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Building Your Ultimate Career Essentials Kit

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

Feeling unprepared to enter the job force? We’ve got you covered!

  1. Portfolio — There’s no worse feeling than being unprepared for an interview, and here’s a trick that will make sure you never feel like you are. Get a portfolio! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a space for all of your essentials. But what on earth do you put in it? A couple of copies of your resume, a notepad, and a pen are the biggest essentials that will always have you ready for a job interview.

      Pro Tip: Before you head to an interview, take the time to research your (hopefully!) future employer and write down some questions in your portfolio beforehand. Interviewers will always ask questions, and you can avoid having to think on the spot by going ahead and writing your questions out beforehand. What do you do if they answer all of your questions before you even have a chance to ask them? Just simply let them know that they were thorough and happened to answer the questions you had, but you will reach out if something else comes up!

  1. Updated Headshot — Odds are unless you find yourself regularly having professional photoshoots, your headshot might be a little outdated. Although your high school senior photos are super cute, it’s probably time to have a headshot that isn’t of you when you were seventeen. Headshots aren’t just important for actors and models, but they’re also great additions to resumes, profile pictures, and even more!

Pro Tip: Skip the stress and money of a professional photographer, and instead turn headshots into an activity for you and a friend (or a few!). All you need is a plain background, your phone camera, and a business casual top (fancy pants NOT required) and you can easily take some new headshots for all of your professional needs.

  1. Universal Resume — If your job field has any variation, which it likely does, it can be super helpful to create a “Universal Resume” which can act as a basis. Basically, create a resume with all of the basics about you, general experience, education, and whatnot. Then, you can use this resume as a template for when you apply to jobs and simply add on and edit the resume to fit the needs of each job you’re applying for. You’ll never again have to create entire new resumes for job applications, or go back and delete unnecessary stuff!

Pro Tip: In addition to your universal resume, you can create different copies catered to the various jobs you might be applying for! For example, have a resume for your dream job, internships, assistantships, and maybe temporary/summer jobs you might be applying for (like serving, retail, etc.).

  1. Appropriate Email Account — Having a professional email is super important, and sometimes it can be good to have a separate email address apart from your personal one for all of your business endeavors.  While your childhood email handle might be fine for signing up for rewards programs, you should get an email account with your full name to use for work purposes.

Pro Tip: If you have a school email address, that probably works great! But you won’t have that forever so it’s still important to get one that can last long term. We suggest one with your first and last name, and if that’s taken, try adding on some numbers (it won’t make it any less professional to have some digits at the end, just whatever works and is memorable for you!).

  1. Business Casual Basics — Let’s be honest, you should probably have more than one go-to outfit for job interviews. Build your closet by getting a collection of basic staple pieces that you can mix and match to make a ton of different appropriate office outfits. Two pairs of pants, two tops, a pair of shoes, and a blazer is all you need for endless options for job interview outfits depending on the weather and your mood. 

Pro Tip: You don’t need to break the bank for a closet revamp, you can find everything you need at your local thrift shop! In Athens, we recommend checking out Goodwill or America’s Thrift Store. You can find tons of great pieces at a super affordable price point. Plus, you can add to your closet sustainably and make thrifting for business casual pieces a fun activity with friends rather than a chore! Look for blouses (with collars/buttons/etc.), slacks/pants, appropriate length skirts, blazers, and appropriate shoes to build your wardrobe.

If career planning and job interviews stress you out, you’re not alone! But don’t fret, with these essentials you’ll be headed on the right track! Plus, there are a ton of resources to help guide you through the UGA career center at https://career.uga.edu/

Hannah is currently a Fisheries & Wildlife major pursuing a certificate in Environmental Education. When she's not writing for Her Campus, she can usually be found watching TikToks or looking at animals somewhere.