But what about the remaining 13,000+ job titles that have been identified and recorded by the US Department of Labor? What do we know about these not so common job titles, and better yet, how do you best research the plethora of opportunities available in the workforce?
There are a number of ways to engage in the career education process like conducting online research, career assessments, books, and even career development classes, however, there is no real substitute for good, old fashioned, hands-on experience. This practical approach of immersing students into different work environments and industries is the basis for the UA Job Shadow Program. Job shadowing is an excellent activity that offers an opportunity to spend time with a professional currently working in a student’s career field of interest. Job shadowing can also help students discover career opportunities that they may have not been aware of to begin with.
Job shadowing can be useful in a number of ways. Not only do job shadowers get to observe the day-to-day activities of someone in the current workforce, getting a snapshot of a day in the life of a particular person, they also get a chance to have their questions answered about the specific job and/or industry. This knowledge can help students decide whether or not they think they would enjoy the work being done and feel passionate about the job if they were to pursue something similar in the future.
For example, Andrew, a UA Communication major, recently job shadowed at a San Francisco media company. He said, “The experience was extremely useful, and assisted in my understanding of the industry, and what a Communication degree will do for my future career.”
Job shadowing can also help students decide if their skills match the career field of interest, and how their skills being developed in school and other jobs might translate to this job. Because job shadowing is a short-term experience (typically 1-day, 4-8 hours), it is a great way to decide whether or not students want to pursue this career before applying for long-term jobs or even internships. Finally, job shadowing helps students to develop contacts in their career field of interest. When job shadowing, students follow someone around who is competent in his or her career field. This person will be a useful contact as they begin to search for and apply to jobs and internships.
Mariana job shadowed at Coca Cola over winter break. She said, “This experience at Coke was unforgettable. I had a great time with my host as she seemed genuinely eager to listen to my thoughts and get to know me. She planned the day to be revolving around my interests, which I appreciated very much. I would be very excited to hopefully see her again and build up a relationship with the company.”