o Research the company! This is one of the most important things you can do before you go. You should know the basics. For example:
o What does this company do? How do they make money?
o What is their history and who are their key people? When were they founded? How have they changed since then? Who are some of their biggest clients?
o Why do they do what they do? Do they have a mission statement? Why are they passionate about their jobs or industry?
o What is their office and culture like? How do they operate? How do they stand apart? Social media is a great way to learn more about this one.
o Their current events: What is going on with them right now? Have they recently won any awards? Are they set to speak at or attend an upcoming conference? Do they have any recent case studies published?
o Have questions prepared! Asking questions throughout the day shows that you are interested and engaged. Questions should be specific to the company or organization and to you. Some generic options are below:
o What goals are XYZ Company currently working towards?
o What type of skills and experience does XYZ Company look for in new hires?
o Does XYZ Company participate in any industry conferences or organizations?
o How would you describe the work environment here—is the work collaborative or more independent?
o What's different about working here than anywhere else you've worked?
o What advice would you give to a college student looking to get into this industry?
o Be prepared to answer questions! Be prepared to answer questions from various people in the organization. Although you can’t prepare for every question, there are some you are likely to encounter:
o What do you hope to get out of today?
o Tell me about yourself…
o Where do you go to school? How did you chose that school, and do you like it there? What are you involved with at school?
o What is your major? Why did you choose that as your major? What do you want to do with it?
o What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
o What do you want to do after you graduate?
o Know where you are going! Print out detailed directions. If you are going to a big city like DC or Baltimore, decide where you are going to park ahead of time. Leave ample time for traffic, and prepare to pay for parking and/or tolls. It may be helpful to make a practice drive to the actual location beforehand to avoid any last minute surprises. Make sure you have enough gas for the trip.
o Plan what you are going to wear! If you haven’t worn your outfit in a while, try it on to make sure it still fits, and have it cleaned and ironed the night before. It is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Solid colored conservative suits are a safe bet for both ladies and gentlemen. Shoes should be clean and professional, but comfortable to walk in. Ladies should keep makeup, jewelry, and perfume to a minimum, and gentlemen should keep facial hair neat and trimmed. Don’t underestimate how far a respectful and professional appearance will take you.
o Get a good night’s sleep the night before, and eat a good breakfast before you leave!
o What to Bring:
· 2 or 3 pens
· A notebook or pad of paper
· Your calendar or planner
· Your lunch (unless you know that it will be provided)
· 5-10 copies of an updated resume
· Business cards if you have them
· Cash for parking or tolls
o What Not to Bring:
· Chewing gum
· Your cell phone- Leave it in the car so you’re not tempted to look at it!
· A watch if you will check it too often
o Your Job Shadow experience is meant to be educational and fun; however, you are representing yourself and your university in a professional environment. Taking notes throughout the day will show that you are alert and eager to learn. Ask questions, but not questions that should have been researched beforehand. Be confident in yourself, but humbled by your superiors.
o Follow up with hand written thank you notes, sent within a couple days of your experience. You may need to write notes to multiple individuals, depending on who you meet during the day.
o Remember to answer any questions you did not answer on the spot.
o Follow-through on any requests.
If you’re interested in conversations like this, please follow me on twitter @MrsPTMorris or e-mail