Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What's in your folder?

Five minutes after you get the call for an interview and you have finished screaming for joy, you need to put your mission folder together. And you need to do it now, before you begin to worry about your unshined shoes and general hygiene.

Your folder is your kit for the day and you're going to be as well-stocked as Batman with a flat-file. You need:
  • Two copies of your resume, one for you and one for the employer to make copies from if they need to.
  • Two copies of your cover letter (the one you wrote 'specially for this job) for the same reason. These also help if, in your panic, you forget your name when they call it.
  • A copy of your presentation and any handouts. You should also pack a USB drive with this material and, in case you ever met a man named Murphy, send them all as attachments to your browser mail address.
  • Any additional work material that they might be interested in, or that you can use to finesse an interview question. These are short pieces, such as published book reviews or any press releases you have written. Do not bring in a print-out from your blog, showing your growth from former English-major refugee to captain of library industry. If they decline it, you can indicate that it is available with a simple Google search of your name.
If you are traveling to a different city or out of the country:
  • Itinerary, transportation tickets and ID. Passport, driver's license, in case you need them or if you have to rent a car to get to your destination. You might as well have them together since the people at security want them all in one bunch. Collated alphabetically.
  • Hotel information or where the hostel is and a Google Map that has helpful arrows on it.
  • Map of campus and map of city. If you're going to spend a few days there, hit some other libraries or possible employers and get the maximum mileage out of your travel. Consult with this if you are interviewing in the US; if you are interviewing in Canada, use the Heritage Directory or the Canadian Library Gateway.
  • Phone card for your cell phone, for emergencies. This is not a time to test your handheld internet navigating skills in the middle of an unfamiliar downtown.
This should fit in your folder. If not, you need a bigger folder. I think Batman got fatter over time, hence a bigger utility belt. Your folder should also be big enough that none of your items need to be folded or creased to fit; offering a crinkled resume that a story-time attendee could have put together better will not make a good impression. Contrary to snotty business books, it does not have to be leather, but it should be clean, opaque and close at the top so your tickets, and breath freshening strips, don't fall out.

No comments: