Students Suit Up for Interviews


(Photo Courtesy of Kelly Dries/Career Services)

(Photo Courtesy of Kelly Dries/Career Services)
(Photo Courtesy of Kelly Dries/Career Services)

Fifteen students will be able to suit up for job interviews, thanks to Career Services’ annual Suit Up! competition.
Career Services has sponsored this program for three years. It helps graduating students obtain solid career opportunities by providing the competition winners with business attire.
Kelly Dries, the associate director for Counseling Services and Operations, said she created the program three years ago.
“A suit is very expensive,” Dries said. “But it is necessary for students to go out on interviews and meetings and networking events.”
Since its creation, the Suit Up! competition has gone through different variations, including a community service event in its first year where community members donated suits and students were able to “shop” after hearing a speech about dressing for success.
In the program’s second year, Suit Up! received more funding through a partnership with Macy’s in Salt Lake City. Last year, the program organizers utilized a punch-card system in which students who filled up the card by visiting Career Services were taken to Macy’s to pick a suit with the help of a personal stylist.
This year, however, Dries said she and the program’s student ambassadors wanted to do things differently.
“This year, we do have funding through the help of a grant and our partnership with Macy’s,” Dries said. “But we really wanted this to be a program that was for students that really needed a suit — making it a need-based program.”
This year, for a student to be recognized, they need to be nominated, Dries said. If a faculty member knows of a student who goes above and beyond and who could benefit from the financial contribution of a suit, they can nominate that student through the online nomination form found on Career Services’ website.
“Eligible students must be a junior or senior with a 2015 or 2016 graduation date,” Dries said, “because they will be out there needing a nice suit sooner.”
Scott Varner, a senior in business management and the student director of the ambassador program, received a suit last year through the program.
“I have been fortunate enough to benefit from Suit Up! as a student who was able to earn a free suit last year,” Varner said. “Having professional attire has been proven to help secure more competitive job opportunities. Suit Up! is a direct way of helping students who may be in need to obtain those great opportunities, impacting their career in a real and meaningful way.”
Varner also said the program’s main goal is to help students gain confidence and learn how to best approach employers in networking, job interviews and any other professional setting.
“We are looking to grow this program to help as many students as possible,” Varner said, “which will greatly depend on the involvement of faculty and staff as they identify the best candidates.”
Career Services will accept nominations from faculty and staff until 5 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2015. In early February, a group of staff and faculty will sit in on the nomination committee and select 15 students, who will then have the opportunity to go to Macy’s to pick out a suit with the one-on-one help of a personal stylist.
“This program is very meaningful to us,” Varner said, “because we have seen amazing effects on the career paths of students who have been involved in it.”
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