Looking the part for job interviews makes a difference
March 23, 2007
As students around the University are reading this, I will be on my way to Chicago for a job fair.
Along with two other members of the Student Voice, we will spend an entire Saturday in mini-interviews and redundant conversations.
Just like every other senior on verge of graduation, I have spent an abnormal amount of time drafting my resume and creating a cover letter.
As a student journalist not only am I required to create a stellar resume and eye-catching cover letter, but I have to have a portfolio that will impress during a simple perusing. I spent over two hours and $57.30 making literally hundreds of copies of articles I’ve written and photos I’ve taken.
As if the copying wasn’t enough, the money spent on portfolio covers and separating the photocopies into many stacks made me go completely insane. But what is it really for? I get to go and sit down for five minutes in front of 15 or more prospective employers while they judge me more on my appearance and first impression than what I’ve previously labored many hours creating for them.
It’s just all too sketchy, but unfortunately it is a very necessary part of the graduating-and-moving-on-to-the-next-stage-in-life process.
I wouldn’t mind as much if I thought I was a shoo-in, however in this business it seems that no one is ever a shoo-in.
This feels like complete déjà vu.
In October I attended a job fair in Minneapolis where I busted my ass off preparing for it. When I showed up in dress pants and a professional top I felt like an idiot standing next to a person dressed in jeans and t-shirt. I bought a suit for the upcoming event and hopefully many sequential interviews following the job fair. Should I be insulted if a representative for a newspaper talks to a guy in jeans for twice as long as he talks to me? Whatever happened to dressing for success and looking presentable when going to interviews?
What is wrong with our generation that people find it acceptable to wear tennis shoes to a professional atmosphere where the common garb is sport coats and skirts?
I have been on a number of interviews since graduating from high school, and each time I dressed in professional attire.
Not only did I do that because it is how I feel I should look when talking to a professional, but because that is how I was raised.
When I see students dressing so utterly inappropriate at events I feel ashamed to even be associated with them as being part of the same generation.
I don’t even want to imagine what older generations think about our group. Even I’m ashamed.
Even the Student Voice’s former viewpoints editor, with the most laissez-faire approach to life broke down and bought a suit. Not only that, but he told the entire student body about it and got a job. I’m not trying to say that every person needs to run to Macy’s and purchase a suit, but I’m hoping that every individual searching for a job will have some respect for the people they are interviewing with and dress the part.
As for me, I’m packing up my suit, portfolios and resumes and making the long drive to Chicago.
For every other budding journalist I see dressed like they’re grabbing lunch at McDonalds I’ll just smile and know that at least there won’t be a note left on my resume saying that I looked like crap.
Who knows if my recently-acquired suit will help with my first impression, all I can do is hope and keep my fingers crossed.