Shadowing is a valuable experience that can demonstrate initiative, interest, and skill in your desired field.
  • Finding shadowing opportunities requires effort, but it is possible to secure shadowing experiences with a little determination.
  • Maximize your shadowing experience by taking notes, asking questions, and creating relationships with the professionals you are shadowing.


  • What is shadowing?Shadowing is an experience in which you observe, learn, and gain insight into a particular profession or industry by following or “shadowing” an experienced professional.
  • Can shadowing help me make career decisions?Yes, shadowing can give you a better understanding of the day-to-day realities of a particular job, and whether or not it is a good fit for your career goals and desired lifestyle.
  • Is shadowing relevant to all career fields?While some employers may not place a high value on shadowing experience, it can still demonstrate useful skills such as communication and attention to detail, and an interest in developing your skills in your desired field.

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