School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND START WRITING - Dissertation on the Lake

Dressed to impress and succeed

SGPS career event helps students find their professional style

Article by Natalia Mukhina

Headshot session is at its height.

Headshot session is at its height.

“I’ve spent plenty of time compiling my digital portfolio with CVs and references,” says Nicole, MSc student in Health Science, “but it is a photo that will be the first thing my potential boss will see when they download my profile, right? That is why I am here.”

I met Nicole in a line for free professional headshots, which had been organized by the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) in their SGPS Professional Makeover Week. This October SGPS offered three special events to help students prepare for conferences, networking events, and job interviews. In addition to headshot session, students could take part in special women’s and men’s tailoring events to find out how to look sharp and professional. For that purpose, SGPS invited business partners Chris James Kingston and Eph Apparel to provide one-on-one services with rack professional items.

While you should not judge a book by its cover, most employers, interviewers, and colleagues will judge you by your appearance. Students totally understand it. To give just one example, the headshot session started at 11 am, and I was 54th in line, having come only half an hour later. “I’ll come to a clothing session,” smiles Julia, PhD student in Computing. “I have to speak at a congress soon; I did my best preparing for the presentation, and want to look my best as well!”

The Chris James team is ready to help find fantastic professional wear.

The Chris James team is ready to help find fantastic professional wear.

“If you want to be accepted as a professional, dress and look professional,” Mark Asfar says.  “That does not mean you should wear a $1,000 suit when you, as a current student or recent graduate, obviously do not have a lot of money.  In fact, there is a range of dress that is acceptable, depending on the situation.”

Asfar is an organizer of the Makeover Week, and knows what he speaks about. As a VP Professional at SGPS, he is managing the event for the second time. Last year, he focused specifically on law and male business students, because they usually follow a strict dress code. “However, I received feedback, and it confirmed that such an event could be helpful for all students.”

It is not enough just to be dressed well. “Wear something you are comfortable in,” underlines Mark. “If you are distracted, say, by a jacket, which is a little tight, you won’t be able to focus on what is truly important – your presentation, or answers during job interview. During the Makeover Week, students can both choose styles and have clothes customized if they want.”

We know that there is no second chance to make a great first impression. However, Queen’s students will have another chance to take some professional looking pictures. SGPS is going to hold another Professional Makeover Week next year. Stay tuned!