Technical programs exist, in part, to help prepare students for work in high-technology fields. Coaching students in how to apply for and obtain these jobs deserves a place in the technical curriculum. Key strategies for obtaining a job are targeting the right kind of opportunity, developing a résumé, and honing interview skills.
Until students have experience in industry, many are unaware of what jobs are out there and which are best suited to their skills, knowledge, and personality. Job-shadowing is a low-commitment, low-risk way to find out more about different jobs available in technology fields. While shadowing, a student visits a work site and spends a day or more observing an individual employee as she goes about her daily business.
The most successful job shadows are those in which students are allowed to play an active role, participating in meetings, collecting and manipulating data, or helping to write reports. Although the actual job shadow is conducted off campus, instructors play a large role in setting them up and helping students process the experience by structuring reflective activities afterwards.