Career Center to open new student resource: Career Closet

Leo Torres at Career Closet
Leo Torres, customer service coordinator in the Career Center on the Lincoln Park Campus, displays clothing items in the newly furnished Career Closet in SAC Room 151. Career Center staff noticed a need among students for professional clothes to wear to job interviews and founded Career Closet. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Students at DePaul who are looking for wardrobe help for a job interview should check out the new Career Closet at the Schmitt Academic Center, room 151. Career Closet, opening April 16, will provide students with access to free professional attire for interviews, job fairs and networking events.

It was the Career Center staff who recognized a need among students for professional clothes to wear to job interviews and founded Career Closet.

"We saw that need and noticed that there wasn't a resource available to students," says Leo Torres, customer service coordinator. "We realized that if we are preparing students to be well rounded candidates going onto the next part of their professional lives, we need to make sure that preparation encompassed everything."

What to wear to an interview is often last on a student's agenda during the job searching process, according to Jen Fleming, a career specialist.

"Students are preparing their resume, preparing their cover letter and they're practicing interviewing. Including a resource that allows them to also think about what they wear is important because you would hate to go into an interview and not make a great first impression after all that work," Fleming says. "Our hope is that the Career Closet can provide students with modern, fun pieces so that they can feel comfortable. We don't want students to feel reluctant to ask for this kind of help."

With support from a Vincentian Endowment Fund Grant, Fleming and Torres were able to bring the concept of the Career Closet to life.

"That's an important piece, we are really grateful to have that funding because otherwise it would not have been possible to get the Career Closet off the ground," Fleming says.

Donations

Career Closet is accepting donations in preparation for its April 16 opening. Current needs include men's clothing, especially suits, pants and dress shirts. Also needed are women's accessories, like jewelry, purses and shoes, according to Fleming.

DePaul staff, faculty and others may drop off donations in the Career Center on either campus, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. In the Loop, donations are accepted in DePaul Center Room 9500. In Lincoln Park, donations are accepted in SAC, Room 192.

Guidelines for donations that are selected for Career Closet:

Business professional or business casual attire.
Good condition and up-to-date. (Would you be okay wearing the article of clothing yourself?)
Clean. (Dry-cleaned or washed.)
In addition to current needs, Career Closet also is accepting blouses, suit coats, dresses, skirts, dress pants, ties, belts and shoes. Items not chosen for Career Closet will be donated to Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.

Shopping for your future

Students looking to obtain clothes for professional events will be allowed to choose and keep up to four items from Career Closet each academic year. They may select one item per quarter, or they can choose to select all four items at once.

Students may book an appointment for a personalized one-on-one experience via career_center@depaul.edu​. Walk-ins are welcomed and students can stop by the Career Center during business hours and ask to see what's available.

Career Closet is opening as a pilot program in order to learn more about student needs and to eventually expand if needed.