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UAA service offers advice, professional clothing Natalie Elder, UAA Career Services Center office manager, browses the women’s apparel Oct. 1 in the center’s Professional Clothes Closet. Photo by John Budnik. - Natalie Elder, UAA Career Services Center office manager, browses the women’s apparel Oct. 1 in the center’s Professional Clothes Closet. Photo by John Budnik. Full view

UAA service offers advice, professional clothing

Natalie Elder, UAA Career Services Center office manager, browses the women’s apparel Oct. 1 in the center’s Professional Clothes Closet. Photo by John Budnik.
Natalie Elder, UAA Career Services Center office manager, browses the women’s apparel Oct. 1 in the center’s Professional Clothes Closet. Photo by John Budnik.

A job interview doesn’t require a top hat, but the clothes a potential employee wears might be the difference between being hired or not. There is an office on campus helping informal students because it’s true that employers prefer a sharp-dressed candidate.

University of Alaska Anchorage’s Career Services Center, located in Rasmuson Hall, has a small room called the “Professional Clothes Closet.” It’s a wardrobe full of clothing available to any student or alumni in need of new duds to woo possible employers.

“You never get a second chance to change a first impression,” said Natalie Elder, office manager of the center.

She said the program sees two to three students per week who are interested in the collection. She also said students may keep the garments as well. The service is generally run on an honor code, and it doesn’t matter what sort of employment is being sought. This includes campus jobs, internships or other career opportunities.

“We want to assist students in helping them find a job,” Elder said. “That’s our ultimate end goal.”

Available in men’s apparel includes slacks, suit coats, collared shirts, sweaters and ties. The women’s side of the closet has more variety with dresses, skirts, blazers and button-down shirts. Only professional attire is accepted, and anything could potentially jeopardize a student’s qualifications is screened out, she said.
The idea was a collaborative effort by the College of Education and the Career Services Center and came to fruition last year. In order to keep the selection fresh clothing drives are held amongst faculty and staff on occasion.

The center’s staff is available to coach students or alumni seeking feedback on their garbs. Other services they provide are mock interviews, resume and cover letter workshops, career fairs and as a resource to find volunteer opportunities.

“When you’re in an interview, it’s important to think about how your outfit looks when you’re standing up but also when you’re sitting down,” Elder said. “Clothes do matter.”

The center will be sponsoring the Fall Career Fair Oct. 17 in the Student Union. Students will have a chance to visit with 72 different employers from a variety of career fields.

Time to suit up UAA, but leave the top hat at home.

 

Written by John Budnik

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