What to Expect When You Host a Job Shadow Day

What to Expect When You Host a Job Shadow Day

A typical job shadow experience for a student is a half-work day, often beginning or ending with lunch.


Begin the day with an overview of your workplace. Discuss how you spend a typical day and how your personal objectives support the overall organization.


Give the student a tour of the facility.


While touring, take the opportunity to introduce your student to other workers. This will allow you to show multiple aspects of the operation and how different occupations within the workplace are all key to the overall operation.


The best job shadow experiences help a student interpret how their current day to day learning is preparing them for their future career. Discuss the skills you use every day – both skills you have learned throughout your career and those skills that began in high school.


Describe your educational path. Compare and contrast it with what is typical of your colleagues. Does your degree directly relate to your job? Great – then talk up your alma mater. Does your degree not relate? That’s ok, too. Talk about the path that brought you to where you are today.


You do not need to entertain your student all day. It is preferred that you do your regular work tasks while the student is with you. Do describe what you are doing, but do not feel the need to narrate all day. It took you years to understand your job fully, so you don’t need to explain it all in a day!

Be Hands-on

If it is prudent and safe, allow the student to participate in some of your work with you. If you have a meeting, allow the student to tag along. (You may need to remind them of the unwritten rules of meetings, but you’d do that for anyone new you brought in, right?)

Wrapping Up

At the end of your time, be sure to reflect with the student on how the day went. Share observations on how the student might be a good fit for your occupation. Allow time to ask questions, and be prepared with a few of your own to get your student thinking about a future in your career field.

Hosting a job shadow student can be an excellent way to give you a fresh perspective about your career. It’s typical to plan that you lose about an hour and a half of productivity on the day of a job shadow, but what you gain goes beyond simple productivity.

By hosting a high school student for half the day, you are giving back to the community and sharing your expertise.

Six Qualities of Successful Mentors

Six Qualities of Successful Mentors

Project Leadership matches community mentors with a 21st Century Scholar in their freshman year of high school or college. Community volunteers are asked to commit an hour each week for one year. The one-year commitment allows for enough time to develop a relationship and have a positive impact on a student. However, it is not uncommon for mentor-mentee relationships to grow beyond one year; many mentors walk with students through their high school career and beyond.

Through our years of managing mentor relationships, Project Leadership has learned the qualities that successful mentors share. The following information from MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership show the top six qualities of successful mentors.

1) Personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time — generally, one year at minimum. Mentors have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions and to see them become the best they can be. They have to be invested in the mentoring relationship long enough to make a difference.

2) Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their

own choices in life. Mentors should not approach the mentee with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be rescued. Mentors who convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship win the trust of their mentees and the privilege of being advisors to them.

3) Ability to listen and to accept different points of view. Most people can find someone who will give advice or express opinions. It’s much harder to find someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions and giving mentees an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.

4) Ability to empathize with another person’s struggles. Effective mentors can feel with people without feeling pity for them. Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize with their mentee’s feelings and personal problems.

5) Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers. Effective mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their mentees with optimism about finding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.

6) Flexibility and openness. Effective mentors recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their mentees, to learn new things that are important to their mentees (music, styles, philosophies, etc.), and even to be changed by their relationship.

As you read the qualities of a successful mentor, do you see yourself as possessing the qualities of a successful mentor? Please join Project Leadership to improve our community through mentoring. Apply online today at projectleadership.org/apply.