What is Job Shadowing


In our pursuit to ensuring our personal development and career growth, acquiring knowledge does not come in a vacuum, the state of expertise in a particular discipline or career does not just fall on an individual. The position of being called a specialist or professional does not come to existence with a magical wave of the wand. It’s a process of intentional efforts and commitment on learning from the best of hands in the discipline which you have laid your heart to doing.

No man, not one is an island of knowledge, hence we must commit ourselves to learning from others, within our leagues, outside our purview; above it below us.

In our career development and pursuit, there is one basic truth and it’s the need for us to understand and embrace the path of learning.

This brings us to the concept of Job Shadowing, a situation which can be briefly explained as giving oneself to learning a particular or specific role from someone with more knowledge and experience than we posses in an organization or firm.

This article is aimed at giving an expository understanding of what Job Shadowing is and other salient issues regarding it and how career enthusiasts and the youths in general can embrace this art, leveraging on it cores to advance themselves and set themselves on the path of an impressive and brilliant career path and journey.

In this article, we shall consider the following

  • What is Job Shadowing?
  • Types of Job Shadow
  • Benefits of Job Shadowing
  • Job Shadowing Tips for Employees
  • Job Shadowing Opportunities in Nigeria
  1. What is Job Shadowing?

Job Shadowing is a special although common kind of learning on the job training format whereby an employee is placed in a position to learn from a more experienced colleague or co-worker in an organization.

This is achieved when he intently follows and observes them and he or she learns both practically and theoretically. It’s considered as a very effective way of learning.

For those looking for experience, this process presents them with the viable opportunity gathering the much needed expertise and experience needed for a job, getting them in shape to take future roles and positions.

The 21st century job outlook has seen firms and companies across climes adopt this process for their employees, recruiting firms now enjoins  job seekers to engage this act as a means to build and develop their Curriculum Vitae as they search for jobs.

In Nigeria, the high rate of unemployment necessitate the fact that Job seeker in Nigeria must do everything possible within legal and moral means to put themselves in a good position to get jobs in Nigeria

Job Shadowing is fast gaining a new perspective in Nigeria as it to a very great extent facilitate the process of building good communication gap and relationship across departments, faculties and industries. It has also become an excellent tool for networking which in the long run help to break down and reduce barriers in firms and Organizations. It has also served as a good and effective platform for the host to share their knowledge, and put those under them on a practical form of learning which helps their self development and growth. And more similarly it encourages a great sense of belonging among co-workers, staffs and every other chain within the work force to mutually and peacefully co-exist as a unit.

  1. Types of Job Shadowing

  • Observation

This is a type of Job Shadowing in which the Employee or the individual involved allocate time to intently watch and observe the host. (kindly note, the term host is used in this article to imply the experienced Personnel or Employee who the Employee or the individual is to learn from)

This type of Job Shadowing is effectively good and engaging for students, recent graduates and career changers who are hoping and working towards gaining a better and improved understanding of a certain and specific role.

  • Regular briefings

This is a more organized and defined process which clearly specifies the time or period of shadowing the host. In the situation, you get a brief details or instruction on what time or day and also duration in which the shadowing is to take place

  • Hands-on

This is an advancement of the observation method where you begin to carry out some task as learnt from your host. This implies that under this type you are put to test as the host gradually makes you to carry out some basic task which is assigned to you based on what your host has been teaching you.

  1. Benefits of Job Shadowing


  • Job Shadowing helps Students rule out career

Many students, job seekers in Nigeria do not understand what to do when it comes to career building or just choosing a career path for themselves. However this can be resolved without hassles through the process of job shadowing. Through this process they get to have a near office or field experience of how the jobs they have planned on doing works. This way they get to understand the PROS and the CONS that comes with these jobs which in the long run helps them to decide if it’s one which they are comfortable doing and is one that they are willing and ready to embrace or adopt.


  • Job Shadowing demonstrates the use of applied Skills


More than just the luxury that comes with learning theoretically, Job Shadowing facilitates the process of practical demonstration of learned and acquired skills.

The Nigerian Labor sector has great challenge with many of the nation’s graduates across the various levels of Tertiary Institutions as many of these graduates are often called, “half baked”

This is because many of them in the process of learning in school do not have the much needed facilities or motivation to subject their students to practical demonstration. Something Job Shadowing offers.


  • Job Shadowing teaches Professionalism

For students and job seekers who are searching for jobs, spending time in the workspace of office goes a long way in helping them imbibe the cores and values that will help them maintain and manage their jobs in the future.

In the process of learning, they get to acquire values such as how to dress professionally, punctuality, inter personal relationship, team work and other values which will be beneficial to them later in the future.


  • Job Shadowing emphasizes the realness of certain roles

Unlike the classroom teach experience which does not offer real time learning experience, Job Shadowing offers to individuals a real feeling and involvement of the stated roles. It’s a phenomenological approach to learning new roles and positions.



  • Job Shadowing helps to Network Develop your Coaching and Mentoring Skills

This is for the host that is the individual who is regarded as the experts responsible for impacting knowledge. Through the process of putting others through, teaching them and guiding them, they also get to harness and nurture their personal skills as a coach and a mentor.


  • Job Shadowing helps to learn from experienced Personnel

Learning from experienced personnel offers immeasurable benefits to individuals as they are put in a position where they get first hand information on the roles or responsibilities they are focused on learning.

Through this process you get to learn from them, ask questions; all which will definitely go on to help you thrive and grow in your chosen career path.

  1. Job Shadowing Tips for Employees

  • Prepare to ask lots of questions

It is important that you not only pay rapt attention to your host in the process of job shadowing: do well to ensure that you ask questions over issues or subjects which are not clear to you.


  • Dress Professionally

When you dress well, you make or create a good impression and image for yourself.

Thus in the light of this, do well to endeavor that you dress professionally.


  • Bring a notepad

The first tip says that you should ask questions, how do you get to ask questions without missing out on key details when you do not have a writing material.

No matter always ensure that you carry along with you a note pad and a pen to jot down salient and important issues.

  • Choose a convenient time

It’s important that you pick a time convenient for both individuals. This way you get to work in a good state of mind which also goes a long way in eliminating distractions.

  1. Job Shadowing Opportunities in Nigeria
  • Talk to your counselors, advisors and teachers

Talking to your counselors, advisor and teachers will definitely help you in this regards. Definitely they know more than you do in certain areas and their guidance will definitely be of great help in helping you to identify a good job shadowing platform

  • Reach out to workplace directly

Reach out to the already identified workspace or offices which you have in mind. When this is done it puts you in a better position to getting it. Remember to submit your documents like statement of intent, recommendation letter, curriculum vitae etc. in the process of reaching out.


  • Talk to people working in the field

Another viable way through which you can get a good job shadowing platform is by talking to people who are already working in the field. When this is done, it enables you to get the much needed information that will guide you to your dreams.

  • Check online platforms

Online platforms in Nigeria offer a great opportunity for people to identify firms or organizations where they can apply in this regards. There are already tailored online platform which offers this services for free. Prominent among them is Delon Jobs.

By Marcus Amudipe

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