Career Center and JCPenny dress students for success

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Career Center and JCPenny dress students for success

Courtesy of Hannah Bottino

Courtesy of Hannah Bottino

Courtesy of Hannah Bottino

By Emmaline Sylvester, Reporter

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After four long years, the graduation diploma finally arrives. The nightmarish group projects are over, the exams are finished and the retail-therapy sessions are fewer and further between.

All that effort may have built skills and confidence for a post-graduation career.  It might not, however, have built up an interview ready wardrobe or a bank account to pay for one. Because of that, the Career Center is partnering with JCPenney to offer EWU students affordable, professional clothes to prepare for job interviews and professional work environments.

The JCPenney Suit-Up event will be held Sunday, Jan. 27 from 5-8 p.m. and is open to all current EWU students and first-year alumni at the JCPenney in the Northtown Mall. Students will receive 40 percent off all professional attire, and those who pre-register on Handshake will be entered into a drawing for a gift card provided by the Washington State Employee Credit Union.

Members of the JCPenney staff will be on hand to help students and offer insights on current fashion trends. Sephora will give free beauty consultations, and the JCP Portrait Studio will offer professional portraits for $29.99.

“Finances drive a lot of things,” said Virginia Hinch, assistant vice president for student services and executive director for career development. “That’s why we’re so excited about this event, because we’re making what we know is a very big investment at a reasonable price.”

Hinch recognizes that a lot of students underestimate how much preparation it takes for that first interview and job, and that many students put it off until their senior year.  

“You can really miss a lot of opportunities because employers are expecting students to come out of college with some experience and I think sometimes students think all they need is the degree,” Hinch said.

According to the most recent Life After Eastern Survey, 57 percent of students report having at least one internship while in college and 93 percent of alumni report being employed full or part time.

Attending this event not only serves to make the cost of professional clothing more obtainable for college students so they can be prepared for future job interviews and careers, but also to encourage students to start thinking about what’s coming after graduation.

As students are preparing for graduation and seeking internships, the Career Center has many resources to offer.

HR Coordinator at etailz, Inc. and recent EWU graduate, Isaiah Henderson, says he received a lot of guidance from the Career Center such as help with interviewing preparation and professional dress tips. He encourages students to attend the career fairs to put their professional outfits to the test and seize the great networking opportunity. Henderson found the most valuable thing he could do was ask questions about the dress code standard and work environment and wants to encourage graduating students to feel comfortable doing the same.

“Every piece you can put together, that makes you more prepared, takes anxiety out of that first interview or that first job and enables you to bring your best game to the table,” Hinch said.

Students can schedule a one-on-one appointment with an adviser for help with career planning and resumé building. They can also visit the Career Center’s webpage to search for jobs and internships, and attend the upcoming FUSE Career Fair on Feb. 20.•

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