What Size Bag to Take to an Interview

Stick with a dark color and minimal hardware if you choose a tote.

Stick with a dark color and minimal hardware if you choose a tote.

Once you get your job interview outfit organized, you're apt to breathe a sigh of relief. But don't relax just yet. Inevitably, there will be a few personal effects you'll carry into the interview, and you need just the right size bag to accommodate them while retaining your professional look.

Contents

A range of sizes is acceptable for the bag you'll carry into the interview. One of the main factors that will determine the size is the number of items you want to carry. You should carry several hard copies of your resume, so your bag will need to accommodate at least a letter paper-sized folder, and be constructed so that it can stay straight. This means your tiny purse is out. Next, list the other items you want to carry, which might include a water bottle, a notebook and pen, your cellphone (in the "off" position), your car keys, tissues, breath mints and a comb.

Briefcase

The classic choice for an interview carry-all is the traditional, hard-sided briefcase. This looks professional, keeps your documents protected, and is large enough for your extra items. They are expensive, though, so if you don't already have one, it's not the only choice you have.

Portfolio

If you have chosen very few additional items, you will be able to use a leather portfolio, which neatly accommodates the resume copies you bring, and perhaps one or two other slim items. This is an efficient, minimalist choice, which will look the smallest and least bulky as you walk into the interview.

Tote Bag

It's pretty easy to find a dark-colored, professionally styled over-the-shoulder tote, which should be able to hold your documents and all the other things you need. This is the comfort choice. You can take quite a few extra items, while retaining a professional look, if you choose carefully. Don't pick anything too slouchy, however, and don't go with a messenger bag style, which is too casual for the setting.

 

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