Job Shadow Program: Information for Sponsors

In light of our community’s current tragedy, we encourage students to pause and focus on what matters most.
The Job Shadow application deadline has been extended to November 29, 2023 at 11:59pm.

We will contact our job shadow sponsors with updates about the program changes soon.

The Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program provides students the opportunity to learn firsthand what it is like to work as a professional in a field that they may be interested in pursuing. Bates alumni, parents, and friends of Bates are invited to host job shadows at a time that is convenient for both the sponsor and the student. A job shadow is a flexible, informal opportunity for a student to spend time learning from a person working in a field that’s of  interest to them. During the shadow, students spend time observing and talking with the sponsors to gain insight into professional environments and pathways.

This year, the Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program will offer both virtual and in-person shadows. 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.

Sponsor Registration is Now Closed for the 2023/24 Job Shadow Program

Great job shadow hosts take a wide variety of forms. We are looking for diverse opportunities in many industries, and hosts who fulfill at least one of the following criteria: 

  • You enjoy your work and find it meaningful (dare we say “purposeful”)
  • You have helpful advice you can share  with students interested in your field
  • There are demonstrable connections between your career and a liberal arts education
  • You can plan 3-4 activities with a student to introduce them to your work
  • Your profession is unique, growing, or changing
  • Your profession is portrayed in the media differently than in reality
  • Your colleagues are Bates alumni – or have connections to Bates – and would support hosting the student(s)
  • Your organization welcomes job shadows (check with HR, if you’re not sure!)
  • Your work happens in a place that is easy to visit (for in-person shadows) or you can dedicate several hours to one or two zoom meetings (for virtual shadows)
  • Your organization does not require security clearance or other complicated measures for access

Register HERE for 2023/24 Job Shadow Program

As a job shadow sponsor hosting a student, you might:

  • Meet one-on-one, via video or in-person, discussing your work and professional pathway
  • Set aside additional time to share information about your identity, how it connects to your personal and professional choices, and talk with the student about their identity
  • Offer a virtual or in-person tour of your work facilities, responsibilities, and resources
  • Include the student(s) in your meetings, appointments, and events for the day
  • Arrange video or in-person meetings between your colleagues and the Bates student(s)
  • Assign a reading, design a project, or include the student in your work in some other creative way
  • Our Sponsor Guidelines provide detailed advice on all aspects of our program as they relate to the sponsor’s shadowing experience.

2023-24 Sponsor Job Shadow Timeline

September:Sponsors register online until September 24, 2023 (midnight)
October:Students submit applications

***NEW DEADLINE: November 29, 2023***
Nov/Dec:Purposeful Work staff review applications
Mid December:Sponsors and students are notified of matches
December – 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 make career decisions, and 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 in your organization 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 examples of projects (e.g., conduct research, write reports).
+What should I expect from my student?
The sponsor should expect the student to be ready to learn, observe, and ask 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. 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, and to students from all majors. 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. However, if you are not matched with a student, there are still many valuable ways for you to offer career assistance such as providing internship and job opportunities or conversing with students about your occupation or career field. For more information, please contact the Bates Center for Purposeful Work at or
+How does the selection process work?
  • After you register online, information about your job shadow will be available for students to view and apply during the month of 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, we will review applications and match students with sponsors. In mid-November, you will be notified about your student matches via email.
  • Students are responsible for contacting their sponsors in December to schedule a mutually convenient time for their job shadow.

About the actual shadow day

+What are the job shadow dates?
The sponsor and student will pick a mutually convenient date between December and May.
+Am I expected to reimburse the student in any way?
The job shadow is an unpaid experiential learning opportunity.
+What if I want to provide housing for the student?
Hosting students overnight during in-person shadows is not required, but is certainly appreciated. You will have the opportunity to make housing decisions during the job shadow registration process.
+How long is a job shadow?
A sponsor may design their own agenda, which could last between two hours to two days. The length of the shadow may depend on availability, appropriateness, and virtual vs. in-person shadow formats.
+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.