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Don’t you have things you’ve accomplished that don’t really fit into the confines of your resume? What about your performance reviews, or even the email from your boss thanking you for what you did? One way to give yourself a ‘wow’ factor in your next job interview is to put them all into a professional portfolio, or brag book, and present them in the interview.

Professional portfolios, brag books, or kudos folders are all simply collections of examples of the great work you’ve done. In an interview, it acts as another reference for you. Why? Because it shows evidence of the work you’ve done. On top of all that, putting one together is a great way to boost your confidence for the job search.

What should be included in your professional portfolio?

Because this is your portfolio, you can include just about anything that you feel provides evidence of the work you’ve done. Here are some ideas:

  • complimentary notes or emails from your boss, co-workers, customers, or clients
  • annual performance reviews
  • awards
  • letters of recommendation
  • lists of equipment or software you’ve used or marketed
  • certificates from career-relevant educational courses or seminars
  • financial or PowerPoint presentations
  • articles you’ve written
  • brochures you’ve developed
  • photos of projects
  • case studies
  • graphs or charts that illustrate your progress or success
  • your college transcript (ONLY if you’re just getting out)

How should you organize these?

The best way to organize your documents is usually to put them into page protectors within a binder. You might even want to put tabs or sticky notes on particularly relevant pages for your interview. It’s low-tech but easy to manage. And it’s effective when you show just a few things from a thick book.

How to use your portfolio in a job interview

As you answer interview questions, you can turn to specific pages as examples to illustrate your answer. You could also use it to show the general quality of your work.

As you show your portfolio, you’ll set yourself apart as someone who pays attention to details and cares about giving your best. It definitely provides an impressive "wow" factor that will help you get hired.

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Your portfolio or brag book is an ideal tool for every job interview. Not only that, it’s a great thing to look over with your boss when it’s time for a raise or promotion. No one can afford to be without a professional portfolio of their accomplishments.

If you want more help to develop yours, check out Career Confidential's Brag Book podcast or Brag Book Video.