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Interest in job shadowing doubles

Laura McCrystal | Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Notre Dame Job Shadow Program, offered through the Career Center, nearly doubled the number of applicants it received since last year, according to career counselor Bridget Kibbe. 

The Job Shadow Program allows students to observe a Notre Dame alum in a career field that interests them for one day during Winter Break, Kibbe said. The program, she said, was initiated last year.

“It gives [students] a little bit of a preview of what can be expected in a career in that particular industry,” Kibbe said. “I think part of it is the opportunity to really find out from that alum what they like, what they don’t like, what they recommend, how to break into this industry.”

The program relies on a database of over 1,200 alumni in different careers nationwide who volunteered to participate in the program when they were contacted by that Career Center with the help of the Alumni Office, Kibbe said.

Thirty-two students participated in the program last year, she said.

“Everything we received back was very positive,” she said. “It was also a tool for them to network, to build their networking system in the Notre Dame family that’s already in place.”
Kibbe said the number of applicants increased to 62 students this year.

Monday marked the application deadline to participate in the program this Winter Break. To apply, students were asked to submit a résumé and fill out an application form about the industry in which they would like to shadow, Kibbe said.

“We really do have students from all over the country participating,” she said. “At this point I am contacting the alums and making the matches.”

Kibbe said the students will learn of their job shadow matches the first week of December, at which time they will contact the alumni and schedule the day for their job shadow.  

This year’s applicants expressed interest in a variety of career fields, including business, psychology, education, healthcare, engineering and non-profit work, Kibbe said.

The Career Center sends participating alumni a list of possible activities for job shadow students, including informational interviews, small projects, involvement in meetings, and interaction with other colleagues, Kibbe said.

“Each experience is very different, and they’ve all been very positive,” she said.

For younger students, Kibbe said the program is useful because they can even receive advice about which academic majors or specific skills might help them obtain a job in a particular industry.

“We’re just very excited and we really encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity,” she said.

The Career Center hopes the program will continue to grow as more students become aware of the benefits of the Job Shadow Program, Kibbe said. It allows students to experience a career field and have time with an alum in a particular field who can give them advice.

Kibbe said the Career Center plans to e-mail alumni this summer to increase the database of alumni who are willing to host students for job shadowing.

This spring, Kibbe said, the Career Center also plans to begin a new program called the Notre Dame Industry Externship Program, which would allow students to shadow alumni in certain industries for longer periods of time. 

“We’re in the process of developing it right now,” she said. “We hope to each semester have a type of program using the job shadow contacts that we’ve collected and expanding on that.”