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By Blair Bedford

As a career woman, being prepared for almost anything is key to landing the job you want, keeping and growing in the job you have, or moving on to the next job of your dreams. Another key to career success is putting everything around you in perspective, from the company you keep to the items you keep with you on a daily basis that can be last minute life savers.

What’s in your purse might seem like a personal matter, but making sure you are prepared professionally could begin and end right with what you have in your tote, satchel, hobo, bucket or shoulder bag. Things like your cell phone, keys and wallet are essentials in your purse for your everyday life, but keep these items in mind when you put your career success in perspective.

Business cards

Business cards are a necessity for any professional to carry around at all times. Whether you are hitting the gym, the office or even the bar after work, keeping your professional business card on you wherever you go (and plenty of them) helps you network successfully whenever the opportunity comes across. You never know when someone will surprisingly ask you the question outside of a networking event: “Do you have a card?” If your company doesn’t have the option to order business cards for you, many websites help you design and create your own for easy networking-on-the-go.

Note-taking supplies (pen, paper, etc.)

The good ol’ pen and paper is the mother of technology to devices like cell phones and laptops, that could easily run out of power or break, leaving you stranded with no way to jot down something important. Throwing a pen and something to write in, like a small notebook, in your purse could come in handy during an office meeting, jotting down notes on-the-go or in-transit to and from work for that sudden burst of inspiration that comes to you. You could also use these note-taking supplies as a personal resource, writing down your own personal and professional goals, keeping it with you at all times as a personal reminder (think a portable vision board). And if you ever need to fill out a job application somewhere and there are no pens around, you will be and look prepared and serious.

Energy reviving tools (an energy bar to curb those cravings, etc.)

As the day moves along at work, it could be difficult physically to stay motivated. Losing energy throughout the day could be because of many factors, which is why it is important to always have energy–a granola bar or some type of healthy snack for a quick pick-me-up is a must.

Many foods have natural abilities to give you the energy you need to get through the rest of the day. Nuts, like almonds and cashews, fiber-rich foods that include whole grain and even water could boost your energy levels to help you stay on top of your work day without getting sluggish or restless.

Pocket scheduler

Although technology has taken over the way we schedule our lives, it never hurts to have an old-school pocket scheduler, like a calendar, to carry around with you. You can jot down tentative or personal appointments, and it never hurts to keep a physical copy of your schedule (just in case your BlackBerry decides it doesn’t want to work anymore one day!).

Cash (or enough money for unexpected expenses, like business lunches, etc.)

Keeping some form of payment, whether it’s checks, cash or card (though cash might be the best idea since everyone accepts that), is an important necessity that goes further than just for your own personal expenses. In your career, many unexpected business meetings that are held outside of the traditional office might force you to have funds readily available just in case, like a business lunch or transportation to and from important functions. Once again, having some sort of money ready keeps you prepared for the unexpected without having to run to an ATM, which is key in succeeding in your career.

Company ID (for discounts, etc.)

Although this item might be a no-brainer to some businesswomen, keeping your company ID on you at all times (not just work) could be beneficial in more ways than one. Besides getting you through the door (literally), your company ID could be a benefit personally. Check with your company to see if there are any company discounts you could utilize using your ID. This can include local and national stores and restaurants, rental car companies, hotel discounts, etc.

Emergency toiletries

These might be more personal possessions, from perfume to tampons to your pocket-sized mirror, but keeping these items in your purse at all times could keep you from an unexpected “incident” at work during that big meeting, in a job interview, or while you’re talking to your boss. As women, it is almost second nature to be prepared for any cosmetic surprise, and having these tools in your purse are essential, especially while at the office.

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