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 shadow(s) with their sponsors anytime between orientations and the end of May, at a time that is mutually convenient for the student and sponsor. 

Review our list of 2023-24 Job Shadow Opportunities!

This year the Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program will offer both virtual and in-person shadows. The sponsors will design their own agenda that may involve two hours to two days of either virtual or in-person connections, conversations, and professional activities. 

2023-24 Student Job Shadow Timeline

 Oct. 1

Job Shadows open in Handshake! Search for “PW Job Shadow” to see all options.

Month of Oct.

Job Shadow Information Sessions & Resume Reviews

  • Info Session on 10/13 at 12:15pm – 1pm ET in Commons 221 – Presentation Found Here
  • Visits to FYS classrooms by PW Staff & PW Peer Advisors (various dates)
  • PW Drop-in Hours in Chase Hall, First Floor (Monday – Friday 1-3 pm)
  • Evening Drop-in Hours in Chase Hall (Sunday – Wednesday 7-9pm)

Review our list of 2023-24 Job Shadow Opportunities!

End of Nov. Special Drop-in hours for resume reviews. You must have a “resume reviewed 2023/24” label in Handshake to apply for job shadows.
Nov .29 Job shadow application deadline is now Wednesday, November 29. Apply in Handshake by 11:59pm ET
Dec. 15


Students will be notified about being matched on Friday, Dec. 15. Every student who applied will receive an update, even if not matched. 

For those matched, students will receive an introductory email, including sponsor contact information, during the following week, by Friday, Dec. 22.

Dec. – Jan. Students will complete orientation asynchronously by reading program materials, which were sent by email in December and available here: Student Guidelines.
Jan. 19 Deadline for students to contact sponsors to arrange shadow dates.
Mid Dec.  – May 29 Job shadows take place, arranged by the student and sponsor on a mutually agreed-upon date, time, and place.

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

About the program

+Why should I participate in a Job Shadow?
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.

+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).

+How long is a job shadow?

Sponsors have offered to connect with students for between two hours and two days, depending on virtual or in-person format, availability, and appropriateness given the specific situation. We expect that job shadows will be completed between December and May.

+Will I get paid for doing a job shadow?

No, job shadows are unpaid experiences. Nor is there academic credit associated with the job shadow program.

+Will the sponsor offer me a job?

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.

Applying to the program


+Where do I find a list of  employers offering job shadows and how do I apply?

Job shadow sponsor information and job shadow descriptions are accessible through Handshake. Also, you can view the list of shadow offerings for the 2023-24 program! 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.

+What is the best way to prepare my resume?

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.

+What is a statement of interest?

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.

+Can I apply to more than one job shadow?

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.

+What happens after I apply?

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 in an introductory email to your and your sponsor. It is up to you and your sponsor to set up a date and make a plan for your job shadow. Read more here about how to prepare, plan, and make the most of your shadow experience.  

+What happens if I am not matched?

If you are not matched, there are still many opportunities for you to connect with Bates alumni, parents, and local employers. Contact the Bates Center for Purposeful Work to connect with alumni who want to share their career knowledge and expertise.

Potential costs

+Will financial support be provided?

Financial Support for Transportation Expenses: Students who are matched with an in-person job shadow, who also receive financial aid from Bates Student Financial Services will have access to funds for transportation to their job shadow site. Due to limited funding, we will only support transportation to one in-person shadow, however the student’s top choice will be prioritized. Amount of support will be based on students’ level of financial aid and location of shadow. No application is required. Details including transportation planning, support amount, and how to receive the transportation grant will be shared through individual email messages to the eligible students from the Job Shadow team after the matches are made.

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