What to Bring with You for a Make-or-Break Interview

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Make-or-Break Interview

Interviews are always stressful, but they’re even more so when you feel like there’s a lot at stake.

When you’re interviewing for a job that could dramatically change your life and career, it’s natural to stress a bit. Just don’t let that stress keep you from arriving prepared. Because your preparation could truly make or break the interview. 

In this post, we’re going to cover what to bring with you for a make-or-break interview. 

1. Pen and paper

Since we’re listing must-haves, we cannot forget a pen and paper — and you shouldn’t either. If you show up without these things, it sends the message that you either are completely incompetent or you just don’t care about the job. Either way, this is a simple thing that could cost you an important job. Double and triple-check that you have a working pen and some blank paper to write on during your interview. 

2. Five copies of a well-tailored resume

Hopefully, you’ve already submitted a tailored resume for this position — because that’s what would have landed you the interview. But it’s not enough to submit it once. You really must show up with enough copies for everyone, including yourself.

These days, it’s common to have multiple interviews in one day or to have multiple interviewers in on one interview. So don’t assume this is going to be a one-and-done kind of thing. Bring five copies of your resume, so you can give one to each person you encounter during the interview process. They may already have their own, but it’ll reflect well on you if you’re prepared. 

You’ll want your own copy so you can follow along as they refer back to your resume with questions. 

3. A list of references

You will probably have to list references on an application, but also bring copies of references to give your interviewer. Format your list, so anyone can clearly see the names, contact information and relationship of all your references. 

And if you have any, bring any letters of recommendation along with you too. You want to show that you’re eager to prove your work experience and worthiness, and handing an interviewer a list of references says you’ve got nothing to hide. Still, you don’t want to overdo it, so three to five valuable references should be plenty (a former boss has more value than your sister’s boyfriend).

4. A professional bag or briefcase

You might be tempted to pop a pen and notepad into your back pocket, but this is about as messy as it sounds. Not only could your pen explode, but you’re likely to look unprepared and unprofessional. You don’t have to go out and spend a bunch of money on a designer leather bag or briefcase, but you should have something that looks clean and professional. 

If you don’t have something like this, you may be able to borrow from a friend or pick something up at a thrift store. Your interviewer probably won’t notice your bag if it’s appropriate, but they’ll notice if it isn’t. And that’s never a good thing. We all want to stand out, but for the right reasons.

5. Breath mints

As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. And no one wants to be referred to as the candidate with stinky breath. So be sure to bring some breath mints you can pop into your mouth right as the interview begins. 

Not only will it help keep your breath fresh, but it’ll also give you confidence. When you know your breath is fresh, you’re more likely to speak up and articulate your answers.

6. Directions or a GPS

We all know that there’s little worse than being late for a job interview. It’s so bad, in fact, that you might reconsider even showing up if you’re more than five minutes late. So to avoid bombing the interview before it even begins, be sure to bring directions and/or a reliable GPS. This will help ensure that you’ll get to where you have to go on time. 

For extra points, if you have time, do a test run in the days leading up to your interview. Take a drive at the time of your interview (be sure it’s a weekday) and see how long it will realistically take you to get there. And from there, add about fifteen to twenty minutes. This should be the time you leave your house on the morning of the interview to ensure you show up on time.

Those are the tangible things you should bring to an important interview, but remember that intangible things like confidence and passion are equally as important. Bring everything you can to impress your interviewer. 

We all know that interviews can be stressful, but when you arrive prepared, even the scariest situation can seem more manageable.

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