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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Career Closet provides cheap on-campus suit rentals

The Career Closet, which opened this semester, is available to any UH student. | McRae Peavy/The Cougar

Lexie D’Amico, an employee of University Career Services and a biotechnology senior, needed a suit for a graduate school interview with the University of Texas. She doesn’t know what she would have done without UCS’s Career Closet.

The Career Closet, which offers cheap suit rentals for UH students, soft opened over the Spring ’17 semester. Rentals for interviews or other professional occasions are $10, and the student can keep their suits for three days.

“I would have scavenged and been panicking to find a suit somewhere, and probably would’ve paid an overpriced amount for a suit that I would’ve worn once,” D’Amico said. “It is true that wearing a suit gives you a certain level of confidence, and confidence in an interview goes a long way.”

UCS helps students with resume writing, interviews, and job searches. Monica Thompson, executive director of University Career Services and the creator of the Career Closet, realized that students required something else.

Thompson said that she had the idea for the closet last fall and began working on the project during the summer.

“This was just that last thing that needed to be done that I saw a huge need for,” Thompson said. “It was something that could be kinda small, but very impactful, and could help the whole campus.”

UCS requires business attire for their career fair, and Thompson relayed that she felt the dress code would be unfair without a resource like the Career Closet available to students.

That’s why she considers it a soft launch, she said, because the information about the closet is given out with information about the career fair.

“These services are for all students, and because I’m a really clean person, a neat freak, I really like for the clothes to be clean,” Thompson said. “I charge a fee to help with operational costs. That would be dry cleaning.”

Thompson realized that students needed something more immediate than programs like Dress for Success or Career Care, two resources that also help students get clothing, but are restricted by appointment times.

A majority of the suits are from JC Penney, which UCS has a partnership with. Thompson, having worked retail in the past, knew how to order the right clothes.

“I wanted the suits to be something new and fresh. I will take donations, because I won’t turn those away, but I have to tell people to only give me things that are maybe a year or two old, but nothing that you can’t wear.”

Bensy Boban, a chemistry junior, used the Career Closet to find a suit for the College of Natural Science and Mathematics career fair. She spoke to two companies there.

“I think the suit I wore impacted my outcome in a positive way,” Boban said. “It allowed me to dress in a professional manner, and it helped me feel more confident about how I looked and how I was presenting myself.”

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