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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Specialists teach job preparation

Job interviews may not be the best place for self-expression, according to employers.

An impression is made within seven seconds of meeting someone, which is why it is so important for students to dress professionally, according to presenters at Altria Group Distribution Company’s Go Pro Business Etiquette workshop on Wednesday night. Each Altria worker and ambassador donned a suit or business casual dress.

“It’s that first impression that hooks us and it’s everything thereafter that keeps us coming back to you,” said Lisa Locker, district manager for Altria Distribution.

On campus, Career Services places a focus on professional dress, because appearance is the first thing interviewers notice. If someone is dressed unprofessionally, this can reflect on how seriously they want the job, according to Career Services representatives.

In order to teach students, Career Services provides handouts, links on their website, as well as mannequins in the office that are professionally dressed. A poster of a student dressed unprofessionally, with arrows pointing out what is wrong with her clothing choices, hangs in the lobby.

“It’s the first impression you’re making with the employer that you’re asking to give you a job,” said Kem Blanchard, a Career Services counselor. “We want our students to be successful. We want them to represent the U of A well, and themselves well.”

Altria is one of many companies that come to campus during career fairs, and its workshop representatives have stressed the importance of professionalism. Female students were advised against wearing high heels or short skirts, and workshop leaders also mentioned the importance of shaving for men.

“Students who are well-put-together stand out and students that have put no effort into it also stand out,” said Christine Morrison, unit sales manager at Altria Disribution. “Unfortunately, what you seem to remember the longest are the students who were not prepared, were not dressed professionally and didn’t seem to take it seriously.”

Many students need education on what is expected in the business and professional world, Blanchard said. Working with Career Services and attending workshops can give students a realistic look into what employers like to see, she said.

Students who attended the Go Pro workshops also emphasized the importance of appearance when going to a job interview.

“I think first impressions are everything, and they’re lasting,” said Taylor Haynes, a physiology junior. “Dressing appropriately for an interview shows you care about the job or internship that you want to get, and it shows the employer that you care about yourself and the way you present yourself.”

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