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I'm going for an interview and want to bring some books, magazines, and other marketing materials that I've produced to demonstrate my past work. I just don't know what to bring them all in.

I don't have a messenger bag or anything like that, and one of the books is about the size of a textbook. Would it be acceptable to bring the materials in a simple grocery bag?

I thought about leaving them in the car and only bringing them out if they ask to see them, but it doesn't seem like a good idea to make them wait while I go back to my car to get them.

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I'd go for something a little more stylish than a grocery bag! In the grand scheme of things a messenger bag (or even a laptop bag) isn't that expensive. –  ChrisF Nov 9 '12 at 12:25
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An interview is a chance to show yourself in the best possible light. –  Oded Nov 9 '12 at 12:36
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Hi Ryan, your question has attracted a few close votes so I rephrased the title and some parts of the question. If I mistakenly changed your question too much, feel free to roll back the changes or edit it further :) –  Rachel Nov 9 '12 at 14:44
    
I would simply ask them beforehand if they are interested –  gnat Nov 9 '12 at 14:58
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Jeff O - that is unrelated to the question –  Ryan Nov 9 '12 at 18:45
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm going for an interview and want to bring some books, magazines, and other marketing materials that I've produced to demonstrate my past work. I just don't know what to bring them all in.

It sounds like you are bringing your portfolio. Depending on the industry, there may be more formalized options for this. Ask them about whether its appropriate, or better, ask "I am planning on bringing a portfolio with examples of my work - do you have a preferred method for me to bring this?"

I don't have a messenger bag or anything like that, and one of the books is about the size of a textbook. Would it be acceptable to bring the materials in a simple grocery bag?

Not very. You are interviewing, which means you want to present yourself in the best way possible - having a grocery bag is not even close to this. Buy some cheap messenger bag or laptop bag and use this, for around $20 or less you can both get a functional tool as well as eliminate this problem.

Keep in mind that having a messenger bag (while in the interview) allows easy opportunities to do the following. "This project required me to do X, Y, Z, and in fact, I have a copy of the results in my bag - here is what the final project looked like." This shows you are prepared.

I thought about leaving them in the car and only bringing them out if they ask to see them, but it doesn't seem like a good idea to make them wait while I go back to my car to get them.

This is a bad idea for the reasons you say, though, you are more likely to get a response of "oh, they are in your car? don't worry about it" or "let's wait until a break" which probably means the time to display them will have passed.

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The industry is publishing. I have 3 media kits, 5 medium sized books, 1 very large book, and at least one magazine to bring with me. That is just if I bring 2012 publications I did which I think is sufficient. No reason to bring previous years work and go overboard. My laptop bag is a backpack style bag which doesn't look very professional, I guess its time I get a new bag. –  Ryan Nov 9 '12 at 16:26
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@Ryan it's probably even more important then, because if you are in publishing, I would assume at some point you will be interacting with customers or trying to sell your company products - you certainly don't want to give your interviewer the impression you don't care about your image when doing something quite similar (marketing yourself vs company products) –  enderland Nov 9 '12 at 16:40
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IN publishing you want to have a very nice looking portfolio or briefcase or messenger bag. IMage is very important when you sell your product and thus when you interview. In IT you could get away with a less formal presentaion but still want to have something that looks more professional than a grocery bag. –  HLGEM Nov 13 '12 at 18:42
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I used to carry a laptop bag each time i had to appear in an interview. That bag mostly contains a book or two, certificate file (including resume), and mostly the material concerned with my projects (project reports and CDs of the project setup and presentation).

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Can you add some justification to that last statement? That's not something I would have considered doing but it might be a very good suggestion. –  pdr Nov 9 '12 at 13:22
    
Yes I'm interested in knowing why you think I should leave it outside the interviewer's room, that seems very strange to me. Whats the logic here? –  Ryan Nov 9 '12 at 16:29
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MPO is that if you're bringing a portfolio, it should look like a portfolio, especially if this is design work. If you're showing off writing, this might be less important. But if I were hiring a designer and she showed up with a bunch of samples in a heap in any type of bag, no matter how stylish, I'd say "thank you for your time." Presentation is everything, and if you don't care enough to properly prepare your portfolio, why should I?

Here are the rules I learned in art school. This was almost 20 years ago now, so YMMV:

  1. All samples should be matted with matching white mats.
  2. All mats should be the same size, with a minimum "frame" around the artwork of 4 inches (unless all your art is very small, in which case make it proportional).
  3. Art should be shrink-wrapped or covered in plastic film (I forget the name of the archival film we used to use for this--sorry, been a long time)
  4. Put the finished art in a portfolio. This can be a simple cardboard one that's not expensive.

When you get to the interview, you can line your art up on the shelf, where it will look like a million bucks, rather than strewing it across the table, where it will look like yesterday's newspaper. I guarantee you your competitors will be presenting their portfolios this way (unless, as I said, you're showing off writing samples).

Good luck!

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Amy, nobody is talking about fine art here or any art really. I said, "books, magazines and marketing materials." I think you're answer is good as I do have experience in a number of fine arts but it is not really related to my question so I've down-voted it. –  Ryan Nov 11 '12 at 3:14
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@Ryan, she is correct and these rules don't just apply to fine art. This is what you do when presenting a professional image in any marketing,design or publishing field. Think of the presentation of your materials as if you were presenting them to a client not as interview materials. Samples must be as professionally organized as possible. –  HLGEM Nov 13 '12 at 18:46
    
How do you matte a textbook? –  Ryan Nov 13 '12 at 18:55
    
Unless you designed the whole textbook, you should either get "tear sheets" of the applicable pages or take good photographs and mount those (or use the original digital files and a print-out). If you designed the whole textbook, it's probably ok to lean it up against the wall next to the rest of your matted work. But to answer your question literally, you can spray it with matte fixative :) –  Amy Blankenship Nov 15 '12 at 0:52
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