Use a Brag Book to Set Yourself Apart From Other Candidates
If it’s true that a picture is worth 1,000 words, why don’t jobseekers come to job interviews prepared to show and tell?
One of the best ways to do this is with a “brag book,” otherwise known as a portfolio, leave-behind, or interview presentation binder.
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.
Putting together a brag book is also an excellent way to prepare for a job interview, as it can be used to reflect on what knowledge, skills, and abilities will be most relevant for the targeted position.
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.
A brag book is useful in a job search to:
- Tangibly showcase your accomplishments
- Document the breadth/depth of your educational credentials, training, and professional development
- Set you apart from other candidates who are interviewed for the job
- Give you a “prop” to make you more comfortable answering questions in the interview
- Allow you to provide greater depth and detail about your qualifications than you can on the resume alone
Posting a portfolio online can help set you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market. You can link to your digital portfolio on your LinkedIn profile as well as provide a link to the portfolio on your resume.
The brag book is primarily designed to be used in the job interview — both to illustrate your qualifications and (possibly) as a leave-behind piece. Developing a customized brag book for use as a leave-behind can be a very effective strategy. It shows you prepared for the interview.
A brag book can also be used to...
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Brag Book: Waste of Time or Valuable Resource?
On occasion, online forums reflect heated discussions on whether a brag book holds value or not.
Much like the rest of the interviewing and job-search process, going the extra mile to differentiate yourself, like using a brag book, can be very helpful.
Should I exert my time to put one together?
Your time is yours to give or not.
The real question should be are you willing to take the chance of not having a brag book if there’s even one person that requests it.
Although not every interviewer will be interested in viewing the book, the importance of having one available can reflect your thorough and attentive nature — and can have a huge impact on the results you get.
What should be encompassed in the book?
Think of the brag book as an extension of your resume.
Your book can be as light or extensive as you wish, although the real task will be keeping it up to date.
Your book will contain complementary career material, such as letters, certificates, and other paperwork not seen otherwise.
It shouldn’t be a catchall portfolio, however.
Ensure that it’s clean, organized, and houses current documentation.
How should this information be presented?
The documentation should be professional and not necessarily in a book format.
In fact, you can utilize something as simple as a colored folder or a slightly more costly, bound and professionally printed/catalogued pamphlet. The choice is yours.
What if I have no sales experience? Do I still need a brag book?
It doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile for those just-in-case circumstances.
A new graduate, for example, can present awards received from college, copies of letters from faculty, fraternity/sorority documentation, and lists of volunteer work/ organizational involvement that wouldn’t fit in the final resume.