Checklist: What to bring with you to a Job Interview

You have an interview. Hooray! Here is a checklist of items to bring with you.

  • Printed copies of your resume, on resume (linen stock) paper. Bring enough for as many interviewers as you may encounter plus extras in case you spill coffee on some of them.
  • Printed copies of your references, on resume paper. Bring names and contact info for at least 3, possibly 5 references.
  • A nice portfolio to keep the above in.
  • Potentially, a portfolio of work samples. For instance, reports and memos you’ve written or graphics you’ve designed. Or, for example, articles or books that you’ve published. Or even quotes from people who have recommended you on LinkedIn. Letters of reference, copies of certificates or credentials, or even copies of your degrees or transcripts. You may not have a time to show these materials, but why not bring them in case they could help you.
  • A list of questions for the interviewer.
  • Potentially, a list of ways you could help the organization.
  • A notepad for notes.
  • For the ladies, bring makeup, a nail file, tweezers, and at least one set of extra stockings.
  • Breath mints.
  • Directions to the place you need to go, including name and phone of the person interviewing you, street address, and driving or transit directions. Print them out on a piece of paper. Your phone could die and your GPS could fail. (Maybe I’m showing my Gen X-ness right now, but I just can’t imagine relying on a cell phone for everything). Give yourself a LOT of extra time, in case transit fails, car breaks down, you get mugged on the way, you get lost, or the company has an elaborate security check-in procedure.
  • If it makes you feel better, you quick answers to the “tell me about yourself”, “why should we hire you”, and “problem-action-result” accomplishment stories that match the job description.
  • Your research on the company. Their printed 990 tax return from Guidestar, annual report, recent news articles.

To wear:

  • A suit. A matching blazer and skirt or pants, a nice, clean, pressed top, conservative jewelry for women, and good grooming. Wear deoderant and brush your teeth. Get your nails done if you really want.
  • If you’re not sure if you should wear a suit–like if you’re going for a really laid-back nonprofit on the West Coast and don’t want to look too corporate–check their website in advance to see what the staff photos look like, or do a Google image search for staff names to see what they wear. Or if you want to really be sure, scope out the place the day before and observe people entering and leaving the building. When truly in doubt, give a call in advance and ask about the dress code.
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