So you want to try Shadowing and Mentoring
Let us give you a few pointers! Shadowing is an effective method of exploring your academic and professional interests, networking, and gaining critical field experience. Additionally, shadowing can allow you to form supportive mentoring relationships. Together, shadowing and mentoring give you the opportunity to consider a career path, view it through the eyes of a professional "on the inside", and determine if a given field or position suits your skills and interests.
- Connect with your own network. You may be surprised at the opportunities that arise when you talk to your family and friends about your academic interests. Reach out to peers and extended family members, explain your areas of interest, and ask them if they know of anyone who would allow you to shadow them.
- Talk to your professors. Your professors are excellent resources, as they already have professional connections within their field. If you have a professor that you get along well with, ask them if they would be willing to connect you to other professionals. They can also help you to draw up a list of questions about the positions you are interested in. Finally, professors often recommend career or professional opportunities that you may not have considered. Don't be afraid to try new things and shadow a mentor in a new field.
- Check out the Clark LinkedIn Page and connect to recent alumni. The Clark LinkedIn page and the Clark Career Services Networking Group allow you to search alumni that work within your area of interest and can help you form professional relationships. LinkedIn is also a great platform to create a postive online presence by posting your previous experience, coursework, and projects. Show new connections that you are passionate about your work and are looking to connect to other Clarkies!
- Look into Professional Associations in your field. Professional Associations are also wonderful resources for individuals seeking a mentoring relationship or wishing to job shadow. Read up on members of the association and email them. Express your interest in their work and ask if they would allow you to shadow for a day. Before you send an email, be sure to proofread it very carefully.
- Conduct an informational interview. If you are not sure that you want to shadow, but are interested in learning more about a career path and developing a mentoring relationship, consider conducting an informational interview. Discussing a career with an experienced professional will allow you to ask key questions — do my interests align with this kind of position? How do I become qualified for this position? What are the steps that I need to take to improve my chances of entering this field? Demonstrate your ability to both ask questions and listen to the answers. The interview can help you to understand your own interests better and to network within your field.