by Madelyn Mackie
If it’s true that a picture is worth 1,000 words, how can you create a visual of your career to show and tell the value you bring to an organization? One of the best ways to do this is with a “brag book,” otherwise known as a portfolio. While portfolios are expected in certain “creative” professions, jobseekers in many more “traditional” fields could benefit from preparing a brag book to use in an interview.
A brag book is also an excellent confidence booster. There’s just something about seeing all of your accomplishments in print that boosts your confidence and self-esteem. The brag book is primarily designed to illustrate your qualifications, accomplishments, and showcase your career highlights. Developing a customized brag book for use as an interview leave-behind can be a very effective strategy. It shows you prepared for the interview.
A brag book can also be used in your current job—for example, in a performance evaluation meeting or when requesting a raise and/or promotion. Brag books support your qualifications as a candidate. The purpose of the brag book is to substantiate the information contained in your résumé and on your LinkedIn profile. Thus, your résumé and LinkedIn profile are the best place to start when compiling your brag book.
What to Put In Your Brag Book
How do you decide what to include in your brag book?
- Review your résumé and identify any portfolio pieces that could substantiate your education, experience, training, or other qualifications.
- Think about the responsibilities of the position you are seeking. Are there any skills that the position requires that you want to showcase your experience with—for example, writing, photography, social media, or leadership?
Brag Book Checklist
- A copy of your college or university transcript
- Copies of the certificates or diplomas for trainings/workshops/degrees listed on your résumé
- Example of major class assignments — report, presentation, or project (for recent graduates)
- Documentation of knowledge of a foreign language (certificate, grade, or test result)
- Performance evaluations (or excerpts of evaluations) from supervisors or managers
- Work samples (projects, newsletters, photographs, case studies, proposals, surveys)
- Papers/reports/publications you’ve authored
- Samples of communication/writing skills (writing samples)
- Evidence of computer/multimedia skills
- Logs/lists/charts that document your performance
- Sales information—but make sure you are not disclosing confidential information
- 30-60-90 Day Plan: what you plan to do in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job in your new position
Awards and Honors
- If you mentioned an award on the résumé, include a copy of the certificate or photo of the trophy
- Photos of individual or team participation in an event or award
- Scholarships received
- Include copies of any thank you letters you’ve received, including letters and emails from customers and/or coworkers
- Letters of recommendation from previous supervisors and managers
- List of references
- LinkedIn Recommendations: you can either select a few and put one on each page, or put together a page of Recommendation excerpts
Community or Organizational Involvement
- List of professional affiliations, including leadership roles
- Clubs or activities you’re involved with
- Photos of events you helped organize
- Newspaper clippings featuring you at work or your involvement in charity work or with a nonprofit organization
Other Documentation to Include
- Personal statement or philosophy
- LinkedIn summary
- Career overview (bio or list of positions/dates)
- Photographs of you in action (on the job, or involved in volunteer activities)
- Photo of you delivering a presentation
Madelyn Mackie is the Career Activator and helps administrative professionals activate their career dreams. She specializes in resume writing, LinkedIn, and job search strategy. Be sure to attend her workshop, Tell the Visual Story of You workshop, at Summit 2022 – www.activateyourcareerdreams.com
This blog is authored by one of our outstanding educators contributing to IAAP Summit 2022.
Summit 2022 focuses on owning your why and enhancing your value. The profession is ever-evolving and you have to learn new skills and competencies to perform today and prepare for tomorrow. With training in skills like Project Management, AI for the AP, Change Management, Summit 2022 provides the tools and resources for admins today and in the future. And, with sessions on how to create a career portfolio, how to use your voice effectively, and how to dig in when the going gets tough, you’ll leave with no doubts about both your why and your value.