Thursday, October 21, 2010 myBiz Blog
Sophomores: Get the inside scoop on the Sophomore Job Shadow Program by Belle Lin

As a sophomore, it’s difficult to be in that in-between stage- we’re just getting acquainted with business classes and trying to get a handle on what it means to have professional experience. Between Accounting 100 homework and learning about internship opportunities, it’s hard to know what’s really out there and even harder to gain exposure to the real-world.

Luckily, the BCC offers great programs for newly admitted sophomore BBA students! The Sophomore Job Shadow Program, offered during winter break, is a great opportunity to not only figure out what you may be interested in pursuing, but also how to network and get an up-close look at top companies that recruit on campus. To apply, submit your resume to BuckyNet- remember the deadline is November 2nd!

I talked with junior Carly Miller about her Job Shadow experience last year with CUNA Mutual and Shopko. Here’s what she had to say about the program, along with some great tips and advice:

Belle: In a nutshell, what exactly is the Sophomore Job Shadow Program?

Carly: The program lets you shadow a business professional during a normal day on the job. After you submit your resume on BuckyNet to up to 15 positions, the employers rank the applications they receive and students are matched with one company. After the matching process is over, you will hear back by late November which company you’ll be shadowing. The shadow will occur during one day over winter break. You’ll have to provide your own transportation and lodging.

Belle: That’s great to know! Tell me a little bit about your Shopko job shadow.

Carly: At Shopko, we had an assigned Human Resources person show us around. I was shadowing the Operations Department. We started with a tour of company headquarters in Green Bay and heard a company overview. I literally shadowed people all day- I met with the head of the operations department and talked with him for an hour about what he did. I also spent time one on one with multiple people in the operations department.

In the middle of the day, all the shadows got back together and had lunch with top executives like the CFO- it was really cool that she talked about her career path. I personally got to interact with some pretty high up people and ask them questions about their different experiences. It was also great that I got to talk to a new hire- they had different experiences than the older executives.

Belle: Sounds like you had a great time! I know you also did a shadow with CUNA Mutual because they offered a group shadow- what was that like?

Carly: Since it was in a group setting, CUNA Mutual brought people in to see us as a group. There was a speaker and time for questions after.  At lunch, we sat by people from different departments according to our major. Like Shopko, we had lunch with some top level people and I also got the chance to talk to a new hire.

Belle: Can you give us any tips or tell us anything you wish you’d known last year?

Carly: Definitely have a huge list of questions prepared before you go- everyone is willing to answer them. Have an idea of what you’re interested in and research your major. When I was at ShopKo, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in a corporate setting or retail store and they gave me further insight to help with my decision.

Try and research the company. They’ll tell you about it, but understand the different divisions you know you’ll be seeing. Also bring business cards with you! Try and exchange business cards with senior level people. I wrote down what I talked about with each person on the backside of their business card.

Finally, get your resume checked by the BCC since it’s what employers use to rank you. When you’re done with the program, have a clear schedule of who and when you’ll do a follow-up with. When you’re applying to shadows, apply for as many as you’re interested in, even smaller companies! It increases the chance you’ll be matched up with one.

Belle: Those are great tips! To finish, what do you think you learned from your shadow experience?

Carly: It was one of my first experiences trying to network one-on-one, and it gave me direction for my career search. It helped me figure out what I’m interested in doing. We interview here in the BCC, but you don’t actually get to see what it’s like there- it was cool to see the physical working environment. Seeing how people work at their desks tells you a lot!

For more information, visit: http://ww.bus.wisc.edu/career/student/exploring/jobshadow/default.asp