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VOL. 39 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 30, 2015

You have an interview! Now, what should you take with you?

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Hiring season is on! Chances are good you’ve been sending out your resume online for every interesting job out there. Soon, you’ll find yourself invited for in-person interviews.

These interviews can be exciting and nerve-wracking. They determine whether or not you get hired. Surprisingly, the reason you do (or don’t) get hired may have little to do with your ability to do the job.

Let’s face it, managers are human. Just like you and me, they make judgments. Whether or not it’s conscious, they’re going to make assumptions about you and your abilities based on outside factors.

So, let’s talk about something you’ll want to consider on your next interview. Keep in mind as you read this – you want to be yourself. But, you also want to minimize distractions, so you’re judged on your merit.

We spend a lot of time preparing what to say and what to wear, but what about what we take with us? That’s right, the things you carry make a difference too.

First, leave your keys in your car. Not your car key, but your other keys. When you’re walking, a ring full of keys can shake and make noise.

If you carry a handbag, consider leaving it in your car (in a secure place). What will you really need from your bag in the one or two hours you’ll be speaking with the company? Bring your photo ID, one credit card, and a $20 bill. Those three items can easily fit in your pocket and will help out in just about any situation you may need. Some companies require you show identification to enter the building. You may also find yourself paying for parking or some other expected expense, so the credit card and cash will cover you there.

Bring a leather portfolio. You can find these at any office store. They’re like an oversized folder that holds a pad of paper on one side and sheets of paper on the other. It also has tiny pockets inside for business cards. Do not bring a briefcase, a planner, or any other large binder. None of these options are clean or professional.

Stock your portfolio with the following items: a new pad of paper, a nice ink pen, your business cards and your resumes. Bring more business cards than the number of people you’re scheduled to meet. If you’re lucky, someone will introduce you to others. Bring resumes for everyone you’re scheduled to meet. Don’t assume they will print your resume in advance. They might, but if they don’t, you need to be prepared.

Select shoes that are comfortable and don’t make lots of noise when you walk. You don’t want to have heels clicking needlessly or sole squeaking sounds if you can avoid it.

None of these things are a reflection of your ability. However, appearing disorganized or making unnecessary sounds when you walk can be distracting and may prevent an employer from seeing the real you.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” She also hosts the Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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