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  1. Blog
  2. Interviewing
  3. February 21, 2020 (Updated December 14, 2021)

11 Essential Items to Bring to an Interview

Leave the chewing gum at home

what to bring to a job interview image
Image courtesy of Vonecia Carswell

You've rehearsed your answers and picked the perfect outfit - but what do you bring to an interview? While you have to do your due diligence by researching the company and practicing your interview skills, don't kill your chances by not bringing the right materials with you. 

Here are 11 essentials to bring that'll ensure you're well-prepared for your job interview

What to bring to an interview

1. Travel directions

Your phone could die, you lose signal, Google Maps suddenly isn't sure where you are... it's all possible. To avoid a disaster before you even get to your interview, bring a paper copy of your directions. If your car becomes unreliable, be ready to hail a taxi, use public transport, or walk—whatever will get you there in time. That's why you want to allot a lot of extra minutes to arrive by your scheduled interview time. If you make it on time, use the story to your advantage and show that you were prepared for the worst.

2. Resume

This one speaks for itself. Bring a few extra copies (five is a safe number) of your resume in case you meet with more than one person or want to leave a few copies for people you’ll be meeting with in the future. Put them in a folder to keep them wrinkle-free - even better if it's one that could protect them from getting wet. 

Read more: 19 Dos and Don’ts for Crafting Your Best Resume

3. Portfolio

Hard copy portfolios aren’t only for the creative professionals out there. Whether it’s a one-pager of social metrics, a copy of a magazine that featured your work, or positive feedback from clients, bring whatever will show that you’re an indispensable asset. It's helpful to be able to support the claims you'll be making about why you're the best fit for the job. 

4. List of references

Bring to your interview a list of references, just in case they ask. The list should include name, title, organization, phone number, and email address for each reference. Include their relationship to you (for example, Brenda was my boss for three years at [company name]). And - although you probably know this - make sure you're 100% comfortable with the references being contacted, in case the interview is a hit and they want to get in touch with your references right away. 

5. Business card

If you have a business card, bring a handful so you can pass one to each person you speak to. We promise it’ll take your networking to the next level. Don’t have a business card yet? Here are the best places to buy cheap business cards. Make sure it has the best contact info for you on it, so you don't miss a message. If it's an older card and there's a better email address or phone number to reach you, write that on the card. 

6. Notebook and pen

Taking notes during a job interview is totally acceptable (and encouraged) and will show that you’re an active listener. Don't copy down every word - you want to remain present. Focus on information you know you'll want to remember or that seem essential to the role. Jot down any names of other team members that are mentioned - people you might end up working closely with. 

7. Folder or Briefcase

As mentioned earlier, you're going to need something to hold all of these loose papers! Bring a professional briefcase or folder to your interview so you aren’t scrambling to hold together all of your materials. You also might be given some business cards or reference sheets you'll want to easily store so you aren't awkwardly carrying them out the door as you try to say goodbye. 

8. List of questions

You don’t have to spend the night before your interview trying to memorize a long list of questions to ask your interviewer. Write down your questions in your notebook along with any other talking points, and reference the list during the interview. If you get the list online from a "questions to ask during an interview" post, make sure to review it beforehand and customize the questions to this specific role or company, when appropriate. You don't want to pull out a printed paper you have barely looked at. 

9. Photo ID

You'll probably have it on you already, but make sure you bring a photo ID. It's often needed to identify yourself to clear security or gain access to the building your interview is in. 

10. The name and contact info of your interviewer

Write down the name of your interviewer as well as their phone number and email. You might need to reference their name to the receptionist or call them if you’re running late or if an emergency comes up. Putting their number in your phone (which should also be with you, on silent!) is even better. It’s also nice to have their email handy when it’s time to send a thank-you email after the interview.

11. Failsafes

Lastly, bring items to your job interview that’ll save the day in a pich: breath mints (no chewing gum, please), dry shampoo, a perfume roller, deodorant (hello, nervous sweat), and a bottle of water. Make sure to bring some cash or a credit card if you need to pay for parking. 

Read more: 6 Red Flags To Look for During Interviews

About the author

Photo of Cara Hutto

Cara Hutto

Assistant Editor

Cara Hutto is the assistant editor at InHerSight. Her writing primarily focuses on workplace rights, job searching, diversity, and allyship, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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