Philanthropic mindset: Nonprofits help with workplace image


Whether or not we’d like to admit it, appearances matter — especially when it comes to interviewing for a new job. For individuals who don’t have enough money to buy workplace appropriate clothing, this emphasis on formality can be a severe roadblock. After all, it’s hard to find the money to buy nice clothing without a job and it’s hard to get a job without nice clothing.

This is where Working Wardrobes comes in. Working Wardrobes and other nonprofits like it (for instance, Wardrobe for Opportunity and WHW) strive to help individuals prepare for job interviews by teaching them how to enhance their image and create an excellent first impression. Not only do these nonprofits provide individuals with access to dress slacks, shirts, ties, suits and tailored skirts, but they also offer interviewing and resume advice. The goal of these organizations is to make sure the people who come to them receive the poise and confidence necessary to acquire a new job.

Nov. 15 marks National Philanthropy Day, and providing help with this important aspect of job attainment is what these nonprofits are about. Whether recovering from a behavioral health issue, a mental health disorder or a substance addiction, these tips can help individuals land employment.

1. Dress the part

Observe how people at the prospective company dress.  If people wear suits, wear a suit. If people dress more casually, find something casual that fits well and is in good condition. Nonprofits that focus on workplace image can help people find appropriate clothing for the prospective job.

2. Find a mentor

Organizations that help with workplace image sometimes provide mentors — i.e., people who can guide others through their chosen career path. Mentors can be anyone ranging from a parent, a family friend, a teacher or even a peer who knows the ropes. It helps to have a coach through the interview process. Mentors can also teach prospective employees the best way to present themselves at both the job interview and during the workday.

3. Be appealing

“Can I see myself working with this person?” This is one of the main questions interviewers want answered when they first meet a job candidate. During the job interview, the candidate’s goal is to make sure the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes.” Always be pleasant, polite and approachable. Don’t speak negatively about a previous employer, no matter what it was like to work there. Personal grooming — for instance the condition of nails, skin, teeth and shoes — can also impact image and first impressions.

Of course, workplace image is only one factor that determines success in landing and keeping a job — education, work history and recommendations are all important as well. Dressing for success can be enough to get a foot in the door, though, and launch a career that blossoms into something more meaningful.

White River Academy is an alternative school for troubled teens that focuses on helping young males to achieve permanent, healthy lifestyle changes. Our staff provides teens with up-to-date treatment options with an emphasis on personal responsibility, giving back to the community and behavioral wellness. For more information, please contact 866-520-0905.

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