The Essential Interview Kit

When you’re hunting for that elusive job, you will need to pack quite the toolkit. Whether you’re toting a plastic folder, a flashy attaché case, or a hybrid of the two, you will need a ‘kit’ to navigate job fairs, interviews, and the occasional run-in with a recruiter on the street. Sure, you may know some of the things to bring in your kit, but do you have the full she-bang to knock ’em dead? Check this handy list I compiled based on what I have heard from friends/family/colleagues/bosses/etc.

Example leather folder/attaché. Image courtesy of High Veld Promotions

  1. Your Resume. The most important part of your kit is your resume. It is your life on a piece of paper, expertly edited to be appealing and concise. If your resume is a novella, an overly dramatic sonnet of your skill set, or overall wordy, edit it down to just to essential: your recruiter probably doesn’t need to learn your life story. Keep it clean, keep it concise, keep it classy. Most importantly, keep it relevant: have a few different resumes for different job openings.
  2. Attaché Case/Folder. Walking around with a stack of resumes isn’t going to impress most people, and let’s be honest, this is a no-brainer. Make sure your case is understated, crisp, classy, and not overly promotional. If you attended an ivy and think this might give you an advantage, by all means have your college emblazoned across your folder. However, if you advertise your college, your previous employer (ex. carrying your resumes in a Google folder), or yourself (your name stamped into the folder) you may be making too loud of a statement. While others might be impressed that you went to say, Harvard for undergrad, consider whether it makes much of a different if your resume isn’t flashy enough to match. If you keep it simple, you can let your resume speak louder than your folder.
  3. Pen/Pencil. Beyond necessary is a pencil or pen to write quick notes about jobs, employers, or facts about the recruiter you met. For example, how many times have you gotten a business card and then forgotten the person’s face after you met (or the conversation you had). Carrying a pencil or pen to jot a few notes to help you remember that conversation or face will help you stay on top of who you met and why you met them, leading to a more successful interview.
  4. Notepad. For interviews especially, keeping a notepad will be crucial to having a competitive edge. Staring blankly at the recruiter is probably not the best option, and rather than fidgeting and being terrified, writing notes about the job, company, even notes about what it is you’re looking for in your career can help. Writing won’t just make you look more engaged: taking meaningful notes to jog your memory about how the interview went will also help you stay focused.
  5. Business/Networking Cards. If you have a business card, use it! The more professional and prepared you can look, the more opportunity you have to impress people. If someone asks for your resume, obviously hand them a resume (NOT A CARD). However if they ask for materials about you, feel free to hand them both a card and resume, demonstrating that you are more prepared. Don’t forget though, that if you are using business cards from a previous employer to establish a good rapport: you can be your recruiter will call them if you hand out one of their cards.

Anyways, I hope this helps (sorry about the delay this time!)

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