Student Voice


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Rachel Responds

Graduates ask for job advice

April 27, 2012

Marketing Communications Senior, Samantha Wickland asks: “Where can I find inexpensive professional clothes for jobs once I graduate? How many people are getting jobs?”

Getting a degree is hard work. After spending years toiling away with your nose in books and butt parked behind a computer it’s important to make it count. Why do people want a degree? To hang on their wall? No, they want a career to hang that bad boy on.

There are careers available. Marketing students have job opportunities in today’s market. In a December 2011 marketing degree career outlook report, on, Bridgette Austin shared Bureau of Labor Statistics results.

Marketing professionals entering the work force between 2008 and 2018 are expected to see a 12 percent increase in available jobs. An increase in advertising, promotions, public relations and sales management is expected to increase 13 percent.

So graduates have jobs available that rock. But everyone knows there are more job seekers then there are jobs available. The 2011 graduating class moved back in with their parents. Well, approximately 85 percent did, according to a study conducted by Twentysomething Inc.

Just because jobs for marketing professionals are on the upswing doesn’t guarantee you a job once the diploma hits your hand. That’s why it’s important to be prepared. Professional gear is one of a few easy ways to give yourself a competitive advantage.

It’s important to make a good first impression on employers and, therefore, personality and professionalism is critical. But, so is what you wear.

Men have a standard set of rules for interviews. Long sleeves, dress pants, nice dress shoes and groomed hair. For women it’s a bit more complex.

Women shouldn’t wear too much makeup, show too much skin, wear sleeveless shirts or dresses, wear open-toed shoes, or look too trendy, according to Leah Bourne, writer for

Dressing to impress involves conveying a sense of professionalism. You’re not trying to win a fashion show. It’s important that your clothes enhance your words and experience and don’t detract from (or cloud-over) what you represent.

Looking showy is a turn-off to employers but dressing too inexpensively makes you look desperate for the job. Conveying a look that looks more expensive can have an impact on what salary you’re offered.

Bourne recommends mixing low-cost basics with higher-cost signature pieces. Buy your dress pants, blazers, vests, shirts and skirts at Maurices, Forever 21, H&M and Gordman’s. Spend the bigger bucks on a nice scarf, heels, jewelry, and purse.

However, what you wear has no impact on how you look on paper. When trying to stand out from other applicants make sure that you know what you’re looking for. Don’t write your resume with general information, focus it.

Guardianjobs recommends tailoring your experience to the job you’re specifically applying for. Sometimes your previous work or experience won’t be similar to the work you’d be doing where you are applying.

Don’t let this stop you. Analyze the similarities and explain what skills you have that would apply. Make yourself relevant.

If you’re overqualified explain why you want the job. Otherwise you may not get hired because they’ll be afraid you’ll leave for something better. Be sure you specify why you are interested in the job to abate their fears.

Do your research on the company. If you don’t know who they are how can you be sure you want to work there? More importantly, how the heck are they going to believe you want to work there?

Be focused and professional. Don’t get bitter about the jobs you didn’t get, keep your head up and use every opportunity to network. More people met equals more opportunities found.

Before graduating attend your campus’s job fairs, interview workshops, professional wear seminars, and any other relevant programs. Most are free or low cost and the information you’ll gain is invaluable.

If you have the knowledge of a professional, talk like a professional and dress like a professional, you will be regarded as a professional.

Happy hunting.

Thanks for the question, Samantha. All readers are invited to submit questions, concerns or quandaries to Any and every topic is encouraged. Let me know what you want me to write about in the next issue of the Student Voice. Don’t forget to like “Rachel Responds” on Facebook and follow “RachelResponds” on Twitter.

Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to