My Career Closet volunteers

Dressed for Success with Love

My Career Closet works to Instill Confidence in Job Seekers

In 2011, five women in Hernando County discussed ways to help area women live up to their potential. Many had careers and very limited time, but they all saw a need. Some unemployed women were missing job opportunities because they didn’t have the wardrobe to move into professional positions.

“You need to make a professional first impression, regardless of the time of year,” says Monster.com’s career expert, Vicki Salemi, when referring to dressing for a job interview.

An inspiring wall hanging sets the mood for clients to look and feel their best.
An inspiring wall hanging sets the mood for clients to look and feel their best.

However people who have been unemployed for long periods often lack the finances to put together the right outfit to get the job, especially in a new field or competitive workplace. They may have changed sizes or recently moved and would be hard-pressed to assemble and outfit with the “wow factor” to feel confident.

A plan was put together to help these women and My Career Closet was started.

My Career Closet offers professional attire
My Career Closet specializes in women’s professional attire, although they will work to help anyone who seeks their services.

“We are looking for women who would like to know they are looking their best when they step into the interview,” says Janice Grammick, a retired VA and Airforce Reserve nurse who volunteers regularly at this local nonprofit. Debbie Mentz, a retired local business owner, often works with Jan to help their clients look and feel confident for their big interview.

“We work primarily through referrals,” Debbie explains, “so when a client calls, we make an appointment to meet them at the store. They fill out a short form that doesn’t require any financial information, and then Jan and I will spend time getting to know what position they are interviewing for and then we let them shop.”

With a large selection of shoes, Debbie specializes in coordinating the perfect look to help a client feel perfectly put together.
With a large selection of shoes, Debbie specializes in coordinating the perfect look to help a client feel perfectly put together.

Debbie adds, “We work with CareerSource and area nonprofits to get the referrals. After we have helped her select a complete outfit, she can request help with make-up, resume writing, interview tips and anything else that can help her feel and look her best when she goes to the interview. We work to help their confidence.”

“I have never had a woman come in here that wasn’t beyond happy!”

My Career Closet specializes in business career fitting. The clothing is very nice, featuring many name brands. It is nicely displayed and organized by size. Several complete outfits are displayed to whet the appetite.

Using the store’s inventory of shoes, suits, blouses, coordinates, costume jewelry, and purses, the volunteers help their referred clients select a complete outfit to help them nail their interview. There is no charge for the service. My Career Closet is run completely through donations and volunteer efforts.

Purses and costume jewelry can complete the look.
Purses and costume jewelry can complete the look.

“We take all donations. We select the best of what is donated and we prepare it for display. We carry as many sizes as are available, although it can be difficult to fit clients who are very small or very tall. We work hard to ensure we have what makes a woman feel beautiful and that instills confidence. It’s a win-win,” Debbie shares.

The donations that do not meet My Career Closet’s standards are given to the consignment shops. If they don’t meet their standards, they can go on to foreign countries and relief efforts. If they’re substandard for that, they are sold by the pound for recycling. “Nothing is wasted,” says Debbie.

Volunteers
Jan and Debbie work together regularly. They have formed a solid friendship through their volunteering.

Once a client is outfitted for an interview and they get the job, they can come back and select five more outfits to get their work life off to a great start. “I have never had a woman come in here that wasn’t beyond happy,” Jan shares with enthusiasm, “We love what we do.”

My Career Closet is looking for more women to serve. If you work for an organization in the area that could refer women who have need for this service, or you or someone you know could utilize this service, please call 352-293-2015 to make an appointment today.

My Career Closet's retail store is located at 17009 Ayers Road in Brooksville. Clients are seen individually by appointment.
My Career Closet’s retail store is located at 17008 Ayers Road in Brooksville. Clients are seen individually by appointment.

If you have gently used work attire, including shoes, purses, and costume jewelry, that you would like to donate, you can drop items off at the Day Law Office or Campbell & Company CPA, PA during office hours, or call 352-293-2015 and make arrangements to meet someone the My Career Closet, located at 17008 Ayers Rd, Brooksville. More information can be found by visiting their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mycareercloset