Carnegie Mellon University

Take a Tartan to Work - Job Shadowing


Job shadowing can be an invaluable opportunity to connect and network with alumni and other professionals in numerous career industries. The information gained can be used in choosing a major, clarifying career goals, assessing your fit in a work environment, or for preparing for a summer or professional job search. 

Take a Tartan to Work (TATTW) provides opportunities for undergraduate students to explore career fields by visiting alumni and other professionals (aka: Hosts) at their business or organization for a day over Winter and Spring breaks. Depending on the industry and Host, you might meet with your Host's colleagues, assist with a project, shadow meetings, observe different functions and processes, etc. Hosts from all over the U.S. are available, so if you are going home for Winter or Spring Break, check to see if there is a host near you!

Job shadowing is an experience that contributes to career development and discovery. By participating, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Assess your "fit" with a particular position, industry, or company culture.
  • Learn what skills and qualifications are required for a specific position.
  • Learn facts about a company that could be useful in future interviews.
  • Network with professionals and gain important contacts for the future.
  • Receive invaluable academic and/or career advice from an alum.
New Students
  1. Create a Xinspire profile. This is the web platform used to match students with alumni and other professionals. Follow the steps outlined in Xinspire to complete your profile.
  2. Attend 1 of 4 Job Shadowing Information Sessions for an orientation of the program and for profile approval. Click the link to register on Handshake.

    Alternatively, Schedule a Job Shadow Orientation Meeting on Handshake with a member of the Experiential Learning Team, Douglas Stouch or Pati Kravetz. Your profile will be approved after completion. 
  3. Log in to your Xinspire profile. You will now have access to the list of participating alumni-hosts, and may submit applications to shadow with up to 3 hosts (matching is not guaranteed).

Returning Students

 1. Log in to your Xinspire profile, and register for the Spring 2020 Take a Tartan to Work Session. Check to make sure you profile is updated and to answer any new questions before submitting.


Search: You can search through a list of available Hosts by filtering based on host characteristics such as industry, company, position, degree, campus orgs, and more!

Apply: Applications to shadow with Hosts require an updated resume and a statement of interest. You can submit applications to shadow with a maximum of 3 Hosts and must rank them by order of preference.

Review: Hosts review and rank all applications submitted to them. Each Host has indicated a specific "cap" or number of students they are willing to host which will be indicated on their profile.

Match: You will be placed with a Host by a mutual-preference matching algorithm that aims to match the highest number of students with the highest number of Hosts. While the Experiential Learning team will do their best to match every student, placement is not guaranteed.

Connect: Finally, you will receive notification of your match and must reach out to the Host through Xinspire to introduce yourself and establish a meeting time. You are encouraged to ask for your Host's preferred email as an alternative communication channel.

Click here to view the Job Shadowing Student Orientation PowerPoint Presentation

In short, before meeting your Host in person, take the following steps to ensure a productive and positive experience:

  • Research the company and your Host you will be shadowing with
  • Prepare and practice questions to ask your Host during the shadow
  • Make sure to have a notebook and writing utensil with you
  • Ask your Host about appropriate attire and prepare an outfit beforehand
  • Discuss relevant travel plans with your Host and establish an alternative line of communication
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes early