Bringing copies of your resume to an interview is essential. It makes you look professional and prepared. However, you don't want to carrying slouchy bags or bulky cases filled with makeup or too many extras, so think carefully about how you are going to package your resume stylishly before you walk in the door. Your bag can reflect your personality, yet be impeccably professional. You have several options, so choose one that feels right for you.
Go for a minimalist look by carrying papers into an interview in a slim, leather zip-up portfolio in a conservative color, preferably black. Carry this tucked under your arm as you walk in, and then set it down on the floor against the leg of your chair as you sit. This way, your resume is immediately and conveniently ready to hand over should anyone ask for it.
A classic hard-sided briefcase is always an acceptable choice for an interview. A slimline version is best, and ensure that you can easily pop open the catches to access your documents inside. Don't carry any loose or extra items that could fall out of this type of case when the hinged lid is fully open.
If you want a little more room than a portfolio provides -- for instance if you want to be able to take in a bottle of water or a pack of tissues -- choose a professional-looking over-the-shoulder tote bag. It should have reasonably stiff sides so that it doesn't sag and crush your resumes, and it should be in a dark color and professional-looking material. Avoid anything with too many outside pockets -- it will look fussy.
While you won't take your laptop into an interview, many laptop bags can make ideal interview carry-alls. They are generally slimline and reasonably rigid and just the right size for papers. You'll also have room for a notebook and pen or other essentials.
Take several copies of your resume, not just one. Many interviews are conducted by a panel of several executives these days, and you want everyone on the panel to be able to have one in front of them. The best way to make sure these copies stay pristine -- no folds or dogears -- inside your portfolio or bag, is to slip them inside a manilla folder. This will also make locating your resume copies a snap when you reach into your bag.
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