Job Interview Bag Essentials

As you are now well aware, I was laid off before the holidays and have since been going into the city for some job interviews. Although an interview outfit post is soon coming, I also wanted to share what is in my bag and my current interview bag essentials. I should note that this list of items are a bit winter specific in some cases and that I omitted the obvious such as my cell phone, keys and wallet. Take a look!



1.) A nice purse
Its no secret that I obsess over handbags. If there is anything I will splurge on with little to no regrets, it would have to be a nice handbag. (Don’t judge me.) Though recently it has been argued that brand name bags help you land that coveted job, I see no shame in using a “no name” bag as long as they are presentable (no tears or scratches) and reflect your personal style positively.  This Urban Expressions bag (similar here) is actually one that I bought for my study abroad trip to France back in 2013 and it is one of the biggest bags I own which is why I use it so often for interviews as it can easily fit a folder or portfolio. The adjustable shoulder strap also makes it easy to carry as I maneuver the craziness that is the New York City transit system.

2.) Portfolio
One should always be sure to have ready copies of your resume and relevant work samples, preferably in a portfolio to ensure that it retains its presentable format. Why a portfolio and not a folder? Well, I find that a portfolio gives me something to hold my resume, as well as the chance to take some notes during the interview.  Currently I own three portfolio’s, one of which is reserved for presentations and workshops,  but the greenroom dot clipfolio is the best as it is made of 100% recycled paper, holds a 8.5 x 11 writing pad and has a sturdy writing surface on the front- perfect for filling out any forms you may be handed during the interview, like NDAs.


3.) EOS lip balm/NYX Lipstick & Butter Gloss
I don’t use much makeup beyond lip color which is why I own quite a couple of lipsticks and glosses with a hint of color, like my signature Devils Food Cake NYX butter gloss. For a more natural look I reach for my eos lip balm especially during the winter. I have just replaced my strawberry sorbet with coconut milk soft lip balm and I love it. The natural conditioning oils and shea butter immediately softens my lips and repairs any damage that the harsh winter air may have done. Recently I have started this habit of applying a bit of the eos  balm before following up with my new NYX lipstick in chaos red. I find that this ensures a smooth application that lasts longer.

4.) Claw clip/ Hair ties/comb
What I carry in regards to hair care basically depends on how I am style my hair, be it curly or straight. In the fall and winter I usually sport straight hair in a style that keeps it clear from my face. Side buns, ponytails and pinned back styles are my go-to hairstyles, but whether or not they will arrive to the interview site intact is always questionable.  I have had those rare instances in which my perfect hairstyle snags on someone’s backpack zipper while on the train and even random encounters with people that just reach out to touch (or even pull) my hair  making it instantly lose its definition and  fizz, leading me to have to think of something quick in order to be interview-ready. For that reason,  I make a point to arrive to the interview site at least 15 minutes early with the plan being that I will have enough time to pop in the bathroom for a quick fix if its necessary. My current favorite clips and hair ties are from Goody; I alternate between the two depending on what hairstyle I decide to go with on the fly.

5.) First aid kit with Pepto Bismlo Chewable Tablets
Whenever I am nervous my stomach tends to get upset and this only increases whenever I eat something prior to my scheduled interview. In order to avoid any potential disasters I make sure to have Pepto Bismlo tablets with me at all times which I discretely hold in this Johnson & Johnson travel first aid kit.  (Having a first aid kit in my bag may seem a tad extreme but when you are as clumsy as I am it becomes necessary. I have yet to use it within the frame of traveling to and from an interview, but as they say “better safe than sorry.”)


6.) Lint roller
The winter brings on the need for coats, sweaters, scarves, and hats that sometimes leave unwanted fluff on you outfit. After all, the interviewer is going to notice everything about you A travel lint roller ensures that all of that fluff is removed so to retain a polished appearance once you go in to meet your potential employer.

7.) Hand-sanitizer and tissues
It is winter and with this season comes an increase in chances of getting sick with a cold or the flu. I make a point not to schedule an interview when I’m sick, yet with all the hands that you shake when you meet people it only gets harder to avoid getting sick, so I make sure to have hand sanitizer with me to avoid the spread of germs. My current favorite is the Simply Clean Aloe enriched Coconut Lime sanitizer from Target as it comes in this chic jeweled plastic clip-on white and black case as well as dries very quickly and has a very pleasant scent.  I also carry these cute and inspirational facial tissues I got from Pier 1 that reads, “She followed her heart.” Sure, it may seem weird to take inspiration from a tissue (especially if you only carry then in case you sneeze), but I believe that you should take it from where you can especially when you are heading into a such a stressful situation like a job interview.

8.) Altoids Smalls Mints
You only have less than 15 seconds to make a good impression and I rather it not be ruined due to foul breath. These are great because although they are tiny they pack quite the punch when it comes to refreshing your breath. My favorite has got to be the peppermint flavor as it makes my mouth feel so clean even immediately after eating.

9.) Squelch
This is a product I was introduced to by Out of Office NY who approached me to review it, and I am so glad they did because it has become a lifesaver.  This was made for a NYC lifestyle where weird smells can be found anywhere and everywhere. It is an organic, scentless odor remover so compact it fits easily in practically any size handbag. Squelch is a real necessity for the NYC emerging professional on the go, as it removes the odor that comes from stress sweat.  With everything we have to deal with as city women I think the last thing we should have to think about is unwanted odor be it on our clothes, bags or even hair. That’s right this product is safe enough to even be used directly on your skin and hair!  It is affordable to the point that you might as well get more than one to have in your handbag, your desk and gym bag.

What are some of your job interview bag essentials?

This is a sponsored post by Squelch, written in affiliation with Out of Office NY, but all opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “Job Interview Bag Essentials

  1. Gianee says:

    YES!!! I agree with everything, and I have to check out that Squelch thing. The only thing I would suggest is a snack like a granola bar or dried fruit. No nuts though because you don’t know if someone your meeting is allergic to them. Also, don’t forget a book to read, because there is no telling exactly how long you’ll be waiting.


    • Marlena says:

      You should definitely check out Squelch. Its amazing what this small thing can do. I was going to add a book but I kept changing my mind as to which book to feature in this post, lol. And you have a point, one should take a snack. I’m always too nervous to eat before or even during an interview.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s