Career exploration can lead to a job

Interviewing or job shadowing a professional can lead to a job.

Job shadowing or interviewing a worker can sometimes lead to getting a job at that company or organization. Job shadowing involves spending time experiencing the actual work of a professional in your field of interest. Interviewing a worker is also a great way to learn more about a career path through asking specific questions to learn more about the role.

Interviewing takes less time than job shadowing, but is also less comprehensive. Both methods allow someone exploring a career path to learn more about the education, day-to-day requirements, time commitments and skill set needed to be successful in that role.

Beyond the informational benefits, job shadowing or interviewing a worker can help you land a job through the relationship you have now created with this professional. You have just expanded your network through this career-building experience.

The best way to achieve this additional benefit of networking is by following these key points:

  • Leave a good first impression. Utilize a business hand-shake, speak clearly, make eye contact, smile and have a positive and engaging attitude. This applies even when you are calling or emailing to set up the meeting. The first impression you create builds a lasting memory for the professional.
  • Leave a good ending impression. Say thank-you, shake hands again, and, once home, send a hand-written thank-you note to thank the professional for sharing their time with you. Just as a first impression sets the tone, the last impression can help you stand out from the crowd in a good way.
  • Introduce yourself. When you request the job shadow or interview time, introduce yourself using your first and last name. According to “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” author Barbara Pachter says using your full name can “confer dignity and influences how you are perceived.” Introduce yourself again when you arrive on site. Sign your full name on your thank-you note. This will keep your name in the professional’s mind.

Be open to the idea that, after the interview or job shadow experience, the professional might reach out to offer you a position, paid or unpaid. Even if you are unable to take the position, express your gratitude for that consideration. Building a network that might support you in the future is just as important as the lessons learned during the career exploration activity.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Employment.”

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