Interviews can be scary. Even if your resume is polished, you’ve packed three clean notebooks (and four pens) in your binder, and you’ve recited how your-biggest-mistake-turned-into-a-learning-moment six times to your bathroom mirror–you’ll probably still wake up on the morning of the big day feeling about as under prepared as Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live.
The only thing that could possibly add even more stress to that crucial juncture between the shower and the front door is putting together the perfect outfit.
You know what I’m talking about. That moment you open your closet doors only to realize the full extent of your impending fashion crisis. You were sure you had plenty of trendy fare in stock, but you were wrong. You’ve got nothing. No slacks, no blazers. You only have one pair of heels and they look like they belong to someone in the cast of Chicago. Huge hit on the dance floor, huge flop in the corner office.
Meet Jody White, one of the founding partners and the current Executive Director at Dress for Success Des Moines, a nonprofit that aims to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Jody White is one of many in this business who believe that every woman deserves to own at least one professional outfit that makes her feel as fabulous as she looks. That’s why Dress for Success suits women applicants in business attire for free. Everything from blouses to heels to jewelry–even make-up application tutorials.
“When a client arrives in our office, she is given one-on-one attention,” says White. “She is our number one priority.”
But they don’t stop there. Dress for Success provides a six-week class in conjunction with the Going Places Network to help women craft resumes, write cover letters and learn to apply old skills to new jobs. “Even the suiting itself serves as a kind of interview prep,” says White. “If they arrive late, or even sometimes too early, we’ll tell them the interviewer won’t respond positively to that.”
Moving to an automated volunteer registration system was an easy transition for Dress for Success. “Having a tool, as basic as that sounds, just having a tool for volunteers to sign up for our upcoming orientations and events is so wonderful,” White says. “VolunteerLocal is super easy to use and compatible with other users–because we have three or four people managing the events at a time–and it’s consistent and helpful.”
Clients are accepted at Dress for Success on a referral basis by partner agencies, listed here. Look sharp, Des Moines–Dress for Success is in town, and they’re keeping it fashion-forward with a hip new volunteer management software, VolunteerLocal.