The Ultimate Job Search Survival Kit

Stay ahead of the competition during the job search by using these suggestions to create your ultimate job search survival kit!
Thank you Samsill for sending me complimentary supplies! All opinions and suggestions are entirely my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

It’s your second hour sitting at your laptop and your coffee’s turned cold.

Your wrist aches as you sift through your sea of resumes, cover letters, and references. Your Linkedin profile (which has a noble 55 connections) is on standby just in case the old fashion paper resume ends up in the trash. After the 45th question on yet another application, you’re about to lose hope, but the lingering rent notice keeps your eyes on the prize.

Job hunting is a daunting process. One of the best ways to tackle the job search and stay ahead of the competition is by preparation. If you have your references, documents, and supplies ready from the start, the easier it will be to apply on the spot as soon as your dream position becomes available!

If you’re preparing or currently in the job search, here are a few of my recommendations for the perfect job search survival kit! (In addition, I’ve teamed up with Samsill for a giveaway for some of these products on my Instagram! Details are at the end of this post!)

Necessary Documents & Resources

In order to prepare for the job search process, you need a few important standard requirements ready for each application:

I find it handy and useful to have a standard or “master” resume and cover letter ready at your disposal at the beginning of your job search venture. When I find jobs I want to apply to, I tweak my original cover letter and resume to personalize and refine specifically for each specific company’s job description. Also, if you’re interested in applying for jobs with the government or county, they require completely different resumes and cover letters each time you apply for a position. I recommend something similar to a portfolio. Have a list, document, or website ready with samples of your work, and send the most applicable pieces that best match the job requirements.

While it’s becoming less common to require references in applications, it’s still a good idea to have them ready and available, just in case. I’ve personally encountered a few applications within the last year during my recent rounds of job hunting.

Finally, while you apply to multiple jobs at the same time, you’ll want to stay organized with a tracking sheet. I created an online tracking sheet for job hunters to record details and dates of each job they apply to throughout their journey. You can snag yours with the form below!

Interview-Ready Outfit

Everyone needs a go-to interview outfit! I highly recommend having a business or business casual outfit ready to go before you start scheduling interviews. What if the company hiring asks you to come in for an interview tomorrow? Will you be ready? The last thing you want to do is start scrambling through stores to find something professional and flattering within your budget.

Some of my favorite stores for affordable business casual outfits include Ross, TJ Maxx, Target, and sometimes Kohls, if they have a decent sale. If money is particularly tight (especially if you’re unemployed currently looking for a new job), thrift stores can be a gold mine for simple and affordable interview outfits. If you’re not quite sure what kinds of clothes to look for, Pinterest is a great option for outfit inspiration!

Recommended Supplies

Stay ahead of the competition during the job search by using these suggestions to create your ultimate job search survival kit!


No, not a portfolio, but a padfolio. New to the term? Padfolios are lightweight with pockets on one side and space for a notepad or legal pad on the other. These are a professional and beneficial way to organize your job interview supplies. I often keep copies of my resume in the pockets, along with some pre-written questions, notes, and blank pages of a notepad on the other in my padfolio. They’re an excellent way to keep everything in one place instead of bringing multiple organization supplies into an interview. Doesn’t it sound easier to simply hold a padfolio under your arm while your shake your future employers hand instead of fumbling around with multiple notebooks and folders?


A journal is a fantastic resource to write any and all notes and information you might need to know throughout your job search. Whether you’re writing down different job search sites to scour, job description details, potential interview questions, and anything else – having one central source of all of your notes and information will be incredibly useful while you search, apply, and interview for your next career move.

Duo and Trio Organizers

These organizers are incredibly handy! Both versions include a three ring binder and accordion-style expanding file. The Trio version can also format into a hanging file for office drawers. If you want to have plenty of options for a portable file and like using binders for easy-to-use notes, these organizers from Samsill are great options. An idea for utilizing the accordion-style file can include labeling each section with stages in the job search process (application, interview, follow-up, etc.). Another option is to section each compartment according to the company you’re applying to, filling the sections with relevant notes and documents you need for the application process.


I would be lost without my daily planner. I’ve kept one since high school and literally cannot live without one. If you’re applying for multiple jobs at once, chances are you’ll experience booking multiple interviews at the same time. While you’re scheduling these interviews, the last situation you want to experience is accidentally double-booking an appointment with more than one of your potential future employers.

While there is the option to schedule your interviews in your phone with either your built-in calendar or Google Calendar, there’s nothing like having everything out and in front of you on paper. If you’re like me and feel the same way about pen and paper, physical planners are life savers to keep track of appointment date and times during the job hunt. I’ve been using a simple Blue Sky planner I found at Target for the past couple of years, but there are many different options to fit your preferences and needs!

Any combination of these supplies can give you the extra step ahead you’ll need to stay organized and conquer the job hunt like a champion.


What do you use to conquer the job search?



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Stay ahead of the competition during the job search by using these suggestions to create your ultimate job search survival kit!


  1. Gah! This was amazing. Super helpful and I’ll definitely share with some friends I know who are looking for new jobs.

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