Interviewing can be a stressful and scary process. When you start your job hunt, you can lighten a little bit of that stress by preparing yourself an interview kit.
What is an interview kit? It’s all the stuff you need for a job interview – the clothes, shoes, spare resumes and something to carry your stuff in. If you get the call back for an in-person interview – the last thing you want is to find out your interview outfit is dirty and you don’t have time to dry clean.
First, decide on your interview outfit. This will depend on what industry you’re in and the types of jobs you’re applying for. A great rule of thumb is that you want to dress about one step up from what you would wear to the job daily. Is it a business casual job? Then you’ll want to wear business formal. Is it a job that requires a lot of physical activity? You’ll want to wear functional business casual. If you’re applying to jobs where workplaces have varying dress codes, you’ll want to prepare a few interview outfits.
Make sure your interview outfit is clean and ironed. That way, you don’t have to worry about running to the cleaners or doing ironing at the last minute. Just prepare the clothes and hang them in your closet.
Decide on your interview shoes. These depend on what kind of job you’re applying for. Think about the workplace. Will you need to wear shoes with safety toes? Will you need to wear dress shoes? No matter what they are, make sure they’re clean and in good order.
Next, make sure you have extra printouts of your resume. At your interview, you may speak with a few different people, and at least some of them will probably want to review your resume. Take care of these in advance because realizing your printer is out of ink the morning of your interview will add unnecessary stress. If you’re in a career that generally requires a portfolio or more in-depth CV, make sure to prepare copies of those as well. Plus, if you’re able to offer a copy of your resume during your interview, you’ll look professional and well prepared.
Finally, make sure you have a professional way to carry your interview necessities. This will depend on what you like to carry and what kind of career you’re in. If you’re not the type to carry a purse or work bag, a professional-looking, inexpensive padfolio is a great option. You’ll have paper to take notes, a folder sleeve to store your extra resumes plus spaces for a pen and the business cards you’ll likely collect at your interviews.
If you do like to carry a purse or a bag, make sure you have one that looks professional. It doesn’t need to be expensive, just make sure it’s clean and in good shape. Avoid big brand names or anything that draws too much attention. You want your interviewer to notice you – not your bag.
If you have these few things together, when you get the call for an interview, you don’t need to stress about the little things. You’ll be ready to focus on the questions and showing your best stuff.