Review of the U of A Job Shadow Week
by YU FEI HUANG
Want to try out a career for a day? Why don’t you try U of A’s job shadow week?
This year’s U of A Job Shadow Week was hosted during the reading week on North Campus from November 7th to November 11th. Applicants, ranging from students to alumni, are matched with a community-based professional for a workplace visit. It is a great way to explore potential career options and learn about the duties of any professions.
What does job shadow mean, you ask? A job shadow is basically a chance to informally interview and observe an individual, and you get to explore the field that you are interested in pursuing for your own career. A training session is provided on what questions are appropriate to ask of your host, what kind of behaviours should be avoided (such as checking your phone constantly) and how to maintain that network you build from the experience.
I got the chance to job shadow a T2C Program Coordinator, Jia Jia, from the U of A Career Center. Before I went off to the job shadow, I did a lot of research. My goal was to avoid any questions that can be easily found online. Most of the questions I had were based on her personal experience, such as what does she like the most about her working environment, how do the supervisors maintain the positive energy and how do the employees sustain that environment. My host, Ms. Jia, shared with me how her past experiences have helped her with her current position. Her passion for coaching students on career options resonated with me, as she showed me there are more ways to help students becoming successful.
I could only job shadow this year’s host for one day. Last year, I had the chance to have a longer job shadow week with our wonderful Residence Coordinator, Veronika Deliyannakis. I actually set up the job shadow opportunity by asking her directly. It was a very interesting experience because I was on the residence team last year, but Ms. Deliyannakis really opened up my eyes on how much work is done behind the scene. I especially enjoyed the insightful conversation we had about her position. The lesson that stuck with me is her willingness to be vulnerable with her team, and how she was always willing to improve herself.
Both experiences were very useful in letting me learn more how skills are transferable, and I definitely recommend anyone to try it out. There is another job shadow week during the reading week at North Campus from Tuesday, February 21 to Friday, February 24, 2017. If you are interested in applying, check out the U of A Career Center. And honestly, if you do not intend to miss any school days for the job shadow, you can also make your own job shadow opportunities, like I did mine with Ms. Deliyannakis. Just find someone who is in the field that you are interested in and request to job shadow them through e-mail, the worst answer you can get is ‘no’.