How to Schedule Job Shadowing and Informational Interviews

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November 18, 2015 by ambermomin

As business students, we’re constantly being exposed to a variety of fields and companies where we can put our education and skills to good use. With this, however, it may be overwhelming to decide what industry or firm is best suited for us. Sure, investment banking or oil and gas may seem like the normative way to go, but what exactly do these jobs consist of? Better yet, what is a typical day on the job like? Questions like these constantly fill our minds, and there is no better way to get them answered than by scheduling a job shadowing day and/or an informational interview.  Both are great ways to get first-hand knowledge about a company or field.

Job shadowing: a day where students spend time in the office with an industry professional go about their daily routines.

Informational interviews: brief Q&A sessions between students and employees either via telephone, Skype, or in person.

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Read the quick steps below for a brief guide on how to go about scheduling these experiences!

Decide on a company or industry you’re interested in learning about.
Maybe you really want to learn what a day in the life of an investment banker looks like. Or maybe you just want to ask a McCombs Marketing alum how they’re putting their degree to use. Solidify all your questions, and decide what company or industry you would like to shadow or interview.

Search for potential employees to shadow or interview.
This perhaps might be one of the most challenging steps of scheduling a job shadow or interview. To begin, join the “Texas BBA Career Services Student, Alumni, and Employer Network” group on LinkedIn. Here, you can find hundreds of McCombs alumni who would be more than willing to share their industry insight. If you’re looking for someone from a particular company and cannot find it on the BBA Career Services group, search up the company and find an employee who’s profile interests you!

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The BBA Career Services Network on LinkedIn connects current students to alumni.

Reach out to the employee.
Using the BBA Career Services Job Correspondence guide as a frame of reference, formulate an email to the potential interviewee. State your name, classification, and any relevant experience you may have. If you’re interested in job shadowing, explain to the employee that you would like to spend a few hours with them in the office and ask about their company policy regarding job shadows. If you’re interested in an informational interview, ask if they would be open to having a brief conversation via telephone or over coffee about their experiences. If the employer doesn’t respond to your email within a few days, don’t be discouraged and reach out to more individuals from similar backgrounds.

Don’t overlook the logistics.
If you’re successful in scheduling a job shadow or informational interview, double check to make sure you don’t have class during the set time. If you’re meeting the employer at his or her office, make sure you have a form of transportation to get there. Be sure to send a friendly  reminder the day before the event to the employee to confirm your visit or call. If you’re doing an informational interview via Skype or telephone, find a quiet place around campus where you won’t have any disturbances. Most importantly, compile a list of questions that you want to ask – nothing seems as unprofessional as showing up unprepared.

Send a thank you note after the job shadow or interview.
Within 24 hours after the completion of your visit or interview, be sure to send out a thank you note expressing your gratitude. Mention any interesting things you learned from the experience, and state your current contact information in your signature block in case the employer ever wants to get back in touch with you.

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Thank you notes should typically be sent within 24 hours of the job shadow or interview.

Hopefully this brief guide can help you schedule your next job shadowing day or informational interview. Remember, don’t be shy to reach out to industry professionals – they are more than happy to help you!

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