11 Essential Items to Bring to an Interview


Image courtesy of Vonecia Carswell

Being well-prepared for your interview is key to making a good impression. While you still have to do your due diligence by researching the company and practicing your interview skills, don’t kill your chances by not bringing the right materials with you to your interview. 

So, what should you bring to an interview? Here are 11 essentials.

1. Travel directions

Just in case your phone dies or you lose signal and you can’t rely on Google Maps to get you to your destination on time, bring a paper copy of your directions. Hail a taxi, use public transport, or walk—whatever will get you there in time. Plus, if you manage to make it to your interview on time, use the story to your advantage and show that you were prepared for the worst. 

2. Resume

This one speaks for itself. Bring a few extra copies (five is a safe number) of your resume in case you meet with more than one person or want to leave a few copies for people you’ll be meeting with in the future. 

3. Portfolio

Hard copy portfolios aren’t only for the creative professionals out there. Whether it’s a one-pager of social metrics, a copy of a magazine that featured your work, or positive feedback from clients, bring whatever will show that you’re an indispensable asset. 

4. List of references 

Bring a list of references, just in case they ask. The list should include name, title, organization, phone number, and email address for each reference. Include their relationship to you (for example, Brenda was my boss for three years at [company name]).

5. Business card

If you have a business card, bring a handful so you can pass one to each person you speak to—we promise it’ll take your networking to the next level. Don’t have a business card yet? Here are the best places to buy cheap business cards. 

6. Notebook and pen

Taking notes during an interview is totally acceptable (and encouraged) and will show that you’re an active listener. 

7. Folder

You’re going to need something to hold all of these loose papers! Bring a professional briefcase or folder to your interview so you aren’t scrambling to hold together all of your materials. 

8. List of questions

You don’t have to spend the night before your interview trying to memorize a long list of questions to ask your interviewer. Write down your questions in your notebook along with any other talking points, and reference the list during the interview. 

9. Photo ID

It’s a good idea to bring a photo ID in case you need to identify yourself to clear security or gain access to the building your interview is in. 

10. The name and contact info of your interviewer

Write down the name of your interviewer as well as their phone number and email. You might need to reference their name to the receptionist or call them if you’re running late or if an emergency comes up. It’s also nice to have their email handy when it’s time to send a thank-you email after the interview. 

11. Failsafes

Lastly, bring items that’ll save the day in a pich: breath mints (no chewing gum, please), dry shampoo, a perfume roller, deodorant (hello, nervous sweat), and a bottle of water.

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