Goodwill helps job seekers win over employers

Sun News correspondentDecember 26, 2012 

The first impression a job seeker leaves could lead to countless opportunities or destroy a chance for career advancement.

Every third Wednesday the Job Connection, a job research and referral program offered by Goodwill, conducts a workshop called Dress for Success. The workshop educates job seekers on how to use clothes as a tool to leave a positive and lasting first impression.

In the world of the job interview, looks matter.

“When it comes to the first impression, you only get one,” said Vicki Mills, director of marketing at Goodwill. When preparing for the interview, job seekers should keep in mind what they want to convey. “Depending on the job, they should dress for not the job they have, but for the job they want,” Mills said.

“Dress for Success is important because how you present yourself in a job interview or the first time you meet a potential employer really gives a first impression on the way you’ll act as an employee,” said Ivey Hall, the director of volunteer service for Goodwill.

Body art such as piercings and tattoos should be covered and the latest trends should not be included in the outfit.

“We have a lot of issues with tattoos and body art, and trying to express to people that it’s still a part of your clothing,” Mills said. Personal grooming is always a must. The nails should be clean, and the hair should be done. The aim is to show a neat and clean presentation so the employer focuses on skills and the answers given by the job seeker.

“Conservative is always the safest route,” Mills said.

Mary Ann Cagle-Cretlow is an instructor for Dress for Success and a business owner for more than 30 years. In her class, she discusses the reality of today’s economy and how important it is to be a productive citizen. A portion of the workshop gives examples of what kinds of clothes to wear and what to leave in the closet. She encourages job seekers to use Goodwill services.

“They have excellent training people here. They don’t have to give their time, but they like doing it because they want to help Goodwill make a positive influence on people’s lives, and I like that, I really like that,” Cagle-Cretlow said.

There is an importance in dressing well for an interview. “You make that first impression one time, and when you go for a job interview you’re making it to the person who’s interviewing you,” Mills said. “When you’re working in an office environment it’s not just your boss that sees you every day. The people that come in also see you. You’re representing that business and you need to remember that you’re representing that business,” she said.

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