How to Host a Student for a Job Shadow Day

January 23, 2017

MHTA — MHTA is encouraging our members and other high tech businesses to participate in Job Shadow Day from February 2-10. We are calling for high tech folks to host a high school student at your site to learn more about possible STEM career options.

If you’re wondering how to be a proper host, check out these four tactics that will help you turn those few hours into a rewarding work experience for both of you.

Be Prepared
Have a plan — hour by hour. Most job shadows will only last about 3-4 hours. A solid plan will save not only your sanity but also that of the student you’re hosting. The most widely expressed student complaints is that the host was not prepared for their arrival, and the students spent the day sitting in the host’s office watching them work but not getting involved. This can be avoided with a little preparation before the big day.

If possible, you might even want to ask the student to email you questions they would like answered ahead of time. That way, you’ll be prepared for what the student wants you to cover.

Think Conversation, Not Presentation
Everyone will have a much more satisfying experience if you have a conversation instead of just giving a presentation. There will be a chance to teach the student about careers — and learn something about a different generation.

Students may become introverted in a new and different environment. As a host, it’s good to engage the student early by asking a lot of questions of them. Discussing their interests in depth, their plans for education and what careers they may be interested in can help open them up. Once a dialogue is going, then you can begin discussing your own career and why you chose the line of work you’re in.

Share Your Shadow with Colleagues
From a practical standpoint, sharing student shadows with your coworkers lets you also share the responsibility for hosting them. More importantly, the student will get a broader look at the organization, as well as its people and job functions.

If applicable, you can even arrange for the student to meet briefly with your company’s college interns to gain a fellow student’s perspective.

Give the Student Information to Take Home
Prepare an information packet for your student, including:

1. Data about your company, job and the broader field.
2. Literature on professional organizations associated with your industry.
3. A list of relevant books or Web sites.

As you compile this information, don’t be surprised if you find information useful to your own career. Perhaps you’ll discover an industry Web site that will help you with a key project. Or maybe the trade association you finally joined last year has a local chapter.

Your business card is another helpful addition to this information packet. The student may want to contact you again, even just to thank you for hosting him.

Need more help or have any other questions? Contact Tim Barrett for more information or assistance. Check out getSTEM and the STEM Ambassadors as another way to give back!

Dare to Inspire!

Material used from “Four Ways to Make Job Shadow Day Work” By Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer


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