faces on Zoom conference callThis term, the Virtual Job Shadow Experience was all done online.

Job shadowing in cyberspace proves valuable for participants

Career Development & Experiential Learning held its third round of job shadowing during the Fall Reading Week, but this time it was different.

In the past, students visited the workplace of a professional in person to observe their host in action. This term, the Virtual Job Shadow Experience was all done online.

Participants enjoyed an experience consisting of two parts: an information interview and another virtual learning activity. For the information interview, students met online with a professional for a question-and-answer period to ask about the host’s career and sector, the labour market, important skills, and more.

To capture the experience part of job shadowing in a virtual environment, hosts provided an additional learning activity. Some shared their screens so students could observe them working on a project. Some had students meet with their managers or with human resources or looked over the students’ resumés so students could learn more about hiring practices. Some students got to participate in a virtual meeting, presentation, or class.

The virtual aspect did not dampen students’ excitement for this competitive opportunity — more than 120 students applied for the program, with 30 matches made.

“I enjoyed a thought-provoking experience that gave me real-world, one-on-one advice and allowed me to have meaningful conversation about relevant topics to my career choice,” said education student Katelyn Burton. “I would definitely recommend this opportunity!”

She shadowed Vanessa Smith, manager of education and outreach for the Toronto performing arts venues, Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. Smith said she would participate again.

“I appreciated the opportunity to share my experiences with a student as they consider their career options,” she said. “We learned a lot from each other in a brief period of time and had a positive experience.”

Heather Sweet, an instructor in the UWindsor Faculty of Nursing, said the chance to mentor students was valuable.

“Job shadowing was a positive and rewarding experience for the students shadowing, the class, and myself as the instructor,” Sweet said. “It was refreshing to experience the enthusiasm of these students as they asked questions while planning the class, observed teaching, and debriefed afterward.”

Nursing major Becky Goens said she learned a great deal from observing Sweet.

“This was a really amazing experience for me,” she said. “I didn't realize how much prep work goes into teaching. This really affirmed for me that teaching is something I would like to be involved with in the future.”