Smart Works Dresses You Up For Your Job Interview
It’s the first interview of your life and you don’t know how to dress. We’ll give you a tip: a crop top and trainers are not appropriate if you really want the job. The Kudos team has found the right people to help you. Find out more with Jessica Fino’s report.
Smart Works is a successful charity that help women prepare themselves for job interviews by giving them a set of appropriate clothing for it. Samantha Cameron is just one of the people supporting this amazing charity that already helped so many women to get a job.
Besides helping women to find the perfect outfit for their job interviews they also offer interview training and a professional stylist advice session.
It gets better; they give you the clothes and they’re really nice. The clothes are donated from office ladies working in the city with brands like Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo being just a few of the examples.
Smart Works is 13 years old and its main office is in Hoxton, East London. They also have an office in West London and they’re working towards opening a new office in Edinburgh later this year and in other, still secret, locations around the UK.
“We get quite a lot of young women between the ages of 17 and 25,” says the Chief Executive of the project Delyth Evans.
“They usually have an interview to go to but because they are young or they are students, they haven’t got an interview outfit. So we will help them with that: we style them and we give them a lot of advice.”
The appointment takes about 90 minutes. Half of it is spent finding suitable clothes, but it depends on how insecure the client is. Then half an hour will be the interview training with a high qualified professional. These professionals are volunteers who give one day a week to the cause.
Delyth believes part of the success of the charity is because of the training they offer.
“It’s very useful because people are bad at talking about themselves in interviews,” she says.
“They get very nervous; they don’t know what to say. They might have lots of good skills and experience, they just don’t know how to present it,” she explains.
The charity welcomes between 160 and 200 clients every month. Due to the high demand from the clients, around 90 volunteers work hard in order to meet the women’s needs.
“We depend on volunteers and our team of volunteers are very committed to what they do. They are really good with helping the women,” Delyth says proudly.
Karen Styles, one of the stylists who volunteers for Smart Works once a week, has been working there for two years.
“I really enjoy it. It’s a great charity to work for, very professional. You just see the women changing in here. You can see how the charity can change them in the way they feel about themselves.”
In the last four years the client list has increased, especially among the young.
“We surprisingly get a lot of young people. They come here with very low expectations and then they are very surprised when they see the clothes we have,” says Karen.
Smart Works won last year’s Big Society Award. They were nominated by a client and it was an acknowledgment of the work the group of volunteers have been doing for the last decade.
Some of the best clothes they get come from well-known fashion publications like Vogue and Sunday Times Style Magazine, as they send samples to the charity that designers and shops offer them for photo shoots.
“It means our clients can get to wear clothes they would never be able to afford,” Delyth says.
According to the Chief Executive, who has been working for the charity for five years, over 50 per cent of their clients get the job with their help and the ones who don’t succeed can go back for further training and advice.
“Volunteering is a fantastic thing to do and my advice to people who are thinking about volunteering is to work out what you are interested in,” she says.
“You have to really focus on what you are passionate about. Just to go out and help people without waiting to get something back is a really great thing to do and it looks very good on your CV. I have done different roles [journalism and politics] but working in the charity sector is a very fulfilling thing to do.”
The charity is not offering volunteering positions at the moment but they do need plus size clothes and shoes in good condition. If you have any of these, please donate!
If you want to book an appointment, you can call 020 7288 1770 or visit their website http://www.smartworks.org.uk