Setting up a job shadowing experience can be daunting and confusing, especially if you don’t yet have the connections with employers in your field of interest. Job shadowing is a career exploration activity that offers an opportunity to spend time with a professional currently working in a person’s career field of interest. Lucky for you, the Toppel Career Center does all this planning and provides a contact and introduction for you! The University of Miami UShadow program provides students the unique opportunity to connect with a knowledgeable alumni/employer hosts and investigate a potential career field in our local community through a typical workday.
I personally, had the chance to participate in the UShadow twice, both this year as well as last. A little background about me, I’m a junior majoring in Health Science Business Administration. Yeah I know, it’s a mouthful and somewhat difficult of an industry to enter without any help. This year, I had the opportunity to shadow the Clinical Resource Coordinator at Jackson Memorial Systems. The day started off with a tour of the building and introductions to her staff. Right as we were about to head to her office, the hospital had a fire drill; prompting more introductions to other hospital administrators my host hadn’t planned on, life takes you in funny directions. Originally the day was supposed to be focused on the administrative aspect of healthcare, but during the 30-minute drill, I had the chance to pick the minds of many practitioners and their thoughts regarding profit versus non-profit institutes. This is one of the many benefits of shadowing, at the end of your experience, you hear more than one story of how people got to where they are – which in my opinion, is the most enriching part of meeting people.
Every now and then, as students, we lose sight of the long-term goal we have post-graduation: a job we love. Having a chance to speak with someone in a position I hope to be in within the next 10 years was a motivation to work towards what I wanted. Through UShadow, not only do you gain insight, but you also gain a mentor to aid you through your journey. My host, an alumni of the university, and I connected while reminiscing about our time at UM which made conversation flow naturally, and I got to learn more about her. The most important advice I took from my experience was that, no matter what industry, networking is what sets candidates apart, and what better way to network than through a day shadowing!