Changing careers can be kind of scary, especially if you’ve been at the same job for several years. If you think it’s time for a change but you aren’t yet positive, job shadowing can be one of the best options you have at your disposal. You’ll be able to answer a lot of important questions that will ultimately help you make up your mind about what you want to do with your future.
1. It Saves You Money and Time
What if you career change involves getting a new degree or moving far away from home? Wouldn’t you want to know exactly what it is that’s monopolizing your time and money? You’ll know what you’re working towards if you have to make other huge changes in your life in order to accommodate your career change. It’s easier to keep your eyes on the prize when you know for sure that the prize is worth it. If it isn’t, you’ve saved yourself a ton of time and money.
2. It Teaches You Things You Didn’t Know Before
It’s easy to look at a career from the outside and assume you know what it entails. In reality, even comprehensive descriptions of positions on job boards or corporate websites can’t possibly tell you everything.
You won’t really know how well you perform in an environment until you’ve experienced that environment. You’ll know whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for a position before you’ve ever accepted a job offer.
3. It Prevents Regrets
You leave your job, you start your new one, and it turns out that you liked your old job much better. What do you do now? Job shadowing can help you prevent those regrets. You’ll have firsthand experience in both scenarios, and you’ll be able to make an educated decision about where your professional future should lead. You’ll know objectively if you’re making the right choice, and this eliminates self doubt from the equation.
4. It Helps You Network
The people who work at the company where you’re shadowing can become valuable contacts later on. If you do decide that you’d like to work in that industry or in a similar position, you can use these people as references or connect with them on your professional social networks. When you’re ready to jump in, you can ask them about any career opportunities they may be aware of. Just be sure to make a great first impression – you’ll want them to remember you later.
5. It Might Lead to a Career
Job shadowing can almost be the same as an internship. If you can shadow for a longer period of time and you’re willing to take initiative, you might find that you’re able to impress the right people. If you’re already qualified for the job, the company might be prepared to offer you the position at the end of your shadowing period if they have any openings. Treat your shadowing opportunity like a dry run at the actual job, and you might actually make your dreams come true.
Not every field offers job shadowing opportunities, but they’re invaluable when you can find them. Contact the company directly if they don’t have any information readily available on their website. If you’re currently attending school, speak with the faculty to see if they’re aware of any job shadowing gigs you can pick up.
About the Author:
Sienna Walker is an education and careers blogger, currently writing for Datastical, an online knowledge library. Sienna enjoys sharing her tips and strategies with people trying to improve their career opportunities or boost their skills. Feel free to reach out to her on @SiennaWalkerS.
For more articles, visit OD Blog.