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Top 10 Things to Pack in Your Professional Purse

By: Bailey Massey

Edited By: Kylie Augis

In last week’s article, I talked about setting yourself up for success by curating the perfect professional wardrobe. Every article of clothing or accessory you’d ever need from head to toe is listed in that article. This week, I’m going to be going over the top 10 items that your professional purse needs to have. Whether you’re attending a conference, networking event, an interview, or anything else, there are certain essentials you just have to carry on you.

10. Gum or Mints

Making sure your breath is fresh and your hygiene is on point are both extremely critical. While it doesn’t replace brushing your teeth, having gum or mints on hand is really helpful in a hurry. Especially if you drink coffee often, or find yourself in a meeting right after lunch. Having these on hand will avoid any awkward encounters.

9. Hand Sanitizer

If COVID taught us anything, it’s that germs are everywhere. Sickness spreads quickly, which is entirely inconvenient for professionals. Handshakes are a custom regardless of what industry you’re in. They show respect, but they also spread germs. Even if you don’t shake peoples hands, you likely are touching a bunch of surfaces that many others are touching too. Regardless of what your situation may be, it's always best to defend yourself from getting sick or getting others sick.

8. Lip Gloss or Chapstick

When you’re nervous, it's easy to pick something on your person as a fidget. Whether you pick at your fingers, twirl your hair, or pick at/lick your lips, you probably have a go-to nervous tick that you do without even realizing. Chapped lips could also be taken as a sign of poor hygiene, too. Therefore, lip gloss or chapstick are non-negotiable.

7. Advil or Ibuprofen

If you’re prone to headaches like me, this one isn't even a question. Even if you’re not, sometimes the stress of work or being in a professional setting can bring them on. Either way, it's good to have meds on hand so that you’re prepared for anything. Not having relief from your headache is easily one of the worst feelings, so don’t let that be you.

6. Portable Charger

If you’re in a super long meeting or an all-day conference, your phone is definitely going to die before it's over with. Even if you’re just working your typical 9-5, you can’t rely on your phone battery to get you through the whole work day. If you need to reference your phone to contact someone, pull up directions, or for information, it really can’t be dead.

5. Water Bottle

Being dehydrated is a bigger deal than most people like to admit. It can make you irritable, give you a headache, and even increase your appetite. Whether you’re in a hot environment or not, it's very important to stay hydrated.

4. Snacks

Similar to the point about bringing a water bottle with you, it’s important to always stay well fed. If you’re someone like myself who gets hangry when they don’t eat every few hours, and you just so happen to be super busy out and about all day, having a little snack in your bag is a life saver. If you want to be extra prepared, you can double up and put a snack in your car for emergencies too. This way, if your time is limited and won’t allow for taking an actual meal break, you’re still getting some food in throughout the day.

3. Pens or Highlighters

You never know when you may come across someone whose information you want to jot down. Or, a coworker brings up a really good idea that you want to write down for later. Maybe, your boss randomly began explaining important instructions for an assignment that you need to write down. Perhaps you’re reading something interesting and want to highlight important parts for later. Whatever the reason may be, it's always convenient to have pens or highlighters in your bag.

2. Notebook or Pad

Going along with the previous items, this one is needed for the exact same reason. I also love these for journaling and for writing down notes. I find that handwritten notes stick in your brain better than typed ones. Plus, you don’t get a headache from staring at your computer for hours either. Also, learning is the only way to grow and to succeed. Taking notes from professionals whose experiences and/or advice could help you is something you should absolutely consider doing if you haven’t already. Even professors or teachers in school!

1. Resume and Business Card

Last and most important is the resume and business card duo. If I’ve learned anything in my short time as a woman pursuing a career in sports, it's that networking directly ties to success. It doesn’t matter how many people you know, but more so how many people know you. If you just tell someone your name, they will likely forget it. If they have something tangible that they could look over, you might hear from them. Likewise, if you have a really riveting conversation with an industry professional and think you might be a good fit for their line of work, having your resume on hand would be so convenient to hand to them at that moment. Having these with you will take you way farther than any word of mouth self-selling will ever do. Even if you’re not attending some sort of professional event, you never know who you may cross paths with.

Final Thoughts

I hope this list has made you realize all the tedious essentials you need to be a successful professional. It’s better to be over-prepared than unprepared every single time. And, as a bonus tip, make sure your bag size is spot on, too. If it's too big, it looks like you’re about to leave for a weekend trip. But, if it's too small, it’ll be over-stuffed with all your essentials. Something between the two is ideal. If you’re attending the Women in Sports Conference in Nashville this summer, use this list to help you pack! Even if you aren’t planning on attending any professional events soon, these things are good to have on hand for any occasion and will set you up for success.

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