Job Shadowing for PhD candidates & postdocs

Apply now! Deadline for application is 31 August 2023.


  • job shadowing positions to be taken up between 9 and 20 October 2023.
  • online compulsory preparatory training 3 October, 9 AM – 12 PM.
  • online compulsory structured debrief for all participants 24 October, 9 AM – 12PM.

WHAT do we mean by job shadowing?

By job shadowing we mean informal, experiential learning on the work floor, organised for the benefit of mature PhD candidates ( ≥ 3rd year of PhD trajectory) and postdocs engaging in career exploration. Through in-person, fly-on-the-wall observation, they collect during 1 or 2 days important information about a professional field of interest. The first-hand insights about the realities of working within a particular industry and position help PhD candidates and postdocs make informed career choices.

Job shadowing involves – amongst others:

  • observing, and networking with, experienced professionals
  • conducting informal interviews to obtain information and advice
  • sitting in on staff meetings and/or staff trainings
  • taking a tour of the company premises

For the PhD candidates and postdocs to make the most of that brief moment at a company/ institution we offer a compulsory online preparatory training on 3 October, 9 AM – 12 PM and a compulsory online structured debrief on 24 October, 9 AM – 12PM.

Job shadowing provides a deeper, behind-the-scenes understanding of the inner workings of a specific industry / profession.

WHY engage in job shadowing as a PhD or postdoc?  

PhD candidates and postdocs who engage in job shadowing gain insight into the work routine of a professional, his/her role(s) and responsibilities and the company culture. Job shadowing provides a better (and nuanced) understanding of the skills and competencies needed to succeed and thrive in a particular job. In short, it allows to ‘test-drive’ a career.

 Job shadowing gives PhD candidates and postdocs an opportunity to:

  • explore a career field and experience a typical day on the job – no strings attached
  • assess their “fit” with a particular position and/or organization
  • learn how to present and apply their expertise through discussions with professionals
  • broaden their professional network

HOW to apply as a PhD or postdoc?

More than 100 job shadowing opportunities offered by different companies and organisations are advertised on the PhD Talent Pool Flanders. Create or update your account and upload your CV, go to ‘events’, carefully check the  details of each position and apply. Bear in mind that you need to sign out of any other JobTeaser platform (job platforms by the universities) you have registered on in order to be able to sign in to the Pool.

For a quick access to an overview of job shadowing positions please consult the google form.

Applications are accepted over the summer – deadline for application is 31 August 2023.

Applying for a job shadowing position is similar to applying for a job. When a field of interest has been identified and all requirements are met, the host of the job shadowing opportunity needs to be convinced that the PhD candidate / postdoc applying is the best candidate.

All positions have to be taken up  between 9 and 20 October. While  some companies and organizations opt for a fixed day, others are open to discuss the timing  with the candidates (all indicated under the ‘event’/ job shadowing position).

You can apply for up for 2 – and no more than 2 (!) – job shadowing positions. Each job shadowing position has its own, separate application link. Make sure to submit all requested information, and give careful thought to the probing question about your motivation to apply for a particular job shadowing position.

A first selection (by 11 September) will be made by the programme coordinators on the basis of CV and motivation statement. Please note that your information will be shared with the company/ organisation you applied for. That company or organization will make the final decision as to whether or not you are withheld for Job Shadowing, and therefore may contact you to discuss  practical matters.

There is no guarantee of placement.

Eligibility requirements

Job shadowing is open to PhD candidates ( ≥ 3rd year in of PhD trajectory) and postdocs of either one of the Flemish universities (UGent, KU Leuven, UHasselt, UAntwerp, VUB). For some positions extra admissibility requirements such as bi-lingual skills, a working knowledge of design software, or specific lab techniques, etc. (all indicated under the ‘event’/ job shadowing position). If the requirements cannot be met, do not submit an application.

Before applying, PhD candidates and postdocs should make sure their schedule allows commitment to the amount of time required to take up job shadowing. They are moreover responsible for arranging their own transportation to the company or organization offering the job shadowing opportunity, and covering any expenses made. Job shadowing is unpaid.

Also, be aware that taking up a job shadowing opportunity requires the (signed) approval of your supervisor/ PI/ academic host.

Some companies/organisations may ask you to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in order to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information.

In case of questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the organizing team:

Good luck!


For companies of all sizes, institutions of all sectors, employers looking for talent

WHY engage in job shadowing as an employer?  

Job shadowing gives employers an opportunity to

  • connect with high potentials and strengthen your talent pipeline
  • promote your employer brand
  • assess a participant’s ‘fit’ for a particular position – no strings attached!
  • broaden your professional network

HOW to offer a 1-2 day(s) job shadowing place after 7 July 2023?

Please, contact us:


Download our Job Shadowing flyer here ---->