Internships & Job Shadowing: What You Need to Know

Posted on February 28, 2020

A student’s success relies heavily on the support and resources offered by educators, counselors and the like. Students can never be too equipped for the real world of work, and luckily there are plenty of opportunities outside the classroom for those who are interested. Whether someone is looking for a career in the trades, as an artist or businessperson, there’s power in internships and job shadowing.

Here’s why job shadowing and internships are huge career-building opportunities.

Job Shadowing

Everyone has a dream job. Maybe your students still want the same dream job they had as a young child. It’s easy to romanticize what life would be like in a “dream job” and fortunately there’s a way to test-drive dream jobs. Through job shadowing, future professionals can get day-to-day understandings about specific professions without the need to rely on any previous work experience.

Generally speaking, job shadowing is different from mentorships, volunteer or internship programs. They are usually shorter in length and can offer students immediate impressions of careers, while giving opportunities for personal and professional development.

Here are some of the main reasons you should encourage students to try job shadowing.

Students can:

Observe the working environment and how tasks are completed.

Learn firsthand information from industry experts.

Connect with industry professionals through meaningful work and discussions.

Help students determine if their dream job is or isn’t right for them through job shadowing.


Internships are a little more difficult to achieve than a job shadowing opportunity but offer students value. Internships are in-depth apprenticeships, where interns work as a full-time employee of the company. Summer is the prime time for internships, and they usually take place for three months in between school years. This gives students the opportunity to continue to gain professional experience during their summer break.

Internships are great opportunities for students to take concepts and strategies they’ve learned in school and apply them to real-life situations. There are never enough resources to prepare students for the real world, and internships can be a great window into the professional workplace.

After your students are given the opportunity to strut their stuff, teach them the importance of networking. By making connections and friends with coworkers and superiors, students will further increase their chances at securing a full-time position at their place of internship. It’s a win-win for both employers and employees, and internships are the key. Help give the real-world training and education students need to take the next step toward success.

The Cold Hard Facts

The statistics behind job shadowing and internship programs are very convincing. It’s no surprise companies use internships to recruit for full-time positions. According to an experiential education survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE), 67.7% of interns were offered full-time positions when their program was finished. According to the same survey, interns who become full-time employees are approximately 30% more likely to be at a company after a year than other full-time employees. Good grades and a good degree are important, but internship programs are proven to be a great jumping-off point for a successful career.

Additional Advice

Too many times, young professionals get caught in the wrong career choice because they thought their job would be everything they ever dreamed of. In reality, it’s hard for someone to really understand the ins and outs of a job without experiencing it first. As much as 80% of college students will change their major at one point or another during their time in school. Help students get an idea of what they like and don’t like by promoting these programs. Here are some tips to share on how to secure one:

Know someone who could benefit from a job shadow or internship opportunity? Talk to them about their career aspirations and encourage them to check out Career Launch SD. Want to refer someone to the program? Visit Career Launch SD for more information and help students succeed.