Have you ever shown up for an interview with just a purse or a man tote? We didn’t think so. Chances are, you at least brought a portfolio but you’d be surprised at how many people forget some of the basics. Hence, it’s time for a refresher course!
For starters, you should definitely bring a few hard copies of your current resume. She points out in the piece, ”Make sure you use high-quality resume paper and that your ink cartridge is fresh before printing this important document.”
Next on the must-have list? A portfolio folder, nice pen and paper. First, you’ll need the portfolio to house your resume but for another reason, you should definitely have a notepad. Be sure to research the company and interviewers ahead of time to jot down questions. (And yes, in case you’re wondering you can definitely refer to them during the interview if you draw a blank when it comes to the questions at the end.) Little things count, too like investing in a Cross pen rather than a dog-eared Bic ballpoint from the office.
Feel free to jot down things the interviewer says as well whether it’s a direct answer to your question or they start talking about an organizational chart and structure of the organization.
Another use of the portfolio, of course, is your book of designs, your clips, anything showcasing your work. She adds, “Portfolios add value for a number of careerists, especially graphic artists, other creative folks, and sales professionals. ”
Lastly, she recommends having references on hand. Although most employment applications ask you to list the names, titles and contact information, it doesn’t hurt to have them included on a sheet of paper in your handy dandy folder. In addition to pertinent information, she recommends leveraging references in terms of the relationships themselves.
“Also, connect the relationship dots between you and the reference. Explain in writing that they were your boss, customer, direct report, etc. Identify a specific area of your value that the reference can confirm. For example, if this person tapped you to spearhead a large, complex project that was limited on resources and time, and you finished successfully and ahead of schedule, then you may suggest that this person can confirm your abilities in complex project management, problem solving, and containing costs.”
In the end, Barrett-Poindexter reminds us, “You won’t get a second chance at this first impression.” Make it a good one!