Looking the part
I was delighted to give my support (and a suit!) to Dress for Success, a registered charity that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional clothing and career support to help women enter and remain in employment.
Since its inception in 1997, Dress for Success has “suited” more than 450,000 women. Operating by referral only, DfS helps job-ready women from over 3,000 non-profit organisations, including domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters and job-training schemes. The majority of these women are aged between 18 and 38, and are, or have recently been, unemployed. Many are single parents, or in difficult circumstances.
Once a referral is received, DfS supplies the applicant with a suit and arranges a series of mock interviews. Successful applicants received one week’s worth of appopriate attire, and an invitation to join DfS’s Proffessional Women’s Group, Career Development and Networking Group, and the opportunity to participate in a range of other employment retention programmes.
With the job market more competitive than ever, prospective employees are under pressure to do everything possible to mark themselves out from the crowd. This means that making a good first impression is vitally important and, rightly or wrongly, many interviewers will take outward appearance into account.
It is tragic that any woman should lose out on a job through lack of appropriate clothing, or because she has not received the right advice about how to make a good impression – two advantages that many of us take for granted.
That is why we should do everything we can to support organisations like Dress for Success. For more information about the DfS, or to learn how to make a donation, please visit the Dress for Success website.