Job Shadow Program: Information for Students

Through the Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program, students connect with Bates alumni and parents to learn about professional options, personal perspectives, and how others have navigated pathways toward purposeful work. Each year, hundreds of Bates alumni, parents, and friends of Bates from a diverse range of industries volunteer to connect with students through this program.

Students from all four class years may apply for up to three job shadows. If matched, the students arrange their virtual shadow(s) with their sponsors anytime between November and May, at a time that is mutually convenient for the student and sponsor. 

This year, the job shadow program will be entirely virtual. The sponsors will design their own agenda that may involve two hours to two days of virtual connections, conversations, and professional activities. The Center for Purposeful Work will provide guidance to the sponsors about how to design their virtual job shadow agenda.

Below is a list of our current virtual job shadow opportunities, organized by industry, with links to their respective Handshake application forms:

Our Job Shadow Student Orientation Handout provides a detailed overview of the Job Shadow Program process for students.

2020-21 Student Job Shadow Timeline


October: Virtual Job Shadow Information Sessions

  • Friday, October 9 at 12noon via Zoom
  • Monday, October 12 at 12noon via Zoom
  • Wednesday, October 14 at 4 pm via Zoom

See Events in Handshake for Zoom links.

Oct. 1: Students may apply for job shadows – in Handshake
Oct. 21-28: Special Drop-in hours for Resume and Statement of Interest review.

Drop-ins take place in Chase Hall, First Floor Gallery:

  • Wednesday, 10/21 10am – 2pm
  • Thursday, 10/22 10am – 2pm
  • Friday, 10/23 10am – 2pm
  • Monday, 10/26 10am – 2pm and 7 – 9pm
  • Tuesday, 10/27 10am – 2pm and 7 – 9pm
  • Wednesday, 10/28 10am – 2pm  and 7 – 9pm

Please WEAR A MASK, BRING A LAPTOP OR TABLET and be prepared to share your resume electronically with a Purposeful Work Fellow or staff person, so as to maintain 6 feet of safe, social distancing.

Oct. 28: Job shadow application deadline by 11:59pm
Nov. 20: Students notified that they have been matched
Nov. 30 – Dec. 11 Virtual Student Orientations via Zoom by invitation. Students are given sponsor contact information following orientation.
Jan. 15: Deadline for students to contact sponsors to arrange shadow dates
Dec. 1 – May 29 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

[showhide-control for =”area1″ text=”Why should I participate in a Job Shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area1″]A job shadow provides an essential opportunity to test drive a career path or occupation. It also can help you 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 a genuine interest in a specific field or employer. Students from all class years are encouraged to apply. Students that secure job shadows as first years and sophomores most likely will be better prepared to apply for internships and jobs in the future. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area2″ text=”What do students do during a job shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area2″]It depends upon the sponsor and field of work. Examples of activities may include taking a virtual 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; virtually sitting in on meetings; or assisting with tasks and actual projects (e.g., conduct research, write reports).[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area3″ text=”How long is a job shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area3″]In 2020-21, all job shadows will be virtual. Sponsors have offered to connect with students for between two hours and two days, depending on availability and appropriateness, given the specific situation. Job shadows must be completed between November and May.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area4″ text=”Will I get paid for doing a job shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area4″]No, job shadows are unpaid experiences. Nor is there academic credit associated with the job shadow program.[/showhide-area]

Applying to the program

[showhide-control for=”area5″ text=”Where do I find a list of  employers offering job shadows and how do I apply?”][showhide-area name=”area5″]
Job shadow sponsor information and job shadow descriptions are accessible through Handshake. The job shadow application process requires uploading your resume and a statement of interest for a specific job shadow.

Please refer to the Job Shadow Student Application Instructions for details on how to applyIf you need assistance with logging into Handshake, please call 207-786-6232.

To seek guidance in preparing the required documents, please utilize the support of the Bates Center for Purposeful Work. Make an appointment via Handshake or send your documents to

The quality of your resume and statement of interest — along with the number of students who have applied to the opportunity  — may likely influence your match with the job shadow. We typically select the candidate that has most clearly articulated their interest in the shadow, and not necessarily the applicant with the most experience.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area6″ text=”What is the best way to prepare my resume?”] [showhide-area name=”area6″]To apply for the Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program, students must have their resume reviewed by the Center for Purposeful Work. To have this review and receive the “resume reviewed” label on your Handshake account, schedule an appointment with a counselor by calling 207-786-6232 or send your resume to  If you do not have a resume, review the Resume Guide to get started.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area7″ text=”What is a statement of interest?”] [showhide-area name=”area7″]A statement of interest is brief — one or two paragraphs— and tells the sponsor why you are interested in the particular job shadow. Click here to see a sample Statement of Interest.

It is helpful to mention why you are interested in the field, what experience or coursework you have had in the subject area, and how you would benefit from the job shadow. Please read the job shadow description carefully. Look closely not only at the specific industry, but at the actual occupation of the sponsor. Though a sponsor may work in the field of education, this does not necessarily mean that the job shadow offered has to do with teaching — it may be related to human resources, fundraising, communications, etc. It is essential that your statement does not have any grammatical or spelling errors. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area8″ text=”Can I apply to more than one job shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area8″]Yes. You may apply for (and potentially be matched with) up to three job shadow offerings. Please note that if you apply to and get matched with more than one job shadow, you will be expected to complete all of them. If you apply to more than one job shadow, please rank the sponsors in order of preference and email this information to by the application deadline. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area9″ text=”What happens after I apply?”] [showhide-area name=”area9″]Once you have applied through Handshake, Purposeful Work will review the applications received. If a match is made, we will notify you and provide you with your sponsor’s contact information following a job shadow orientation session. It is your responsibility to contact your sponsor to set up a date for your job shadow after reviewing the guidelines that will be provided to you at the orientation session.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for = “area10″ text =”What happens if I am not matched?”] [showhide-area name=”area10″]If you are not matched, there are still many opportunities for you to connect with Bates alumni, parents, and local employers. Join BatesBridge to connect with alumni who want to share their career knowledge and expertise. In addition, please visit the Bates Center for Purposeful Work for information on student resources, events, and career opportunities.[/showhide-area]

Potential costs and reimbursements

[showhide-control for =”area11″ text=”Will the sponsor offer me a job?”] [showhide-area name=”area11″]Keep in mind that a job shadow is not about getting a job or internship out of your experience (though that has happened in the past!). It is permissible to express interest in internship opportunities that the organization may offer in the future. If your sponsor asks about your interest and/or inquires about your plans, feel free to share such information.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for =”area12″ text=”Will housing, transportation or meals be provided?”] [showhide-area name=”area12″]Given that all 2020/21 academic year job shadows will be held virtually, it will not be necessary to plan for housing, transportation, and/or meals. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for = “area13″ text=”How do I apply for reimbursement for travel costs?”] [showhide-area name=”area13″]Given that all 2020/21 academic year job shadows will be held virtually, it will not be necessary to pay, or be reimbursed, for travel costs that were historically associated with the program.[/showhide-area]

Questions? Contact us at or 207-786-6232.