What You Should Bring to a Job Interview

What You Should Bring to a Job Interview

There's nothing worse than being unprepared for a job interview.  After all the work you go through to get an interview, the last thing you want is to make a bad impression by not having everything you need. By knowing what you should bring to an interview, you can feel confident during. In fact, you may even be able to impress the interviewer!

Making the Other Preparations

Once you get a phone call confirming an interview, you have some work to do. There's a lot of preparation behind successful Interviews. For one, you need to familiarize yourself with the company.  What's their mission statement? Delve deep into their history and current projects. You may be able to make a lasting impression on the interviewer thanks to your research.

It's also essential to take a look at the job listing. As you do, pick out a few keywords that you want to use during your interview. There should be a few words that really stand out, or that are repeated a few times.

Finally, there's the issue of what to wear. You might need to go shopping to find a confidence-inspiring outfit, so be sure to pick out your outfit in advance of your interview. While you think about what to wear, you should consider what briefcase or purse to bring. And before you decide on that, you need to consider what you need to take with you on the day of your interview. If your bag is too small, you'll be left juggling pens and papers in your hands. But a bag that's too large will look ridiculous.

What You Need to Bring

Every job listing is unique. However, most job interviews are relatively similar. Even though the interviewer will have job-specific question, there are a few things every interviewer will expect you to bring.

Extra Copies of Your Resume

An interviewer doesn't always have a copy of your resume on hand. For that reason, you should show up to an interview with extra resumes. As a general rule, you should always have at least  five copies of your resume on hand. If someone asks for a copy of your resume, you'll be ready.

Don't throw your resumes in a bag as you walk out the door to go to your interview. Instead, take the time to keep your resumes in a folder or folio. This will prevent the papers from wrinkling and make them easily accessible. You won't need to fumble around your briefcase to pull out a bent resume.

Pen and Paper

During the interview, you may want to take some notes. You can also use your pen to write down your thoughts on a certain question, if you're not sure how to answer. Additionally, you never know when an employer will ask you to fill out some paperwork.

Before you pack your pen, make sure it works. Have a second pen as a back-up. Avoid using any color other than black or blue, as that may be seen as unprofessional.

A Notebook

Of course, a pen won't do you much good without any paper. But loose sheets of paper don't make a good impression. For all of your note-taking needs, use a notebook. If it's not a new notebook, make sure the first blank page is easily accessible.

If you have any details you want to mention during your interview, write them down on the paper. It's also beneficial to write down two or three questions for the hiring manager. When they ask you if you have any questions, you can refer back to your notes.

Reference List

An interviewer won't always ask for a reference list, but it's likely that they will. Although they may be willing to allow you to send over a list at a future time, a hiring manager would prefer you to have it with you.

Before starting your job search, you should have a reference list that's up-to-date. If you have a hard time finding references, look back to former teachers and community leaders. Avoid using friends or family members as references.

The day before your interview, print out five copies of your reference list. While this might seem excessive, it can't hurt to be prepared. Store them in a folder, but keep them separate from your resume. If you don't receive a reference request at the end of the interview, ask the interviewer if they want your references.

Floss or Breath Mints

If you plan on eating or drinking anything before your interview, you should carry floss or breath mints with you. Depending on your eating habits, you might also want to bring toothbrush and toothpaste.

This tip is more about confidence than anything else. When you're preoccupied about your breath or doubting your smile, you won't be able to be your true self. Brushing your teeth or having a mint before your interview could be that boost of confidence that you need.


In today's world of smartphones and highly localized GPS, most people don't think to bring directions to their interview. However, you can never predict when technology will fail you. It's always a good idea to print out directions to your interview location.

To ensure that you arrive in a timely manner, you should also try the drive out a few days before the interview. If possible, make the drive during the same time of your interview. This will allow you to understand the local traffic patterns and plan ahead for bad traffic.

Even with a test run, you should aim to arrive between 10 and 15 minutes early for your interview. Arriving late won't immediately disqualify you for the position, but it will be a strike against you.

Job-Specific Items

If you applied for a position in marketing, you should bring a copy of your portfolio. Meanwhile, someone who applied for a web design position should consider bringing a list of websites they created. Before your interview, consider whether you have any documents that could showcase your qualifications.

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