Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your work shadowing experience:
Tips for a Successful Job Shadowing Experience
You can also find some tips on how to be a good work shadow host and ensure you are also benefiting from the experience:
How to Be an Amazing Job-Shadow Host

Internal Work shadowing is an excellent opportunity to develop your existing skills, learn better practice, share ideas, discover how you can progress in your career and connect with the wider Imperial community. Work shadowing is beneficial to both host and ‘shadower’. We encourage people to initiate their own internal work shadowing. However, we have listed some tips and advice on how to find a good match for you.

  • Firstly, ask yourself why you want to job shadow – do you want to meet with your equivalent in another area to share good practice? Are you looking for a new career path, or are you preparing for a potential promotion? This will focus your search.
  • We would recommend you begin the process by having a conversation with your line manager. You’ll need their support if you’re going to spend time away from your role, and they might have some good ideas of who and what would be useful to shadow.
  • There are several ways to find a match:
    • If the area is more important to you than the role itself, use the Imperial webpages to browse by Department or Faculty to find a contact person.
    • If you want to shadow a specific role or duties, then use the search function on the Imperial webpages and use keywords to see which staff members come up. If the exact role you want does not come back in the results, you can find someone in your area of interest and ask them if they can point you in the right direction.
    • Networking – word of mouth and meeting people is always a great way to find a match. By attending courses run at Imperial, networking sessions and socials, you are bound to meet new and interesting people who will open many avenues for you to explore.
  • Once you have found your match, send them a polite email introducing yourself with your objectives. If you do not hear back, consider following up with a phone call and if you’re not successful, consider contacting someone else.
  • Be flexible and realistic! Remember that different departments across the College will have varying workloads and busy periods. Do not approach this experience with rigid dates and time frames.

Case Study

My substantive role at the College is as a Senior Supervisor within Residential Services. My own experience shadowing began in August, September and October 2016 when I took 3-4 days each month to shadow the Building Management teams within the Estates Facilities Department. I arranged the shadowing myself and coordinated this directly with the department and my line manager, who was very supportive.

I already had an interest in Building Management, and shadowing was a great way to learn more. Shadowing allowed me to observe a typical ‘day in the life’ of a Building Manager, a snapshot of what the role entailed and the types of challenges and rewards the role offered. It helped me to understand some of the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role successfully.

I can say shadowing was a positive experience for me and very useful. I am currently seconded as an Assistant Building Manager and enjoy the role very much. I would recommend shadowing to anyone interested in a different role and wants to learn more.
Tim Flint,  Acting Assistant Building Manager, Estates Division