Don’t show up empty-handed. Use this checklist to make sure you know what to bring to an interview.
Picture this nightmare: You walk into an interview for your dream job, shake hands with the hiring manager, sit down, and then realize you’ve arrived completely empty-handed. We’re talking no copies of your resume, no pen and paper for notes—heck, it’s a miracle you remembered to put on deodorant!
Unfortunately, your lack of preparation may have just cost you your dream job.
To prevent something like this from happening, you should start preparing for your interview as soon as a company gets in touch with you about your candidacy. Use this comprehensive checklist to make sure you have everything you need to make a good first impression in the job interview. This way you’ll show up prepared 100% of the time.
What to bring to an interview
We’re about to outline a significant amount of paperwork you need to bring to a job interview, so first things first, you’ll want to have a folder where you can neatly store these documents.
This simple act also shows you’re organized, says Denver-based millennial career coach Jenn DeWall, which is a soft skill many employers look for in candidates.
2. Several copies of your resume
You most likely already submitted your resume when you applied for the job, but don’t assume the interviewer will have a copy of it on hand. “Hiring managers get busy and sometimes forget to print out your resume,” DeWall says.
Why bring multiple copies? “You never know how many employees you’re going to be meeting with,” says Rachel Loock, a career coach at the University of Maryland. “It’s rare you only meet with [the hiring manager].”
3. Business cards
Although your resume should include your contact information, and business cards may seem old school, it can’t hurt to bring them with you, says millennial career coach Anastasia Button. They’re easy to carry, and “you never know if someone is going to ask for one,” Button says. It’s always better to have a few handy, just in case.
4. Portfolio/work samples
If you’re in a creative industry—like advertising, journalism, graphic design, architecture, or fashion—you should bring samples of your work that you can give to the interviewer. “Offer to send your full portfolio electronically later on,” Button says.
Depending on what you do, you may also want to have a sheet that showcases positive feedback you’ve received from past clients on your work.