Deciding what to bring to a job interview can be a big decision and may require some preparation. Regardless of the job you are interviewing for, there are several items to consider bringing to your interview. If you are unsure of whether you need an item, you can still bring it in case you need to use it during the interview. In this article, we share 11 essential items to bring to a job interview and discuss the importance and benefits of each.
What to bring to a job interview
Here is a list of 11 essential items to consider bringing to your job interview:
1. Copies of your resume and cover letter
Bringing copies of your resume and cover letter to a job interview is important because it allows you to provide the interviewing committee with your information. Although they might already have copies of your resume or cover letter with them, bringing your own copies for them may show them you are serious about the position and have strong organizational skill sets. Typically, you'll want to bring at least four to five copies of each document. This is important because it's better to have extra copies than not enough for everyone on a hiring committee.
You may also choose to bring copies for yourself to reference during the interviewing process to help remind you of specific talking points. For example, if an interviewer asked you about your relevant skill sets and you have a copy of your resume, you can reference it to ensure you highlight all of them. Knowing you have this point of reference may also help calm any nerves.
2. Information for your job references
Bringing information for your job references to a job interview is important because the interviewers might want to contact them after meeting with you. Although they may already have this information if you listed it on your resume, it can't hurt to provide them with information for your job references again. You can present this information to them along with your resume and cover letter copies. Doing this may also show them you are serious about the position and have strong organizational skill sets.
Typically, you will want to include at least three job references. These individuals can be former managers, colleagues, teachers, or friends. Although, it's important to understand that interviewers may look for references who have previously worked with you in professional settings.
3. A portfolio with work examples
Bringing a portfolio with examples of your professional work to a job interview is important because it provides opportunities for you to share your previous work and industry-related knowledge. Here is what to consider including in your portfolio:
- Examples of previous projects you've worked on
- Measurable results of the projects you've worked on
- Skill sets or technologies used for each project you've worked on
You may also choose to include additional information in your portfolio with work examples. This might also be an item that you bring a copy of to the interview. For example, bringing a copy of the portfolio for you to reference and a copy for the hiring committee to reference as you engage with each other. This can help feature the professional experiences from your resume more extensively.
Related: How To Make a Portfolio
4. Writing materials and utensils
Bringing writing materials and utensils to a job interview is important because you can use them for notes. You might write notes down prior to attending the interview, like specific talking points or transferrable skill sets from any non-industry-related experiences. You can also use these to write questions for your interviewers, which you can usually during your interview.
As your interview is happening or the interviewers are speaking about the position and company, you can use these to take notes for you to reference later. This may be helpful if you are seeking specific benefits from positions or specific company values. Some examples of items to bring include pencils, pens, or notebooks.
5. Organizing materials
Bringing organizing materials to a job interview is important because it can make it easier for you the materials you brought when you enter the interview. Here are some examples:
- Folder for your resume, cover letter, and references copies
- Binder for your portfolio with work examples
- Container for your writing materials
These can help you present yourself professionally and well-organized to your interviewer or hiring committee. Depending on your preference, you may choose to organize your materials differently. The most important thing is to organize them in a way that makes sense to you, to help you feel comfortable and prepared when you walk into your interview.
6. Personal talking points
Bringing personal talking points to a job interview is important because they can help you if you are nervous and forget what to talk about. To determine these talking points, you might examine the job description and post in relation to your resume. This can help you identify important experiences and skills to highlight from your previous professional work, which you can then translate into bullet points.
You may write these bullet points on the paper or notepad you plan to bring to your interview. Then, when you are in your interview, you can reference them as needed to ensure you highlight everything they're looking for in a candidate. It might also benefit you to practise incorporating these talking points naturally into conversations, to ensure you don't sound too rehearsed in your interview.
7. Questions for your interviewer
Bringing questions for your interviewer to a job interview is important because they might ask if you have questions for them. Preparing questions for them prior can show them you are serious about the position and working for their company. Your questions might be about the position's duties and responsibilities or the company. Researching the company can help you determine what questions you would like to ask.
You can record these questions on your paper or notepad as well for reference when you are in your interview. Typically, you want to have at least two questions prepared. Although, you might also think of additional questions to ask during your interview.
8. A personal bag or briefcase
Bringing a personal bag or briefcase to a job interview is important because it provides a space for you to keep all of your materials organized. For example, when you walk into your interview with a bag or briefcase, you can easily pull out your needed materials and leave other items out of sight, like your cellphone or car keys.
To determine what should stay in a personal bag or briefcase, you might think about what items you need or plan to use during your interview. If something does not fall within that category, then it might be best to keep it in your personal bag or briefcase for the duration of your interview. It's also important to check that your phone is on silent before you enter your interview to prevent any unnecessary interruptions.
9. Business cards
Bringing business cards to a job interview can provide benefits because it highlights your professionalism and provides interviewers with another form of your personal contact information. Business cards typically feature your full name, phone number, and email address. This makes it easy for the interviewer to contact you in a variety of ways when they've made their decision.
If you are interviewing for a design-related position, this might also provide an opportunity for you to showcase your design skill set. Bring several business cards with you so you can hand them out to everyone on the hiring team if you have more than one interviewer.
Related: How To Prepare for a Job Interview
10. Identification (ID)
Bringing an identification card to a job interview is important because some companies may ask to verify your identity prior to your interview when you check in. They might want to do this in case they intend to do a background check later on in the hiring process. Although this may not be the case for all companies, it's better to have your identification and not use it than need it and not have it with you.
11. Destination directions
Preparing destination directions prior to a job interview is important to ensure you don't get lost on your way to your interview. It might benefit you to search for directions the day prior to estimate how long it may take you to get there, so you know when you need to leave for your interview. When estimating how long it may take you to get there, it's better to overestimate the time or account for any extra time if an unexpected delay occurs.