Finding Your Own Observation Experiences
Students are encourage to research and secure their own professional observation experiences. Many FSC students will participate in professional observation experiences during school breaks or over the summer. Generally, the process of researching facilities, outreaching to individuals, and securing an opportunity takes multiple weeks. Therefore, it is recommended that students begin the steps below well in advance of their intended start date.
1. Tap Into Your Network!
Do you (or your parents or friends) know of any facilities or professionals you can contact? If so, reach out to these individuals to see if they have any interest in hosting an observer! If you need help with what to say, see item #3 below.
2. Begin Researching Facilities & Professionals
If you were unsuccessful securing an opportunity within your personal network, you will want to begin outreaching to other professionals. First, you will want to develop a system to track the places you plan to outreach to, as well as the responses you receive. One such template available for students to use is here: Professional Observation Outreach Tracking Sheet. Remember that Google is your friend! Don't be afraid to do a web search for facilities providers based on location, specialization, etc. Once you find a facility or individual that looks interesting, add them to your tracking sheet! Be sure to add multiple individuals/locations.
3. Write a Script or Email Template
This is what you will say or email to the individuals you wish to shadow. You will want to include the following: who you are (student, school, major), why you are calling/ what you want from them (i.e. the ability to shadow), when you are available, and how they can reach you. For emails: you may also want to include your top accomplishments, a list of relevant courses, a link to your LinkedIn, and/or attach your resume. Sample Script for Phone Calls Sample Email
4. Start to Call and/or Email
Be prepared to reach out to MANY locations- I recommend contacting 10 places at a time (unless you get a firm "yes" from a location/individual, in which case it is not necessary to continue outreaching to other locations.) Most will take down your information and say they will get back to you. If you do not hear from the first 10 places after 1 week, you may wish to follow up with the original locations and call an additional 10 locations. Don’t get discouraged, this process may take time!