Ok, so what's a brag file then?
A brag file is simply a file where you keep evidence of your achievements! It was originally used mainly by sales candidates, but it’s equally useful for everyone now. Simply having a good brag file will differentiate you, not only from most of the other candidates at an interview, but also to demonstrate your value during pay reviews and appraisals. So think of it as a sales aid for your interview. Something you can refer to it at any stage during an interview, and use to support the claims you are making.
The very visual nature of your brag file can help the interviewer remember YOU, as visual “cues” will make your interview more memorable.
Ok, so what should i keep in there?
- Start by looking through your CV, and making sure you have supporting evidence of all your claims.
- So you increased sales by 50%, then keep a graph showing sales increasing.
- Maybe you’ve designed some great websites, keep screenshots.
- Have some great glowing praise from a colleague, client or boss? Print it out and keep it in your brag file.
- Done some training courses? - print out certificates,
- Performance reviews (as long as they are good!)
- Letters of reference
- Impressive statistics, or better still, graphs that show you in comparison to your peers
- Any other examples of your work
- Any articles about you or research you have published
- Anything else that is quantifiable, tangible and supporting.
Obviously you need to choose your content carefully, and be selective. You can’t always include the entirety of every item. For example, if you’ve published 20 papers, create a list with titles & dates, not the papers themselves. Keep it up to date at all times.
Before the interview
Before your interview, go through your brag file, and take out things that are not relevant to the interview. Make sure your evidence data is up to date too.
Get the file organised, use tabs if you need to. It’s a sales aid, so make sure you can jump in and find a specific page, without thumbing through the whole thing each time – that just makes you look foolish.
Make sure it looks professional too. Scruffy bits of paper in a dog eared folder don’t have the same impact as a classy folder with plastic sleeves. It shows you care. .. And if you leave it behind, then the interviewer will know that you consider it a good investment. Just make sure your contact details are on it!
At the Interview
Your brag file is not something you want go through cover to cover at the interview (unless you want to bore your interviewer), it’s there simply to refer to during the interview where appropriate. It makes your responses stronger and has far more impact than just words.
Be prepared to leave a copy of your brag file behind, so always keep the originals safe, and take a spare to your interview. Remember however not to include any sensitive company information in the file.
Do be aware that the brag file is meant to support and back up your verbal answers during interview. Don’t rely on it to answer your questions.
Your brag file is an important document, showing your personal development, so even when you are NOT looking for a job, keep your brag file content up to date. Collating it should be a continual process, as it’s very easy to forget things during the year.
Your brag file is a crucial not only for new job interviews but also for internal reviews and appraisals. And even just having a brag file shows you are an organised individual who takes your career seriously.