North Central News

Alice Zordan ’19 hears opportunity knocking at the Career Closet door

Nov 19, 2018

Among the many resources available to North Central College students is a unique program addressing an often-overlooked expense: dressing for success. Marketing major Alice Zordan ’19 made the most of the Cardinal Career Closet and it yielded tremendous dividends.

During this annual event, co-sponsored by the Offices of Student Affairs and Career Development, North Central students browse through professional clothing and choose an outfit to keep. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the College donate clothes over the course of the school year that the coordinators of the Closet collect for the event in January.

Last year, Zordan heard about the event through Cardinal First, the College’s first-generation student support program. “Interview season was coming up quickly and I could not afford to buy a suit at the time,” she said. “I really wanted to get valuable work experience and wanted to dress to impress, to let my interviewer know that I was up for the challenge.”

More than simply set out the clothes, students and staff from the Offices of Student Affairs and Career Development assist clothing seekers and advise them on putting together the most effective look.

“Going to the Closet felt like a boutique experience,” said Zordan. “I had 15 minutes by myself to browse the items available, put an outfit together and try it on in total comfort and privacy.

“I felt important. I felt like the opportunity to do well at an interview just dropped in my lap.”

Zordan put her suit to work at the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) Career and Internship Fair hosted by North Central in March.

“I had attended workshops and prepared my résumé weeks in advance, and I was one of very few people dressed as one should be for an interview,” Zordan said. “The impression the recruiters got was that I was ready for a challenge in the job market. Among dozens of students showing up in comfy clothes, they saw readiness in how seriously I took the fair.”

North Central College student Alice Zordan poses in the suit she received from the Cardinal Career Closet support program.

Alice Zordan

TTX Company, a Chicago-based freight car provider, offered Zordan a summer internship. She was told her suit impressed the company’s recruiters at the ACI fair. She spent the summer working on research, gathering user data and solving problems with business analysts from several different departments. The experience has her thinking boldly about her next steps.

“My internship imparted so much knowledge on me,” said Zordan. “I learned about project management, the importance of including an agenda when sending a meeting invite, and the significance of fruitful communication strategies. Working for TTX quickly turned into working with them. I know my experience will be a good starting point for my first job, and I hope to start my career at TTX.”

The Career Closet is coming up again in early winter 2019, and Zordan felt so good about how it helped her that she decided to play a role.

“This year I am project lead for the Career Closet,” Zordan said.  “I am helping with everything from advertising to donation collection and organization to logistics on the day of the event. The thing I am most excited about is the chance to share my story with other students.”

Zordan sees this as a great opportunity that sends a valuable message to North Central students.

“Resources like these let students know that the College is truly here for them, to see them succeed,” she said. “For every stage of a job search, the Career Development staff is here to prepare our students. We are all in!”

The Offices of Student Affairs and Career Development will accept donations for the Cardinal Career Closet beginning the week of November 19 and throughout the month of December. They are looking for coordinating suits, jackets and blazers, business dresses and skirts, dress slacks, dress shirts, and accessories such as ties, belts and shoes. Donations can be dropped off at the Career Development Drop-In Center located on the first floor of Oesterle Library at 320 E. School St. in Naperville during library hours. For more information on how to donate, email