Creating a Brag File For Life Science Job Interviews

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 15 Apr 2021

Creating a Brag File For Life Science JobOriginally used mostly by Sales candidates, a brag file is a place for you to store evidence of your key achievements, ready to share with pharma recruiters and hiring managers during job interviews. Regardless of the role you’re applying for within Life Sciences, creating a brag file is a great way of helping you to stand out as a candidate, and to show your interviewer exactly what you could bring to the role. 

The documents in your brag file should add weight to the claims you make in your CV, applications and interview responses, with the use of visual cues also helping to make the interview more memorable. In this article, we outline what you could include in your brag file, when you should use it, and how it can benefit you both during and outside of your pharma job search.

When Should You Use Your Brag File?

Your brag file can be used in job interviews to help answer questions about your skills and experiences. You shouldn’t rely on your documents alone to answer questions, nor should you refer to them for every single question asked. Instead, wait for the questions that give you the best opportunity to highlight your most impressive achievements, and use your file to add context and depth to your answers. 

An example of one of these questions is “Why should we hire you?”. If the business is very profit-oriented, then you might want to refer to a graph that shows an increase in sales due to your work. If they’ve got a big focus on customer services, you might want to refer to a client testimonial that praises the service you provided. Think about the documents you show, and make sure you can explain them beyond pointing to the page.

What Should You Include in Your Brag File?

Each document you include should highlight your key strengths as a candidate. The following are examples of documents that you could include:

  • Graphs that represent the impact your work has had on business
  • Screenshots that show examples of anything visual you’ve created
  • Testimonials from previous clients that demonstrate the relationships you’ve built
  • Certificates of training courses/education that show you’re qualified for the role
  • Performance reviews (as long as they’re positive!)
  • Letters of recommendation from previous employers or clients
  • Awards you’ve achieved
  • Articles that you’ve written that have performed well or been published in journals etc.

If you’re planning to leave a copy of your file with the interviewer, then you should also include your contact details, and even a short introduction about your key accomplishments to help them remember you.

As it’s unlikely that you’ll get the chance to talk about everything in your file during your interview, also consider using tabs to mark the most important pages to help you find them as quickly as possible without leaving awkward pauses whilst you rifle through every page. 

What Shouldn’t You Include in Your Brag File?

Just as you would tailor your CV to each new application, you should also tweak your file to make sure you’re only including documents that are relevant to each role and will be of interest to interviewers. 

If they do take a copy of your file, then they’ll be reading it in their own time, so focus on quality rather than quantity. Don’t include the following:

  • Certificates that expired a long time ago
  • Documents that you couldn’t talk confidently about in your interview. For example, an award you achieved 10 years ago that you can’t remember the details of
  • Qualifications that have no relevance to the role. For example, if the role requires a degree in Biomedical Sciences, you don’t need to include your GCSE Catering certificate

Before each interview, go through your file and take out anything that isn’t relevant, and make sure to cross-reference the contents with the achievements you’ve mentioned in your applications to make sure if it’s mentioned in one, it’s also in the other. 

What Should Your Brag File Look Like?

Keep your file professional and polished, and where possible, print your documents on high-quality paper. To make it easier for interviewers to navigate, also consider using file dividers to separate your documents into categories such as qualifications and training certificates, letters of recommendation and client testimonials. Also consider the following when it comes to the design of your file:

  • Use simple, professional fonts and keep the size no less than 12pts
  • Use bold headings to tell interviewers exactly what they’re looking at
  • Don’t use unnecessary gimmicks that distract from your achievements
  • Make sure there’s plenty of white space in your documents and that they’re easy to read

What Else Can Your Brag File Be Used For?

Even when you aren’t actively searching for a new job, your file can also be used for things like internal reviews and appraisals to remind your manager of the value you bring to the company. Even if you’re not searching for a job, make updating your file a continuous process as you never know when it might come in handy.

Help Yourself Stand Out…

As brag files are based on things you’ve already achieved, they’re a great way of making your interview more memorable without having to put in huge amounts of work and preparation beforehand. Especially during a time where there’s increased competition for roles within Life Sciences, making a great first impression is key, and will really make a difference to your interviews.

Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more careers advice or to start searching for your next pharma job.