Cornell University

DIY Connections


So you want to find your own job shadowing experience - great news! You are absolutely able to organize an externship on your own, in a location that is easy for you to get to, with a Cornell alumnum or someone not connected to Cornell at all. Here are some suggestions on how to get started.

Identifying Organizations to Shadow

Have you already identified organizations you're interested in shadowing? Great! If you haven't, tap on your network to begin creating your own job shadowing experience. Use Linkedin's alumni tool to identify alumni that may be in the area you are interested in doing your job shadow. Additionally, browse the internet for companies that do what you are looking for. Record the names and contact information for Human Resources representatives at that company as well as for the person you would like to shadow (and their administrative assistance team, if applicable).

Reaching Out

When reaching out, be clear about your "ask." Be prepared with a short explanation of what "job shadow" means to you. Be curteous. Don't approach your contact as though you are entitled to a job shadowing experience. Be flexible. You might have a certain expectation for what this experience will look like, but stay open minded if this particular organization has never done something like this before. Be patient. Some employers may move slowly when setting up something new.

Setting Up Logistics

When you initially set up your job shadowing experience, be honest with your contact about what you hope to learn from the experience. Ask questions and provide suggestions for what would make the experience most meaningful to you. For example, are you hoping to see a client interaction? Ask if this would be possible! Do you want to meet other Cornellians that work for the same organization? Ask if your contact can put together a lunch-time meet and greet.