Rosie Saxon: How to Make the Most Out of a Work Shadowing Visit

This guest blog post is from second year creative writing student, Rosie Saxon.

Work shadowing at university can seem a bit of a waste of time when you have the opportunity to do much longer placements, like the work based learning module in your second year. However, having done two shadowing visits in the last year, which have since lead me to a longer self-arranged work experience placement, I’d like to share with you how you can make the most out of the work shadowing service, and why I think it’s well worth your while.

Firstly, you get out of a visit what you put in. This means that you should go into it with an idea of what you want from it. My first visit was a phone interview with Cheshire life, which was useful as a Creative Writing student, even if it’s not the kind of writing I necessarily want to go into. However, the fact that this was only an hour-long conversation with the Chief Editor meant that I could get a taste for the field of work more generally and begin to form ideas of what I would like to do. I see work shadowing as an opportunity to go and have a look around somewhere and ask questions without too much commitment to it.

My second placement was at the Liverpool Echo, a huge local newspaper both in print and online. As soon as I walked in, seeing the size and atmosphere of the news room and knowing previously the style of journalism it produces, I was instantly aware that I wanted to know more and be as involved as possible. I made my way through all the staff around me, asking what their average day at work looked like, how they came to work there and all sorts of details about the specific type of writing. One young woman told me that she’d done the same degree as me, then did a conversion to journalism short-course at college and then managed to get a job at a different paper. After a year or so there was an advert for the Echo and she had previously done a week’s work experience there, so she applied.

My supervisor for the day mentioned that I could ask the coordinator of my visit to arrange a longer placement of a week, and then come back and perhaps have time to research, write and edit some pieces which would be published by the paper. The opportunity to have my name printed filled me with confidence, especially hearing of how some of the staff were able to get jobs from similar placements, so I asked about one and was offered a week over the summer.

Are you a University of Chester student? Do you have careers advice or experiences you would like to share? Email us at careers@chester.ac.uk 

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