Can You Go to a Job Interview Without a Resume

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The interview day can be stressful because there is a lot to do. From memorizing your introduction to ironing your suit, plenty of action items can keep you busy. How essential among these is printing your resume? After all, you have already submitted your resume to the recruiter. Can you go to a job interview without a resume?

You can go to a job interview without a resume but doing so is not advisable because you risk looking underprepared. If the interviewer doesn’t have your resume and you don’t bring it, some of your best accolades, skills, and achievements might not be discussed.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the different things bringing a resume can do for you and what you should do if you fail to bring copies of your CV to your job interview.

The context, how you compare to others, and the situations in which bringing your resume can improve your odds of getting a job will be discussed. You’ll also discover a secret hack to show the interviewer that your value goes up every day. So bookmark this post and continue reading.

Is It Bad to Not Bring a Resume to an Interview?

It is not bad to come to an interview without a resume, but if other candidates bring their resumes, you can get singled out as relatively underprepared. And if you’re the only candidate who brings a resume hard copy, you get seen as someone uniquely prepared for the interview.

Given that in most interviews, some candidates don’t bring their CV while others do, the chances of you being the only one to bring or fail to bring your resume are low. But having a copy ensures that the odds are in your favor if you’re caught in a high-contrast scenario.

The table below covers the various situations and what bringing your resume or not bringing it can lead to.

YouOthersThe interviewer
Don’t bring your resumeBring their resumesSees you as exclusively underprepared
Don’t bring your resumeDon’t bring their resumesDoesn’t form a negative opinion of you only
Bring your resumeBring their resumesDoesn’t form a positive opinion of you only
Bring your resumeDon’t bring their resumesSees you as uniquely prepared for the occasion
Don’t bring your resumeBring their resumesDoesn’t have resume prints and cannot interview you
Bring your resumeDon’t bring their resumesDoesn’t have resume prints and cannot interview your competitors, which increases your odds of getting the job.

Of the six possible outcomes, there is only one where not bringing a resume leads to a non-negative consequence. That’s 16.66% odds of getting a neutral reaction for not bringing your CV to the interview. 

In contrast, two positive outcomes are directly tied to bringing your resume with you. That’s an over 33% chance of getting seen favorably for doing so. Therefore, not bringing your resume isn’t bad but bringing your resume is almost twice as good as not bringing it. It could help you stand out from the crowd.

Do All Job Interviews Require a Resume?

Not all job interviews require a resume which is why there is a 50% chance that some of the other candidates will also come without their resume. If a job description doesn’t require you to bring your CV to the interview, you don’t have to bring it.

Whether that is a wise choice is an entirely different question, though.

Not bringing your resume to some job interviews can lower your chances of getting a job. On the other hand, bringing your resume to every job interview doesn’t harm your odds of success. Keeping your CV hardcopy with you is a zero-risk move that can occasionally have a very significant advantage.

5 Reasons Why You Should Bring Your Resume to a Job Interview

So far, it might seem like bringing your resume to a job interview is optional, but when you look at the major advantages of bringing a hard copy, you will realize that it is almost mandatory if you really want to get the job. Let’s look at the 5 reasons you should bring your resume to a job.

1. Show That You’re Prepared

The biggest reason you should bring your resume to a job interview is to let the interviewer know that you do your homework.

Most candidates think that homework simply means looking up the company and memorizing the responsibilities and requirements of a job. Bringing your resume is also one of the homework items that are technically optional but is best done if one wants the job.

2. Use it as a conversation piece

You can always use your resume as a conversation starter when you’re waiting for the interview or are en route to the interview location. It also opens you up to the perks of serendipity, as it signals that you’re looking for a job.

You never know who you bump into on the way to the interview. That’s why it is smart to have multiple copies of your resume, as this allows you to hand out a copy without becoming immediately empty-handed.

3. Convey That You’re in Demand

Continuing the theme of bringing multiple copies of your resume, the action also signals that you’re interviewing at multiple companies. Moreover, when there is a panel of interviewers, having multiple resumes means that each one gets a copy. And this, too, serves to make you look uniquely prepared. 

If all your resume copies are taken by the panel of interviewers, you can politely say, “I’ll need at least two of those back.” This indirectly signals that you have two more interviews lined up.

Social proof bias makes us want things that others won’t. If it seems like other companies are interviewing you, the interviewers will be slightly more interested in extending an offer to you.

4. Save the Day if the Interviewer Is Underprepared

It happens more often than you think! Small business owners personally interview employees and almost always forget the resume. A panel of interviewers can have fewer copies of the resume than interviewers.

Either way, having copies can allow you to save the day. It also refreshes the interviewers’ memory around what made them want to talk to you.

5. Signal Your Constantly Rising Stock

Finally, bringing a copy of your resume gives you the unique opportunity to display that you are always improving as a human resource. For this, you have to constantly upskill, though. Imagine the interviewer has a copy of your resume, and you hand him your copy, saying, “I am sorry, I got a new certification since I sent you that. 

Here’s an updated copy.” This can have an incredible effect because it shows that you possess one of the most admirable qualities in a candidate: being a lifelong learner. But to do this, you have to finish a certification within the time you apply for a job and get invited to an interview. 

The best site to get short, high-quality certifications is edx.org which offers Harvard-affiliated courses. Some of these can be completed within a day. As long as you omit a certificate in your initial CV and add it in the copy, you bring it to the interview. You can create the impression that you’re always upskilling.

What to Do if You Forgot to Bring Your Resume to the Job Interview

By now, you understand the value and the utility of bringing your resume to a job interview. But what if you’re reading this article on your way to an interview and you do not have your CV with you. Worry not! There are three ways to save yourself from looking bad.

Feign Eco-Friendliness

One way to show people you didn’t mess up is to make it look like you messed up on purpose. If you don’t bring your resume to a job, you can tell the interviewer that you took the eco-friendly route of not printing the resume.

It helps if you have a tablet with a softcopy of your resume on it. In fact, such a move can make you stand out positively in a pool of candidates with paper resumes.

Mail the CV to the Receptionist/Interviewer

You might not have a printer, but most offices do. Emailing the CV to the receptionist and requesting a printout works well if you can be charming. It is understandable if you can’t be your most charming self when you’re busy being nervous about an upcoming interview. 

If the receptionist refuses to print out the CV, you can ask them if there is a nearby facility where you can get a printout. Business centers and co-working spaces that are often located in office buildings have pay-per-print facilities. In case all fails, you can email the resume to your interviewer with a text that reads like

“Dear Interviewer,

I’m resending you my CV as we have an interview today. My printouts are not in the right condition.”

Create a Cloud Resume

Finally, the best way to avoid looking like you are underprepared is to overprepare in a different way. Instead of printing your resume, you can upload it to WeTransfer.com or Gdrive. Once you have the shareable link, you can create a custom short link from TinyUrl.com. The website allows you to create links like TinyUrl.com/JacksResume. 

You can use this method in conjunction with the eco-friendly premise and get all the advantages of bringing your resume with you without actually bringing it. The best part about this tactic is that you can do it even if you’ve already left the house.

Here are the steps you should take if you leave your house without your resume:

  • Go to your email’s ‘Sent’ folder and download the resume attached in emails to recruiters.
  • Visit WeTransfer.com and upload the file
  • Copy the sharing link
  • Go to TinyUrl.com and paste the link into the URL generator
  • Customize the URL, so it is easy to remember
  • Give the URL to the interviewer when you walk into the interview

Final Thoughts

If you are far better than the other candidates, you’ll get selected even if you don’t bring your resume to the interview. While it is technically possible to get a job without a resume, it is relatively harder. You should bring your resume if you can, or at least show that you put in the effort in some other way by creating a custom link to your CV or re-emailing it to the interviewer.