Benefits of Job Shadowing as a Teen

One of the best ways for a teenager to learn about the work-force is job shadowing. Think of it as an apprenticeship and an adventure all in one day (sometimes a couple days!).

Job shadowing allows you to really explore those careers and/or opportunities that may interest you. By "shadowing" someone in their job for a day, you get a first-hand, insider's look into what that person's job involves. The shadowed person can show you just what are the benefits, and challenges, of their position. By seeing how the person interacts with their co-workers, participating in the activities that they face every day, and seeing what it takes to "be that person", you will gain valuable insight into whether their job or career is something you might want to pursue yourself.

Get Creative!

Since job shadowing is only a short-term activity, you can get creative in the types of people you's want to shadow. Sondra Clark has shadowed hundreds of fantastic career people, including Shamu's trainer, wildlife conservationists, fitness instructors, and product designers.

You can find job shadowing opportunities at different websites (see the list below), or you can take the initiative (like Sondra did!), and contact different organizations that interest you to see if they have, or would be open to, a program for job shadowing. Say, for instance, that you were interested in seeing what having a job at the local zoo is all about, and whether you'd enjoy working there. You could easily call the zoo's administrative office, explain that you were with your local school, and ask if they had a job shadowing program. If they did, you could ask to arrange a day to shadow one of their zookeepers while they did their daily work. If they did not, ask them if they would be interested in working with your school to allow students to learn about the work that goes on at the zoo. You might be surprised at their answer!

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