Brag books (aka professional portfolios) deliver great benefits for your job search: they boost your attitude, they help with your interview talking points, and they even act as a kind of a reference that will nudge that hiring manager along the road to offering you the job.
What goes in a brag book?
A brag book can include just about anything you want:
- letters of recommendation (phone references are best, but written letters won't hurt)
- “attaboy” notes (or any notes that compliment you on what a great job you did)
- annual reviews (if you include some, include them all)
- awards / rewards letters
- types of equipment you’ve used or marketed
- certificates from career-relevant educational courses you've completed
- financial or PowerPoint presentations
- copies of articles you’ve written
- brochures you’ve helped develop
- a college transcript (though ONLY if you’re just getting out).
Usually, these are put into page protectors and gathered into a binder for easy reference.
A brag book is a positive-attitude resource
All that evidence of your success is a great mood booster anytime the job search gets you down.
Brag books are great job interview tools
When you bring the brag book into the interview, it acts as evidence for what you say you can do. You can show specific pages as examples to illustrate an answer to an interview question, or you can show it as a general example of the quality of your work. Either way, it sets you apart as someone who pays attention to details, who is achievement-oriented, and who cares about giving your best. It definitely provides an impressive "wow" factor.
Brag books help "sell" you for the job
To the hiring manager, offering you a job often feels like a risk. Many people believe that past performance predicts future behavior, and brag books are another way to make them feel more comfortable about hiring you.
If you haven't already, start putting your brag book together today. You will be amazed at how much it helps you. If you would like more help putting yours together, check out Career Confidential's Brag Book podcast or Brag Book Video.