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How do you job shadow someone?

I wanna know how to job shadow someone especially in the baking career, I can research all I want about the job but getting experience from a pro is better for me to know if the job is what I want.

I don’t really know how to job shadow anyone in the fields tho. #jobs #job-market #baker

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Janice’s Answer

Hi Taryn-

Job shadowing is a nice way to learn more about a career or position.
You do need permission to job shadow.
Have you called bakeries, restaurants or culinary schools to inquire about job shadowing? You may want to write a letter to the company to discuss your interest and intent to enter the baking world and want to get first hand advice from an expert. Be open to times and availabilities of the staff and the requirements of the company.
Another idea may be to obtain a position at a bakery or restaurant to learn new skills.
Developing a mentor relationship with someone in the field can support your interest and success.
Good luck!

Thank you comment icon Good answer Brad Stewart
Thank you comment icon Great info Janice! Taryn, I would poll your family and friends as to who they think the best bakery is in your area and then reach out to them for a job shadow. You may even be able to participate in the process and land a job there as well! Good luck!! Jennifer Zaleski
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Rebecca’s Answer

Hi Taryn,

Great question and shows just how motivated you are to excel. Are there any culinary schools in your area that you can ask for the opportunity to shadow? This would be in addition to the other answers given for your question. Start local as suggested, if there is a local bakery or maybe in a larger supermarket that you knows doesn't baking on the premises.

Good Luck!
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Desiree’s Answer

At the end of the day, you have to find a person/people. Whether its for shadowing, mentoring, coaching, whatever, you need to identify people who can help and you need to reach out to them. It can be daunting, ever for adults. You need to do it with confidence and humility. You don't yet have a network, which makes networking that much harder. So you until you find your way "in", you have to tap anyone/everyone who could help you. Janice has some great suggestions in her answer about ways you can do that. Here are some others: If you're dining out (when it's safe to do so with COVID precautions) ask if you can meet the chef, if the chef is too busy, ask if you can call/come by another time when s/he's less occupied. Consider volunteering (again, when it's safe re: COVID) at a soup kitchen or other culinary focused capacity and talk to the adult volunteers who may be in the field. And -- this will sound nuts -- but tell EVERYONE you're looking to shadow in the culinary/baking field. You aunt might have had a college roommate who's now a pastry chef, your neighbor might have an adult child who works in food service for an airline, your teacher might have a spouse who does catering. You never know who you are already connected to that could help you find your "in". Also, if you meet the age limits requirements under its terms of use, things like LinkedIn may help you do the same virtually.

Be realistic about your "ask". I wouldn't be laser focused on shadowing, I'd allow the possibility for ANY career support. I would suggest starting with things that are easy to get people to agree to: be clear and specific and don't ask for too much time, initially. An informal interview is a great way to start, "can we talk for 30 min about how you got started, what your career path was?" Then maybe step it up to, "I'd like to spend a couple of hours shadowing you at the bakery. Would you have a time before the end of the month?" When you put a time on things, as opposed to open-ended vague requests, busy professionals will be more willing to agree. (Also, shadowing/mentoring/coaching is a two-way street and approaching it in small bites not only makes it easier for the professional, but it allows you to be sure that you are comfortable and getting what you seek.)

Sometimes people will deny your request for help - they may be overworked already, in the midst of new projects, or don't feel that they can offer you what you seek. You need to be respectful and try not to be hurt (it's almost never personal, so don't take it hard!). And never burn a bridge, because even when someone is not in currently in a position to help you, you never know when your paths may cross again.

Lastly, because you're a student, please be mindful that your age/parental consent may be factors for the professionals, too. I know you feel mature - and if you are already thinking about your career you must be! However, local health codes may have strict rules about what minors can do in a commercial kitchen, professionals might want to make sure your parents are aware that you are spending time with adults, etc. Do not take offense at this, because it means that these professionals are acting responsibly. Do what you can to ease their concerns to enable the career advice you seek - even if that means getting your parent/guardian involved.

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

tell EVERYONE you're looking to shadow in the culinary/baking field ( start broadly with both and perhaps narrow it to baking as you get more leads)
volunteer (when it's safe under your local COVID restrictions) at a soup kitchen etc and talk to the adult volunteers in the culinary field.
be open to any aspect of career advice/counseling -- informal interviews, shadowing, coaching, mentoring
be clear and specific in any career request you make of a professional -- and don't ask for too much time, initially.
be prepared for the possibility that some people may decline to help -- take it graciously and not personally
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Jim’s Answer

Contact a local college with culinary or bakery courses to ask if you could visit some classes. They may also have contacts with businesses that would allow you to visit. From there, directly contacting businesses to ask about visiting and shadowing would be a good option. You may have to make several calls to find one willing to do it but it would be worth the effort and would give you a front row seat. Good luck!
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