Never underestimate the power of a first impression.
NC’s Career Services staff members know how vital it is for students to put their best professional image forward when they meet with potential employers. The understand how the right outfit can help a candidate stand out from the crowd. They are also aware of how financially challenging it can be for cash-strapped students to purchase the items they need.
That’s why they are making it their mission to collect clothing donations from the college community for their second annual Dress for Success clothing giveaway for students.
The event gives NC students the opportunity to pick up donated professional clothing free of charge. It is purposely held prior to the College’s All About Options Employment Expo which gives students a chance to meet face-to-face with potential employers on campus.
2017 was the inaugural year for the clothing giveaway and the event was a resounding success. Students arrived in droves, eager to pick up items to help them make a good first impression on employers without breaking the bank.
“Some students were in tears, telling us how much they were in need of professional clothes,” said career consultant Monique Morin. “They couldn’t believe that it was for free. We told them ‘if you need it, and it fits you, take it.’”
“It’s heartbreaking. A lot of our students really are struggling. Maybe they’re paying for school, they’re also paying for a car, or a house,” said Marsha Fiorino, co-op career consultant and employer support. “This is one thing we can help them with.”
Morin, Fiorino and student transition coordinator Dana Brown are expecting the same response this year as they prepare for the next Dress for Success clothing giveaway. The event will be held at the Welland Campus on January 17 (Applied Health Institute foyer) and at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus on January 18 (SAC Activity Room), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With clothing drop-off locations at both campuses – L20 in Welland, and W115 in NOTL – they have been accepting donations since late 2017. During the final days prior to the event, they are hoping to add as much as they can to their racks of donated items to assist as many NC students as possible.
Staff and faculty are encouraged to look through their closets for any used professional clothing, shoes and accessories – and ask family and friends to do the same. Even basics such as nicer t-shirts and tank tops would make great donations.
“It can be a simple black t-shirt or a dress but when you wear it under something else, like a sweater or blazer, it can make a great interview outfit,” said Brown.
Casual clothing donations are also being accepted to suit those students entering less formal industries – excluding items such as jeans, sweatpants and baseball caps which would not be appropriate for job interview. Last year, for example, khaki pants were hot items, and a bag of donated scrubs went quickly at the Welland Campus where Applied Health programs are based.
The event is also an opportunity for students to engage with Career Services staff, who can advise them on how to make the best impression on a potential employer or what type of outfit would be appropriate for an interview with an employer in their field.
Sometimes, it’s also a matter of what not to wear, said Morin, as untidy clothing, excessive jewellery or even an elaborate hairdo can distract interviewers from a candidate’s qualifications.
“You really want employers to focus on what you’re saying, not what’s wrong with what you’re wearing,” said Morin.
Have clothes to drop off?
Welland Campus: Donations can be dropped off in L20.
NOTL Campus: Donations may be dropped off in W115.
Please wash clothing donations prior to dropping off, if possible.
Dress for Success clothing giveaway
The event will take place at the Welland Campus on Wednesday, January 17 (Applied Health Foyer) and at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus on Thursday, January 18 (SAC Activity Room) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information please contact:
Dana Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monique Morin at email@example.com