By T.K. Brady
Ed knows it best: Interviews are tough. You’re nervous about getting your foot in the door (literally), not to mention the added stress of navigating new streets and subway routes to make sure you’re on time (or even better, early). Aside from just getting there, knowing what to pack for an interview can also be tricky. You know to bring your resume and clips, but those are just the staples. To avoid that “I think I’m forgetting something” feeling, run through this editor-approved checklist the night before the big day to be as prepped as possible.
- Extra copies of your resume. One of the things EA candidates forget most often is a copy of their resume to leave with the interviewer, says Mary Clarke, executive editor at Bridal Guide. “I may have misplaced a copy of your resume or asked another editor to join me for the interview,” she says. Two to three extra copies should do the trick.
- A notebook and pen. You may not write anything down during the interview, but Rachel Morris, a freelance health editor who previously worked at Dr. Oz The Good Life and Woman’s Day, jots down notes right after the meeting is over to use when writing her thank you note later on. “You can reference details of your conversation without sounding generic,” she says. Clarke also says keeping a pen in her hand helps her stay grounded during meetings.
- Your strongest clips. Pick out five to 10 clips you’re really proud of and put them in a portfolio binder using protective sheets, recommends Samantha Lefave, a freelance writer and editor who previously worked as a web editor at Redbook. “If you fill it and have more clips, then you know it’s time to start editing,” she says. For very visual work, you can bring an iPad to the interview to present your work, says Clarke. Remember to make copies. You should be prepared to let your interviewer keep these materials.
- A small umbrella. En route to an interview, Morris found herself in the middle of a downpour. “I was not dressed for it at all,” she explains. Luckily she packed a small umbrella in her bag, but now she always makes sure to have one even at the slightest chance of rain. To avoid showing up to your interview sopping wet, do the same.
- Photo ID. Even if you never leave home without it, triple check that it’s in your bag before you step out the door. It’s a must-have to get into almost every corporate buildings. “You don’t want to get stuck downstairs in the lobby while the editor is waiting for you,” says Morris.
- The current issue of the magazine you’re interviewing for. Take a quick flip through it before the interview to refresh your memory. “Feel free to pull it out and reference it mid-interview,” Morris says.
- A fully charged phone (with the ringer turned off). Your smartphone is the easiest way to get information in a pinch. “You may need to look something—or someone (hint: your interviewer!)—up,” says Clarke. This allows you to do it quickly and discreetly in the building lobby.
- A small mirror. Chances are you’ll have a few minutes in the lobby before your interview. Lefave says this makes it easy for her to do a quick makeup check without needing the restroom. “Make sure you don’t have food in your teeth or snot on your face!” emphasizes Morris.
- A fashion emergency kit. This includes super glue, fashion tape, and a needle and thread for small repairs. Shelton broke a wedge heel on her way to an interview and was scrambling at Duane Reade to find super glue to remedy the situation. Now she never leaves home without it.
- Questions! Have a few questions prepped for the interview the night before (check out Ed’s guide!) and try to frame them as if you were in the job position. “It helps the interviewer make the mental transition of picturing you in the role,” says Lefave.