Job Shadow Program: Information for Sponsors

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 virtual job shadows at a time that is convenient for both the sponsor and the student. In the shadow, students spend time observing and talking with the sponsors to gain insight into professional pathways.

In the new virtual version of the job shadow program, we ask that sponsors design their own job shadow agenda, offering the student anywhere between two hours and two days, depending on availability and situation. As a job shadow sponsor, you might:

  • Meet via video conference for one to two hours, 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 tour of your work through screen sharing of websites, documents, and other resources
  • Include the student(s) in your meetings, appointments, and events for the day
  • Arrange video 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 way

Our Virtual Job Shadow Sponsor Guidelines will help you prepare for and plan your job shadow.

Sponsor Registration Has Closed for 2020/21

2020-21 Sponsor Job Shadow Timeline

September: Sponsors register online until September 23, 2020 (Midnight)
October: Students submit applications
November: Review of 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

[showhide-control for=”area1″ text=”Why should I sponsor 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 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. [/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; sitting in on virtual meetings; or assisting with tasks and actual projects (e.g., conduct research, write reports).[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area3″ text=”What should I expect from my student?”] [showhide-area name=”area3″]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 virtual activities that give them insight into a field.[/showhide-area]

About the application process

[showhide-control for=”area4″ text=”What can I expect a student’s substantive knowledge of my field to be?”] [showhide-area name=”area4″]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.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area5″ text=”If I volunteer, am I guaranteed a student?”] [showhide-area name=”area5″]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.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area6″ text=”How does the selection process work?”] [showhide-area name=”area6″]

  • 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, we will review applications and match students. 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 virtual job shadow.[/showhide-area]

About the actual shadow day

[showhide-control for=”area7″ text=”What are the job shadow dates?”] [showhide-area name=”area7″]The sponsor and student will pick a mutually convenient date between November and May.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area8″ text=”Am I expected to reimburse the student in any way?”] [showhide-area name=”area8″]The job shadow is an unpaid experiential learning opportunity. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area9″ text=”What if I want to provide housing for the student?”] [showhide-area name=”area9″]Hosting students overnight is not necessary this year. All job shadows in 2020-21 will be conducted virtually. [/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area10″ text=”How long is a job shadow?”] [showhide-area name=”area10″]In 2020-21, all job shadows are virtual. A sponsor may design their own agenda which could last between two hours to two days, depending on availability and appropriateness.[/showhide-area]

[showhide-control for=”area11″ text=”Must I consider the student to be a potential employee?”][showhide-area name=”area11″]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.[/showhide-area]

 Contact us at or 207-786-6232.