Job shadowing can be a great exploration tool. Students, many universities offer a job shadow experience through their career services or student activities office. Generally, job shadows allow you to spend a day with a professional, experiencing a typical day-in-the-life of a field of interest to you. It also allows you to make valuable contacts, ask lots of questions, and generally squeeze every bit of knowledge you can from your time in the field.
But, you aren’t limited to such a program. Does your mom’s BFF have a cool job that interests you? Find out if you could spend a day – or even part of a day – with her. Does your new roommate know someone who works in an industry of interest? See if s/he would be willing to make some introductions. If you can’t arrange to spend a day or half-day with someone, see if they can spare an hour to visit with you. If you offer to bring your host her favorite drink or even treat her to lunch in exchange for her time, this thoughtful gesture might make her more willing to make time for you.
Already have your degree and several years in the full-time world, but curious about a different industry? A traditional shadow may not be an option, but networking and informational interviews are. Talk to people. Ask current friends / family / colleagues to introduce you to new contacts. Ask how they got into their industry. What is their day like? What do they like best / least? Maybe you can volunteer in the area that interests you as a way to experience it with minimal risk? Serve on a governing board? Investigate and / or join a professional organization in the industry?
Be creative in your exploration. You aren’t just limited to Google searches (excellent though they are!) and mass job boards to gather information. Ask around. Look for opportunities, then jump on them!
I don’t know what to do with my hands!
What to do / not do when you land a job shadow!