You’ve frantically prepared for this interview for at least a week. You’ve worked out your entire interview day schedule. You’ve triple checked─and check again─that you know where the interview is. You’ve made your lunch the night before, laid out your outfit, got into bed earlier than usual and set three “wake up” alarms.

Nothing can go wrong now, right?

Yet, with all of the pre-interview commotion, you’ve neglected to think about what you need to take on the day. So you pack your bag in a last-minute rush and keep your fingers crossed you haven’t forgotten anything important.

You don’t want to experience that eerie feeling in your stomach during your commute. The one asking you if you’ve remembered to bring this or that. So here’s a list of what you should always take to an interview.

Document up

Nothing would be more soul-destroying than turning up to your interview without the relevant documents. Documents you’re required to bring and/or those you feel could come in handy are best kept very close to you. Here are a few documents you may need to place in your bag well in advance to your interview:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s licence (provisional or full)
  • Spare CV
  • Printed copy of your portfolio
  • References

Food and drink supplies

Whether you’ve got a short walk, a train journey or you’re going by car to your interview, it’s important to be prepared food and drink-wise. Ensure you have a bottle of water with you as well as some kind of snack. If your belly rumbles as you walk into the interview, you’re going to immediately want to get out of there. The same goes for when your mouth goes dry after the first question and you’ve got no water to back you up.

Mean business

If you want to stand a chance, you need to look like you mean business. Employers and hirers want to see a candidate is professional and organised, so show you’re these two things. How can you prove this?

  • Bring with you a notepad and two pens. Not only will your interviewer see you’re serious because you’re taking notes, but you’ll be grateful later on when you’ve notes to look back on. Also write down any questions you have beforehand and, since they’re in your notepad, you’ll remember to ask them during the interview. As for the two pens? You’re going to look less than organised if one runs out! Come to think of it… take a handful with you!
  • Pack your diary! Maybe, on the spot, they’ll organise a second interview with you. It’s not wise to bring your phone out as they tell you a date, time and place. It’s also not wise to nod and try to remember these three things. Write down everything you need to know about this second interview into your diary so your interview brain doesn’t have to struggle to remember details.
  • Take business cards. Well, you never know when these might come in handy.

Important extras

There are plenty of extras you could easily forget in the run up to an interview. Here are a few you should definitely pack:

  • Train tickets
  • Railcard
  • Phone charger
  • Notes on the company/role (to read beforehand)
  • Written instructions on how to get to the interview
  • Nail file
  • Deodorant
  • Gum/mints
  • Make up (in case the commute does some damage)
  • Hair brush/comb
  • Tissue
  • Spare shoes (in case your smart shoes start to rub!)

The key to a successful interview is being organised. But that doesn’t just mean researching the company and role so that you know everything there is to know. It means feeling calm, ready and prepared on the day. The only sure way to make this happen is to ensure you write out a list of everything you need to do before the interview… and pack for it the night before.

Don’t sacrifice a good interview by not preparing your bag for every less than ideal scenario.

Author bio:

Kathryn Terry writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.

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