Statistics show that the typical person is going to change careers anywhere between 5 and 7 times in their life. If you think you’re ready to make that career change, job shadowing might be exactly what you need to do to put that to the test. Make a list of careers you’d be interested in pursuing and start looking for job shadowing opportunities. They’re helpful for a number of reasons, and you’ll be happy that you utilized them.
1. You’ll Prevent Buyer’s Remorse
Even if you think you’re positive you want to make a massive career change, you have no way of knowing exactly how it’s going to work out until you have a little bit of experience. Rather than going through a series of interviews or obtaining higher education to find a job in that field, shadow someone first. You could save yourself a lot of time and money if the end result is that the new career wasn’t the best idea after all.
2. You’ll Know if You’re a Cultural Fit
Most people don’t know how well they’ll fit in until they’ve been working somewhere for a few weeks. The insider perspective you’ll gain from job shadowing can help you make that determination much sooner. Maybe the work environment is more isolated than you’d prefer. Maybe you don’t get along with the people working there. If you’re a big communicator, you probably don’t want to work somewhere that keeps people confined to cubicles for a significant portion of the day. If it turns out that you’re passionate about the environment, this will only increase your drive to pursue the new career.
3. You’ll Be Able to Ask Questions in Real Time
You’re probably familiar with the “do you have any questions for me?” portion of an interview. It’s always a little awkward, because you might not know where to begin. Every moment you spend job shadowing can show you what you need to know in order to ask those questions. You can make an informed decision on a position based on the questions and answers that are exchanged throughout the shadowing process.
4. You Can Recognize and Correct Your Own Shortcomings
Perhaps the job you’re shadowing requires a lot of phone skills, and you’re not a big fan of talking on the phone. You might want to work on that before you actively pursue a similar position. Maybe the job isn’t what you thought it would be at all, and you aren’t actually qualified for the position. You can go back to job boards to find something that matches your qualifications, or you can pursue the qualifications you’ll need if you still love the job.
5. You Might Wind Up With a Direct Path Inside
If your shadowing opportunity goes well and you’ve made an excellent impression, you might wind up with a path right into that position. If you don’t wind up with a job right away, you might wind up with an internship that can lead you to one. You don’t have to worry about starting from the ground up because you’ve already met the necessary people and studied their environment. It’s so much easier than tailoring your resume and crossing your fingers.
You have everything to gain from job shadowing. If you network in the right industries or ask potential employers directly, you might be surprised to find how many opportunities are out there.