Job Shadow Program: Information for Sponsors

The Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program provides students the opportunity to see firsthand what it is like to work as a professional in a field that they may be interested in pursuing. Bates alumni, parents, and local employers are welcome to sign up to sponsor a job shadow that lasts one to two days, and at a time that is convenient for both the sponsor and the student. Students spend time observing and working with the sponsors to gain insight into potential career paths.

Sponsor registration for 2018 -19 is closed

2018/19 Sponsor Job Shadow Timeline

September: Sponsors register online
October: Students submit applications
November: Sponsors review applications
Late November: Sponsors and students are notified of matches
November – May: Job shadows take place (arranged by student and sponsor)


Click on the questions below to learn more about the Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program:

About the program

Why should I sponsor a job shadow?+ A job shadow provides an essential opportunity to test drive a career path or occupation. It also can help students to get a foot in the door in a competitive field. A job shadow experience can be added to a resume as a way of demonstrating genuine interest in a specific field or employer. Students that secure job shadows, especially as first years or sophomores, most likely will be better prepared to apply for internships and jobs in the future.

What do students do during a job shadow?+ It depends upon the sponsor and field of work. Examples of activities may include taking a tour; conducting informational interviews with people in various specialties and roles; learning about the industry, culture of the organization, training, coursework and career paths; exploring the organization’s various resources; sitting in on meetings; or assisting with tasks and actual projects (e.g., conduct research, write reports).

What should I expect from my student?+ The sponsor should expect the student to arrive on time, appropriately dressed and ready to spend the day learning, observing and asking questions. Since the program is designed to provide students with exposure to a field, it is not expected that the student will have relevant job experience. Sponsors should keep in mind that the student is not a “temp” and therefore should not simply be assigned to clerical tasks throughout the day. Students value the opportunity to take on projects, to meet with colleagues, and to engage in activities that give them insight into a field.

About the application process

What can I expect a student's substantive knowledge of my field to be?+ Unlike a job or internship, students with no formal or substantive professional experience are encouraged to apply. Job shadows are open to students from all four class years. We hope you will introduce them to the rewards and challenges of your chosen field.

If I volunteer, am I guaranteed a student?+ A match is not guaranteed due to a number of factors that go into selection and matching. However, if you are not matched with a student, there are still many valuable ways for you to offer career assistance that include providing internship and job opportunities, and conversing with students via phone or email about your occupation or career field. For more information, please contact the Bates Center for Purposeful Work at or 207-786-6232.

How does the selection process work?+ After you register online, the information about your job shadow will be available for students to view and apply in October. Students may apply for up to three job shadow opportunities by uploading a resume and a statement of interest for each job shadow. Please note that students are asked to submit a brief statement, and not a formal cover letter. In November, sponsors whose job shadows have drawn student interest will receive their applications. Sponsors will view the application materials and rank their preferences. Rankings must be completed in November. If you are matched, you will be notified by email. Students are responsible for contacting their sponsors in December to schedule a mutually convenient time for the job shadow.

About the actual shadow day

What are the job shadow dates?+ The sponsor and student will pick a mutually convenient date between November and May.

Am I expected to reimburse the student in any way?+ The job shadow is unpaid. Students are responsible for their own transportation, accommodation, and food expenses, unless sponsors volunteer to host the student for meals, an overnight stay, or help with transportation.

What if I want to provide housing for the student?+ Although not required, many sponsors are willing to provide accommodations for students in their homes and find that they enjoy the experience. If this is not possible, students make their own arrangements.

How long is a job shadow?+ Typically, a job shadow is one or two days. At the sponsor’s discretion, it may last longer, but this is not generally recommended. In most situations, one day will be sufficient.

Must I consider the student to be a potential employee?+ No. There is no expectation that job shadow involvement will result in hiring students for jobs or internships (though it has happened in the past!). We certainly welcome sponsors to inquire about student interest in any internships or jobs that their organizations may offer. Sponsors often keep in contact with students upon completion of their job shadow.

 Contact us at or 207-786-6232.