Career-minded Northwestern students like third-year communications major Marlene Alanis understand the importance of making a great first impression.
As students prepare for job interviews, Alanis helps ensure that finding the right attire isn’t something students have to worry about when polishing their resumes.
Inside 630 Lincoln, Career Ambassadors like Alanis and the Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) team help bring ‘Cats Closet to life every Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a personalized shopping experience,” Alanis said. “Because our items are donated by Evanston residents, Northwestern staff, alumni and partner employers, it’s a more sustainable way to get your apparel when looking for business attire.”
NCA launched ‘Cats Closet in 2018 to provide students with free clothes they can save for job interviews or career opportunities. Former NCA staffer Kim Corbin managed the program from 2018 until her retirement in 2022.
Taylor Kinn, Associate Director of Student Career Advising, said “Cats Closet has grown in popularity as North West students return to in-person jobs, internships and career events following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Save students from having to buy a whole new suit just to attend a job fair, briefing, or chatting over coffee.
‘Cats Closet is part of NCA’s goal to ensure work attire is never a barrier for students looking to explore career opportunities.
“One of the changes we’ve made is that all of our employer events are now casual to make them more accessible,” Kinn said. “We don’t want students to feel like they have to buy a brand new suit or have really formal business attire when they attend a job fair, information session or chat about the campus. »
And rather than just opening ‘Cats Closet for students to navigate on their own, NCA staff and Career Ambassadors like Alanis are there to help students shop and understand fashion lingo. At work.
“I wanted to be a bridge between NCA staff and North West students,” she said. “The various resources helped me a lot, and I wanted to encourage more students to take advantage of the NCA.”
Inside ‘Cats Closet on a typical Thursday, career ambassadors like Alanis help students sort through different options based on their career needs.
Casual clothing? She covers you. Looking for something a little more formal? No problem. The goal is to make the experience of applying, interviewing and landing a job as a student as easy as possible.
This includes shooting events held at ‘Cats Closet, when NCA hires a professional photographer from the Student Affairs Marketing Office to take photos that students can use on sites like LinkedIn.