Mentoring and Shadowing Network
The UK Mentoring & Shadowing Network provides an opportunity for UK students and alumni to obtain career guidance from professionals in a variety of industries. The James W. Stuckert Career Center, the UK Alumni Association, and UK colleges have joined together to create a database of UK alumni, employers, and friends who have volunteered to mentor or provide shadowing experiences for students.
The UK Mentoring & Shadowing Network is a great resource for students and alumni looking for information about a specific career field or employer, an opportunity to experience a career firsthand, and a way to expand their network of professionals in their chosen career field.
What Is Shadowing?
Shadowing is one way to learn more about a particular career. Shadowing is typically a half-day or one-day observational experience that offers a glimpse into a typical workday in a specific career field. You simply follow the professional for this time. Shadowing will help you define career interests, see what a certain job will be like, ask questions of the professional you are shadowing, and gain a better understanding of a particular work setting or business. You'll be surprised to find that though someone's job title may be the same, what they do on a day-to-day basis can be drastically different depending on the company for which they work. Professionals with a variety of majors often do the same job so be sure to ask a person's major when you shadow them.
No credit is received and no fee is charged for shadowing. It may be done as often as desired and at any time during the year. The career center encourages UK students of all majors and class levels and UK alumni to participate. Remember that most professionals are very busy and are volunteering their time to allow you to shadow them. Dress professionally and be respectful of the professional's time. Be sure to show your appreciation with a thank you card after the experience.
Ways to Connect
The UK Mentoring & Shadowing Network provides the opportunity for you to connect with professionals 3 different ways:
- Informational Interviews — A conversation (in person, over the phone, or via email) with a professional that allows you to gain in-depth information about a specific career field or company.
- Shadowing — Spending a set period of time (usually between a half day and a full day) with a professional at their place of business observing the work that they do.
- Mentoring — An ongoing (short-term or long-term) relationship with a professional for the purpose of career development and job search assistance.
Mentoring is not a job placement service. The role of professionals who participate in the UK Mentoring & Shadowing Network is advisory, and they are not expected to be able to offer employment opportunities.
Step by Step Instructions to Find a Mentor
The UK Mentoring & Shadowing Network is available through Wildcat CareerLink. Log on to your Wildcat CareerLink account. Select the "UK Alumni Career Network" tab at the top. You will see a list of current mentors. You can search this list by employer or keyword. To perform a detailed search, select the dark gray "Detailed Search" tab. To view a mentor's profile, click on their last name. You will see information on their career and education, as well as contact information. Take special note of the type of involvement they are interested in. They may be interested in mentoring, shadowing, or informational interviews. Please honor the mentor's preferences! Once you've reviewed the mentor's profile and decided that you would like to contact them, select the "Interested" button at the bottom of their profile. Then you can use whatever contact information the mentor has provided on their profile to make the first contact. For assistance with making the first step, see the information on Mentoring.
Tips to Make the Experience a Success
Please keep in mind...
Mentoring is a learning experience, rather than the chance to ask for a job.
Mentors participate in this program on a completely volunteer basis.
It is up to you to make the initial contact and to follow-up with your mentor.
Do you homework. Read about your mentor's career field and company. Develop questions that you would like to ask.
Don't forget to thank your mentor!