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—by Marianne Amoss ’04
Victoria Azera, Class of 2015, knows that these days, a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job. So the business major jumped at the chance to apply for First Impressions, a program that helps juniors and seniors in the Women’s College successfully make the transition from the classroom to the workforce. Through the academic year-long program, these young women learn resumé writing, interviewing, dining etiquette, and dress and grooming—skills that are essential to professional success but not often taught in the classroom.
The program was launched in 2011 as a joint venture of Deborah Calhoun, chair of the Business and Economics Department; Emilia Poiter, director of the Office of Alumnae and Alumni Relations; and Diane MacKenzie, director of the Career Center. The program has kicked off every year in October with a personal brand-building workshop conducted by WBAL sportscaster Gerry Sandusky.
Another popular workshop is the Dress for Success fashion show at Macy’s, where students learn do’s and don’ts of dressing for the office. Those who successfully complete the program earn a $150 Macy’s gift card, which they use to purchase professional clothes under the guidance of a Macy’s personal shopper.
Graduates are involved in a variety of ways: They plan each year’s programming as members of the First Impressions Committee, conduct mock job interviews with the students, and serve as mentors—sometimes even taking the young women to professional networking events or hiring them as interns. For Victoria, this opportunity to build relationships with Notre Dame graduates is what makes the program special. “First Impressions also gives you the opportunity to network and meet women who have been through what you’re about to experience and can teach you things you would never learn until you made the mistakes they made,” she says. “I feel as though in today’s society there is not much room for error if you want to succeed in the workplace.”
For more information on First Impressions, contact:
Office of Alumnae and Alumni Relations
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