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Top 5 tips for job shadowing

Hi friends,

It's Meghan, here. to talk job shadows (check out our free downloadable on the topic). My first job shadowing experience came from a cold email (well, actually a cold Facebook message). I was a freshman in college and though I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I knew that I was interested in sports media and television. So I reached out to one of the main anchors at our local ABC affiliate, Matt O’Donnell (no relation). Not only did we share a last name, he was also a fellow Blue Hen, so I sent a message to his public profile on Facebook asking if I could set up an informational interview to learn more about his career path and role. He did me one better, sharing his email and then inviting me to come in to watch a show in person.

When the day came, I got to there at 4:30 am to watch the morning news. Looking back, it’s funny to think how absolutely starstruck I was, just completely in awe of being in an actual TV station for the first time in my life. I was so pumped to get my own photo ID at the security desk (a process that literally everyone who comes in the building has to go through, nothing exciting) and could not believe my luck when a production assistant offered to take me on a tour of the newsroom. It was there that I learned that most anchors don’t write their own lead-ins and copy. In fact, I learned so much more about the behind-the-scenes roles and responsibilities that come with being part of the production team.

After the tour, Matt took me back to the studio. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but I remember my first thought was, “Whoa, this is wayyyy smaller than I expected”, followed quickly by, “This is so awesome, I need to work in TV”, lol. During the live broadcast, I stood behind the camera, watching the director and anchors throw to one another. In commercials, I had the chance to meet the Sports Director and Chief Meteorologist. I left with a notebook full of observations, answers to my burning questions, and ideas for what I wanted my future to look like.

I was so blown away by the experience that I sought out several more job shadow opportunities. In my senior year, I had the chance to assist an ESPN researcher, one of my colleagues from my internship and later my full-time role, during a Monday Night Football broadcast for a Cowboys-Commanders (then Redskins) game. Still, that first shadow opened my eyes to the fast-paced world of live TV and when I began working shows like SportsCenter while at ESPN, I already had a level of comfort in that environment. The exposure and experience helped shape my path, shifting my focus from a potential on-camera role to sports research, which allowed me to write copy and produce graphics for live television.

In summary, job shadows are an awesome tool. 10/10 would recommend. They can help you learn more about your areas of interest and just as importantly, they can teach you about things you don’t want to do. Don’t get us wrong. Informational interviews and research are great, but there’s nothing like getting out there and actually experiencing a day in the life of a particular role. That’s why it was so important for us to incorporate job shadowing opportunities into our empowHERed offerings. We want to be able to provide the hands-on experience that can help you get clarity on what you want to do and allow you to connect with the people who can help you get there. Thanks to our incredible partners across sports, we’re able to offer exclusive and unique shadows that hopefully help you narrow down and define your career goals. Check them out in our Career Pipeline, take advantage of the opportunity, and enjoy our free downloadable, 5 Tips for Job Shadows.

DOWNLOADABLE_5 Tips for Job Shadows
Download PDF • 400KB

Last but not least, remember, you’re awesome and you belong here.

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