Q. We keep getting calls from internship supervisors that our students are under dressing in this record hot weather. What should we do?

July 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Posted in Advising interns | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. You’re not alone.  A recent article in The Baltimore Sun pointed out that many other career centers are experiencing the same problem. “It’s something we deal with all the time,” says the director of the University of Baltimore’s Career Center. “One staff member received a call from an employer who had to speak to an intern about wearing booty shorts to the office.”  Here are a few tips from The Sun article on how to deal with these issues:

  • The University of Baltimore has just launched a one-credit elective called Personal and Professional Skills for Business. Anyone can take it, but it’s required for business majors. The content includes how to network, write a resume, manage an interview—and what to wear. The basic course includes “all the things that you’d think you wouldn’t have to say, but we say them anyway.” You might consider initiating such a course in your school if you don’t already have one.
  • At Towson University, the College of Business and Economics invites students to an event called Dress Smart. Part fashion show, part networking opportunity, the event is designed to show students in a visual way what isn’t right for the office. Students wear outfits that range from professional to a bit wrong to wildly inappropriate. Students model and mingle while real company recruiters talk to them and tell them why their outfits work or don’t.
  • To prevent students from wearing scanty clothing to work during the heat wave, send out an email to all your interns, reminding them that they should dress conservatively in business professional mode regardless of the weather. If they want outstanding recommendations, they’ll have to keep the booty shorts, thigh-grazing dresses, flip-flops, ripped jeans, see-through skirts, and cleavage-baring tops in the closet.
  • Rather than wait to hear from intern supervisors, you may want to contact them about the state of dress of your interns in case any supervisors are experiencing issues. If there are any concerns, you can offer to run interference and solve the problem, relieving the intern supervisor from facing a potentially awkward situation.

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