Career Closet helps provide professional attire

A temporary ban of a good night’s rest by your subconscious before a big interview can send you into deep, uncharted thought. Stressing, your mind pinpoints the realization that the outfit you planned to may not fit the image or expectations of your potential employer.

“Some students don’t know what’s appropriate. And it’s kind of hard, depending on the culture or organization you’re interviewing with,” said Career Services Advisor Ann Mansfield. “There are so many variables, and [the Career Closet] can be used as a guideline.” 

Housing apparel in all areas except shoes, the Career Closet located on the ground floor of Salazar Hall provides students with professional attire options when in need. 

“I didn’t want clothing to come in the way of being successful in an interview or grad school,” said Mansfield.

Organized against the wall of windows inside career services, men’s button downs, dress pants, collared shirts and polos take up one of the closet’s racks, with an extended array of tie options near by. 

The second rack houses women’s blouses, collared shirts, slacks and skirts in a handful of color options and patterns. 

Sticking to the campus’ reclaiming philosophy, all items archived have been donated by staff and faculty, with donations by students and community members growing. 

Its debut arrived in time for the Career Fair at the beginning of March where students happily reaped its benefits, and can again at the Educator Job Fair in mid-April. 

“I was ecstatic about being able to pick out an interview-worthy outfit for free,” said junior Omar Garcia, who heard about the closet through his marketing class and flyers around campus. 

Accessing the closet is simple after entering the career center. Informing an advisor in the room about the event that requires the clothing, advances you to explore the racks. Mannequins are set modeling affordable items from Target’s top brands with price tags attached for exact pricing. 

Thanks to Mansfield, who reached out to the company about the ideal partnership deal, Target donated a gift card used by Mansfield and career service employees to purchase professional attire for examples.

“We want to build the career services in such a way that students can come here for a wide range of things,” said Mansfield. “When you want to borrow clothing, you want to ask a friend. But we want students to be comfortable [here].” 

As time goes on, future plans for the closet include a separate room or office for privacy and confidentiality. Replenishment for the closet may be based on to clothing recycling through internal clothing drives with large corporations. Full length mirrors for easier viewing also prioritizes the list. 

Best part about using items from the closet is your ability to keep them. Another job opportunity may come up or a friend in need may call and the items you kept will be in arm’s reach. 

However if students are planning on returning the clothes they will need to be cleaned first.

“If the donations go away, the closet goes away,” said Mansfield, who accepts donations at any time during the closet’s hours of operation on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until noon, or during the service desk’s regular hours. 

Jackets, skirts, and slacks are in high demand regarding donations and are preferred to be clean, professional, conservative and as current as possible. 

“I think it’s an opportunity to serve the community in a way we haven’t before,” said junior and career service employee Jenna Valle-Riestra.

After picking a position-winning outfit, career services can go over student resumes to discuss appropriate interview tactics, and many other aspects of job hunting; killing many birds with one stone. 

“We want to to talk about your career path...To be a resource on many levels, no matter where you are in your development,” said Mansfield.