Landing an interview can be exciting, and you will definitely be putting in a lot of effort to prepare for it. One simple practice that can help you be better prepared: packing an interview kit!
Most recruiters might inform you beforehand about the documents that you should bring to the interview, but being prepared with your own interview kit is always more thorough – and can even be a lifesaver.
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Here’s a sample guide on how you can build your own interview kit – feel free to add or remove items as you see fit!
The absolute essentials
1. A professional document holder and/or bag
We recommend you carry a professional-looking case to store your documents and other items with ease, such as document holders, laptop bags or tote bags.
For the ladies: Avoid stashing all your documents in your handbag! Make a distinction between the private and the professional – keep your handbag to personal effects, and leave the professional documents within the document holder. You don’t want to be seen rummaging frantically in your handbag for things!
2. Directions and/or the company’s address
Always print out a hard copy of a map or written directions to your interview location and bring it with you – just in case. Sure, there’s the Internet and Google Maps, but Murphy’s Law can hit you in many ways: low phone battery, bad internet connection, and so on.
At the very least, make sure you have the address written down somewhere in black and white. Nothing’s worse than rushing to your destination only to find that you can’t confirm the address due to a lack of internet connection!
3. Requested documents, portfolio, copies of your resume and cover letter
Besides the documents requested by the recruiters, do bring at least two clean copies of your resume and cover letter along as well – especially if you are going for a panel interview. Some of the interviewers might not have read through your resume, and you’ll want to have a few extra copies prepared for their reference.
If you have a portfolio that can enhance your credibility and further demonstrate your skills, don’t forget to bring that too!
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4. An old-fashioned pen and notebook
To this, you might just shrug and say, “Well, I’ve got my phone or tablet; I can always just jot stuff in there”. But remember, not all recruiters might be receptive to you abruptly booting up your tablet and scribbling on it with your stylus. Besides, what if your tech decides to shut down or lag right then? Remember Murphy’s Law?
Our advice: do bring along a good old-fashioned pen (that’s working!) and a notebook for any note-taking that you may need to do.
5. Interview cheat sheet
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and while you’d like to present yourself as eloquently as possible, you can sometimes blank out or run out of things to say.
Having an interview cheat sheet prepared can minimise the chances of that happening. It should typically just be on a few palm-sized cue cards and written or printed in a legible font. You don’t want to be noisily flipping through sheets of paper and squinting at your notes in front of the interviewer!
Also, keep it short and sweet – if your notes are too long, you might be tempted to read verbatim instead of crafting your answer based on the actual question posed. Instead of sentences, jot down keywords in an order that you’re most comfortable with to help jog your memory, such as past experiences, projects, and skills that you’d like to highlight.
6. Phone and power bank
Make sure to fully charge your phone before the interview, and bring your power bank (also fully charged!) as well, just in case you do need to charge your phone.
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The extra good-to-haves
Breath mints, snacks, and water
Your body language and your attire will affect others’ first impression of you – from your handshake to your smile and posture. If you’ve just had an impressive meal before your interview, it might also be good to pop a breath mint!
For snacks, stick to something small but filling, like granola or protein bars, crackers, and fruits. Rather than comfort food for you to snack on when you’re nervous, these snacks should be to sustain you so that your interview isn’t interrupted by a growling stomach.
Most importantly, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated!
Read More: 6 Tips for Making a Great Presentation During an Interview
Essential self-grooming items
For the ladies, remember these four essential self-grooming items: stain remover stick, compact mirror, deodorant, and lip balm.
Emergency medical kit
Be aware of your own medical history, and bring any medication that you might need. Do include basic ones like paracetamol and allergy medication. Also, don’t forget band-aids (for those blisters you get from chafing shoes!).
An extra set of clothes
Worried about staining your shirt or accidentally ripping your tights while going up the stairs? You can consider bringing an extra pair of attire if it calms you, but make sure that you store it in a proper place so that it doesn’t detract from your professional look!
This article is contributed by gradsingapore.