You’re totally prepared to ace this job interview. You’ve cyber stalked the hiring manager, researched the company until you were blue in the face, and have practically committed the job description to memory.
So, you park your car to head into the interview, feeling ready to take the world by storm. That is, until you spill your hot coffee on your shirt. In your efforts to quickly wipe up the mess, you rip your tights, somehow drop the only copy of your resume directly into a sewer drain, and realize that you just locked your keys in your car.
This anecdote was likely enough to immediately give you heart palpitations. And, while it may be a somewhat exaggerated scenario, it definitely illustrates the need for being prepared for the absolute worst when you’re interviewing.
So, it’s definitely smart to have a few items in your bag that will help you tackle those mishaps and walk into your interview with confidence. Here are nine items that you should bring with you for every job interview.
Oh, and if you want to be safe, just don’t gamble with drinking any sort of beverage on your way to the interview. It never ends well.
1. Interview Cheat Sheet
Pictured: Etsy notebook
Interviews are definitely enough to rattle your nerves. So much so that you might not be able to remember your own name—let alone your interviewer’s name.
Bring along a quick and easy cheat sheet that includes important tidbits like the interviewer’s name and terms you should know, as well as the company’s address and contact information. You’ll be armed with all of the facts you need, and knowing that you have it will help to ease your pre-interview anxiety.
2. Fully Charged Phone
Pictured: BestElec phone charger kit
It’s Murphy’s Law—you’re probably going to hit bad traffic or get stuck in the subway on your way to the interview. This is especially true if you’re already running late.
Worst-case scenario, you need to call the company and let them know that you’re running a little behind. So, make sure you bring your fully-charged phone with you so that you can contact the hiring manager if necessary. If you’re feeling particularly paranoid, toss a portable phone charger into your bag as well. It never hurts to be extra prepared.
3. Breath Mints
Pictured: Ice Breakers breath mints
We’ve all been stuck conversing with someone who has absolutely terrible breath. And, you obviously don’t want to be that person.
Keep some breath mints in your bag and pop one (or eight) into your mouth before heading in for your interview. Because nothing says, “I’m the perfect candidate for this job!” like smelling minty fresh.
4. Stain Stick
Pictured: Tide to Go stain remover
Spills are inevitable—particularly when you’re either dressed up or wearing white. So, be ready to tackle those spots with a stain stick. Even if the mark is still a little damp from the detergent by the time you walk into your interview, it’s definitely better than showing up with pizza sauce all over your blazer. (Also, stop eating pizza before your interview.)
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Pictured: Urban Outfitters wallet
Money likely isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about a job interview—unless you’re dreaming about your desired salary. But, be proactive and keep at least a little bit of cash with you, in case you need to pay for parking or tip someone unexpectedly (you never know). Take it from someone who had to suck up her pride and get a parking ticket for not paying a meter, just so she could make a job interview on time. Cash comes in handy.
6. Extra Tights
Pictured: J. Crew tights
Ladies, we all know that tights are a pain. So, even though any female interviewers will likely sympathize, you still don’t want to show up with a giant run or tear in your tights.
Bring an extra pair, so that you can (awkwardly) change in a bathroom stall when disaster strikes. If nothing else, at least take along some clear nail polish so you can prevent any of those pesky runs from spreading. Showing up to your interview looking like you’re a professional cat scratching post isn’t recommended.
7. Compact Mirror
Pictured: Etsy compact mirror
You want to look your best for your interview, and a mirror will come in handy for straightening out those hairs that are out of place and making sure you don’t have anything on your face.
Gentlemen, you might think a mirror is only necessary for ladies to do their last-minute primping. But, it’s a good idea for you to keep one in your briefcase, too. After all, you don’t want to be gabbing at the interviewer with your lunch stuck in your teeth.
8. Extra Copies of Your Resume
Pictured: Etsy business portfolio
OK, so maybe you won’t end up dropping your resume into a sewer drain. But, it’s always smart to be prepared with a few extra copies. Perhaps your group of interviewers will be larger than expected. Or, maybe they’ll ask for a few extras to keep. Whatever the case, you want to be ready.
Pictured: Degree deodorant
If you’re one of those people who sweats when you get nervous, bringing some deodorant along with you is definitely advisable. Hey, nobody can fault you for your biological response to high-pressure situations. But, looking like you just ran a marathon when you really just walked the 20 steps from your parking spot to the office? Well, it just doesn't give the greatest impression.
There’s no doubt that interviews are nerve-wracking experiences. And, that’s especially true when you’re facing a crisis in the 11th hour. So, be prepared for the worst by keeping these nine simple items with you. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you never actually need to use them!
Photo of interview courtesy of Shutterstock.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author