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Career Services Guide to

Job Shadowing

A member of The Texas State University System

What to Expect from Job Shadowing • Learn how knowledge gained in class is used on the job. • Learn what professionals in your field of interest actually do on the job. • Understand the skills necessary for a particular job. • Find out more about the work site being visited. • See how technology is used on the job. • Explore new career ideas. • Learn how much education/experience is needed for a job. Career Services often engages in partnerships with specific academic departments to coordinate job shadowing assignments. For information regarding this possibility in a specific major, contact Career Services or the department advisor.

Job Shadowing Eligibility • Student must be currently enrolled at Texas State. • Student must be a second-semester freshman, sophomore, junior or senior in a declared major. • Graduate students are eligible under certain circumstances. • Student may participate in more than one semester as long as he/she is still enrolled and has not graduated before the shadowing date. • Student will need a one-page résumé to complete registration; a career counselor in Career Services can critique his/her resume as well as provide data on creating a quality resume. • Student will be responsible for all logistics (including transportation, meals, parking, etc.). • Current registration forms available only at Career Services in LBJSC 5-7.1.

Texas State University-San Marcos has grown into a major doctoral-granting institution, nationally recognized in many areas, with more than 28,000 students, 1,000 faculty and 130,000 graduates. Career Services’ mission is to provide comprehensive assistance to students in each stage of their career development, incorporating the most current practices and technology. For nine years, Texas State Career Services has offered students an opportunity to participate in the state’s premier job shadowing program. What is job shadowing? Participation in the Job Shadowing Program provides an opportunity for students to visit an organization to gain firsthand knowledge about different career fields.

This unique externship offers students a chance to test out their career choices during the winter break. The primary goal of the program is to expose a diverse group of students to career settings within their major. A job shadowing opportunity involves several elements constructed around a short-term (half-day, daylong, several days, or weeklong) visit to a job site in the private, nonprofit or government sectors. What are the program benefits? Job shadowing provides an opportunity for students to assess their skills and interests, develop a network, establish mentor relationships and gain additional career information directly from career professionals.

Typical shadowing activities include: observation, assistance in basic work activities, participation in short-term projects (depending on time limitations), office tours, attending meetings and possibly lunch with the staff and Texas State alumni. How do students register? Student registration begins in early November and ends prior to Thanksgiving.

Student registration packets are available only in Career Services. Upon registration, students select from a list of employers based on majors and departments indicated by the organizations. A student may also provide a networking contact that is not on the list of employers for the Job Shadowing Program staff to contact. Registration is completed with the student’s submission of a résumé and the “Release and Indemnity Agreement” form. Once students are matched with an employer, they will receive a confirmation packet containing information regarding their shadowing site. What is the evaluation process? At the end of the job shadowing activity, students are asked to evaluate their experience based on the following criteria: opportunity to explore their interests, learning advantages and disadvantages of the career field, participation in day-to-day activities, insight gained into skills/experiences necessary to succeed on the job and opportunity to make networking contacts.

Employers evaluate shadowing participants on the student’s interest during the job shadowing experience, professionalism while on site, enthusiasm, helpfulness and appreciation for the opportunity. What industries are targeted? - financial services, banking and accounting firms - advertising, public relations, TV/radio and newspapers - graphic and interior design agencies - health care facilities and hotels/resorts/spas - nonprofit organizations, museums and event planning - city, county, state and federal agencies - manufacturing and high-tech industries - retail and sales companies - environmental organizations

Student participation in this program continues to grow each semester. On average, 150 students are assigned to one of the 202 employer partners in the shadowing program. Job shadowing is a “Win-Win” exchange for all involved.

What Students Are Saying Marketing major, shadowing at an investment company in San Antonio: “Job shadowing could change your perceived image (positive or negative) about a career field. It is a great way to develop contacts.” International Studies major, shadowing at a victims service unit in Austin: “I recommend job shadowing because it allows students to view a different work environment that they would not otherwise have knowledge about.” Accounting major, shadowing at a accounting firm in Austin: “It gave me the opportunity to ask any and all questions that I had, questions that you wouldn’t normally ask your boss - what he likes and dislikes about his job, what he would change about his career path, etc. It allowed me to confirm my career choice before I got too far into my studies.” English/History major, shadowing at a State Representative’s Capitol Office in Austin: “I would definitely recommend the program because it has exposed me to opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. With my job shadowing assignment, I was able to explore Austin, a city that I haven’t had an appreciation for until visiting this January.” Finance major, shadowing at a regional commercial bank in San Antonio: “It gives you an excellent opportunity to take a look at what you can do with the knowledge you learn in college.” Mass Communication major, shadowing at a news station in San Antonio: “I saw how experience matters in a field like broadcasting. I was able to develop contacts for future internship opportunities.” Public Relations major, shadowing at a public relations firm in Houston: “Prior to this experience, all of the information I had regarding a career in public relations came out of a book or a classroom. The idea of being in a professional setting was a little intimidating until I did job shadowing. Essentially it’s a six to eight hour interview, and at the end of my shadowing they actually tried to recruit me as a summer intern. This program is invaluable!”

Other Services Provided • Individual Career Counseling

Students are encouraged to discuss their choice of major, as well as related career plans, with the counseling staff of Career Services. Appointments for these services should be made at least two to three days in advance.

• Job Fairs/Special Events

We provide special events, programs and several job fairs throughout each semester. Students of all majors and classifications have the opportunity to benefit from the various events. For more information on Career Services sponsored job fairs and special programming, visit

• Information on Majors

More than 40 handouts provide information on each major with regard to related areas of the work world, typical employers, professional associations and job search strategies.

• Career Resource Library

The career library offers a wide range of books, magazines, brochures, career books, occupational guides and directories.

CAREER SERVICES 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666-4616 P 512.245.2645 F 512.245.3993 This information is available in alternate format upon request from the Office of Disability Services.

Student Guide to Job Shadowing  

A student guide to Job Shadowing