Work shadowing is when you observe staff performing key duties in the workplace. It can help you gain a better idea of what employment in a particular job or sector is like.
Work shadowing can also help you:
- develop commercial awareness
- understand the requirements and responsibilities of a particular role, which can help you tailor your applications for further experience or graduate jobs
- provide evidence of your motivation to work in the sector when applying for graduate jobs
- decide where your future career interests lie, especially if you manage to shadow more than one role
- make contacts within the sector and potentially arrange further work experience where you can take a more practical role
Finding shadowing opportunities
Work shadowing opportunities are not usually advertised. Instead, you could approach companies directly about shadowing a member of staff, usually for a day or two. Send them a tailored CV and covering letter, expressing your enthusiasm for the company and sector, and outline what kind of experience you would like to gain.
Where possible, identify a contact name to address your covering letter to. Call or email to find out who is responsible for recruitment within the organisation or a key contact in the department you want to work in.
It’s useful to follow up a speculative application with a phone call a few days afterwards to show you are serious and motivated.
It may be difficult, however, to arrange shadowing for certain roles where confidentiality or security is of high importance, for example, shadowing psychologists with a patient, or engineers working in defence companies.
- North East Graduate Directory – database of local organisations who offer work experience or accept speculative applications
- Researching employers – contains sources of company profiles and a list of business directories and databases
- Occupations – find employer directories for specific sectors
- LinkedIn – an online networking tool allowing users to connect with professionals across all industries
- LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations Newcastle graduates are working in
Opportunities for Newcastle University students
Newcastle Hospitals Work Experience
Newcastle Hospitals Work Experience gives prospective medical students the opportunity to spend a day in the education centre observing a live-streamed operation, plus other medical exercises, followed by one or two days work shadowing a consultant.
The scheme is open to all Newcastle University students and priority will be given to those submitting a UCAS medical school application to start the following academic year.
Applications open in February for one week and the work experience takes place during the Easter vacation. Call in to the Careers Service to find out more.