Careers & Education

What to bring for a job interview

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Women in job interview
Ace your job interview by being prepared with such things as extra resume copies, appropriate business attire, your research and questions about the company, letters of recommendation and references
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What you bring to your job interview can make or break the deal.

Congratulations! Your hard work, persistence and your resume have finally landed you a job interview.  Increasingly in today's tough job market, that's an accomplishment that is hard to achieve. So, don't blow it! 

The Obvious

Needless to say, but a gentle reminder of the obvious—be prepared by knowing in advance what to bring for a job interview. Don't get up the morning of the big event and then decide what you're going to wear, what to throw in your briefcase or handbag or what questions you want to ask the interviewer.

So, the first thing one would take for a job interview would be you, well put together. Make certain, days before, that your clothes are clean and pressed. Choose an outfit that is slightly conservative because you never know whether your interviewer is going to be a fashion icon or someone who thinks mini-skirts or cartoon ties should be banned.

For men, the important considerations are whether to wear a suit or jacket and trousers. Wear a dark suit for a more authoritative air but avoid black as it can seem funereal. Even if you know the company has a casual dress policy it's still a good idea to dress in slightly smarter attire to show you've made the effort.

For women, the decision to wear a pants suit, a dress or a regular business suit should be one that veers to the more traditional, a business suit.  But wear comfortable shoes (we all know that if our feet hurt, it can show in our faces!) Also, a stylish briefcase looks more professional than a handbag.

Know Your Stuff

Hopefully, you've done your research on the company to which you're applying and you are knowledgeable enough to ask intelligent questions. At some point in the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is where your research and preparation pays off. Have a couple of questions prepared that show you are interested and informed about the company or ask for more detailed information about the position you're applying for. Bring those questions with you.  

What else should you bring for a job interview?


-- Bring necessary documentation. Make a checklist of documents that you will need for the interview and make sure that you have them in your briefcase before leaving home. These documents should include extra copies of your resume, a passport, driver's license, Social Security card or portfolio of writing samples or other professional work. 


-- You should also bring your college transcripts if you are a recent graduate.


-- Bring enough copies of your resume to give one to each interviewer. That is why it is a good idea to ask ahead of time (when the interview is set up) how many people will be present.


-- Include copies of your reference list. Find at least three key people — former supervisors, colleagues or instructors — who are willing to serve as your professional references. Be sure to get their permission beforehand and be certain they will speak highly of you if contacted by a potential employer.


-- Have paper and a pen so you can note the interviewer's name, the time of any future interview or other information you might need later. Make sure you get the proper spelling of the interviewers' names and be sure to send them a thank you note after the interview. Try not to take too many notes during the interview unless it's essential information.


-- Have copies of letters of recommendation, if you have any.


Important Reminders


Whatever you do, if you have your cell phone with you, turn it off! Keep it out of sight in your briefcase and cancel any alarms you may have programmed. And, don't even think about chewing gum even if a piece is offered to you (there are very few people that can manage to look attractive while chewing). If you're a smoker, be sure you use mouth wash before greeting anybody including the receptionist.

Remember, first impressions count. Most people don't get a second chance. Good luck!

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