Wouldn’t it be great if you knew for sure you liked your chosen career before getting a job in that field? It’s a lot like wanting to dip your toe in the water before jumping in, right? It is a common wish many students have and luckily there is a way to try out a job before being employed.

You may have heard about job shadowing before, probably in high school as a junior or senior. Job shadowing, for anyone who has not heard of it before, is an opportunity for students to “shadow” a professional in a chosen field for an allotment of hours. This could range from a nursing student being assigned to a registered nurse at a nearby hospital for 15 hours to a student looking at law enforcement and shadowing a state trooper for a few days.
The general idea and purpose of job shadowing is to get a real sense of your employment plans and exploring your options as soon as possible. The sooner you know what you want to do, the better!

There are many great reasons to job shadow, but the main ones are:

1) Hands-on experience: Many people find that the best way they can learn or visualize something is by doing it themselves or seeing it in person. Job shadowing takes the student into the job so they can experience it in a much more real way than just reading about it or talking to people who work in that field.

2) Networking: It is no secret that networking and having the right connections can really go a long way in career building. Of course, experience and personality matter too, but having connections to people on the inside can mean the difference between getting the job or just barely missing the mark. Job shadowing exposes students to so many different connections and it is important to maintain a broad network.

3) Personal discoveries: Just like dipping your toe in the water can tell you if the water is too cold, job shadowing can tell you if the job you want is the job you actually want and can pursue. It is very possible that after job shadowing you may realize that the job just isn’t the right fit for you. Hopefully after job shadowing you will be even more motivated to work in that field!

4) Experience: This reason sounds a lot like the first one listed, however the difference is that this experience can be put on your resume. While it is not encouraged to only do something for the sole reason of building your resume, employers will see your job shadowing experience as a sign that you take your chosen career path seriously.

For those of you interested in working as a Medical Technologist, the MedLab job shadowing program provided by the Bassett Healthcare Network and CNYAHEC is a fantastic program provided across various locations in Central New York State. This opportunity is available to high school and college students. For more information please visit https://bassett.hwapps.org/or contact Claire Payne at cpayne@hwapps.org. This is a great opportunity and may open many doors, including future employment for Bassett!