What You Forgot to Take to Your Interview

Chuck Ingwersen, 2008

If you show up to an interview with nothing but a resume, then you are forgetting something. As great as your resume may be, that piece of paper isn’t going to get you hired. When interviews just aren’t getting results, equip yourself with a few more tools. Some are obvious, some seems silly, but every one of these can come in handy.

  1. Resume Portfolio. Don’t walk in with a resume just flying around in your hand. It doesn’t look professional, and your interviewer might not even ask for a copy. Then what will you do, put it under your chair? Resume portfolios look professional, and you can get a portfolio for under $10. You can also fit almost everything on the rest of this list into your portfolio.
  2. Pen. Your portfolio might even have a spot for a pen. Pens come in handy if you need to write down an email address or phone number. You will seem unprepared if you have to ask the interviewer to borrow a pen. It’s not heavy, and it doesn’t take up much room. Always have a pen, and make sure it doesn’t have the name of another company printed on it. A plain black pen works nicely.
  3. Extra Resumes. You do not want to show up with one resume to find out you have two or three or more interviewers. Take ten copies. You probably won’t need them all, but at least you will have enough.
  4. A Pad of Paper. Don’t take notes on the back of your resume. Have a clean pad of paper in your resume portfolio.
  5. Samples of Your Work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a journalist, graphic designer, photographer, or any other profession. Have some work to show. This shows preparation and some credibility for your accomplishments.
  6. Questions. Don’t wait until the interview to think of questions to ask at the end. Have a few in mind. You can also write them on the pad of paper in your resume portfolio. It shows you came prepared and did some research. If you’re nervous, this will also keep you from forgetting your questions.
  7. Transcript. They might not ask for it. But what if they do? Keep a copy or two in your portfolio just in case.
  8. References. You might not be asked for references either. But you don’t want to have to pull out your phone to look up names and numbers. Just keep a typed list of two or three names, emails, and phone numbers in your portfolio.
  9. Granola Bar. If your stomach growls loudly when you get hungry, carry a small snack to eat before the interview.
  10. Breath Mints. Not gum, but mints. You want fresh breath, but you don’t want to be chomping on gum during the interview.
  11. A Smile. Don’t forget to bring a smile to the interview. Show that you are enthusiastic about the job. If you forget everything else on this list, at least show your interviewer your positive attitude.
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