What is a Brag Book? Documented Successes

What is a Brag Book? Documented Successes

Russ Mountain, CPC

How many times have you seen the phrase “documented success or proven track record required” in a job advertisement or posting? How often have you been asked in an interview if you have any documentation or proof of your sales successes?

In today’s highly competitive employment environment candidates that can produce written or documented evidence of their past successes have a distinct advantage. It is one thing to sit in front of a potential employer and tell a great story about your background and capabilities; it’s a completely BETTER story when you can present irrefutable documentation that validates your story. The difference may appear obvious, however there’s more to the impact when you analyze what an employer is trying to do in the interview process.

Working through recruiters and competent H.R. professionals, the real decision makers are meeting with prescreened and qualified candidates who all have the skills and abilities that fit the minimum requirements for the job. They are looking closely at the details of the background and capabilities of each candidate to minimize their risk and to maximize the odds of a getting a good return on their investment in the new employee. The individuals who can, not only tell, but also show what they have accomplished creates a much clearer picture in the minds of the decision makers that they are the better candidate.

Interviewing is psychological. When you produce documented physical evidence you are also appealing to a number of the interviewers senses. Why do good realtors have fresh flowers, or cookies backing in the oven with soothing music playing on the stereo when they do open houses? It is to pleasantly appeal to the maximum number of human senses that creates a stronger, more memorable and favorable impression. You can’t walk into an interview with a dozen roses and a box of cookies carrying a boom box. However, you can walk in dressed in the perfect interview attire, carrying a portfolio or a “Brag Book” of evidence supporting your career and educational story.

By being prepared to present and use this powerful presentation tool, you will create a much more powerful case for your candidacy that could clearly separate you from the competition. Here are a few of the strong psychological messages that a strong portfolio or brag book presented effectively can communicate:

Planning, Forethought and Organization:Organizing and keeping the data you have received over the years demonstrates that you think ahead.

Presentation Skills: The professional way you present the information demonstrates your abilities in this area.

Creativity and Initiative: By putting forth this extra effort you are demonstrating initiative. Your unique style and creativity can also be communicated in the information and how it is presented.

Trust and Credibility: Anytime you can document anything on your resume with other irrefutable evidence, subconsciously it adds credibility to everything on your resume and everything you say. The risk in the interviewers mind associated with hiring you is drastically reduced.

What goes into a career and education portfolio or “Brag Book”? Anything, that speaks to your successes. Keep everything. You can always decide later what to eliminate. My recommendation is that you organize it using tabs for sections (Education, Training, Employment, Civic / Social). Keep it in chronological order in each of the sections. Here are some ideas of what to include:

SAT or ACT Scores if in the top percentile; College Recruiting Letters; College Transcripts; Job offer letters; Newspaper or Magazine Articles; Press Releases; Stack Rankings for Sales Contests or Performances; Letters or Emails of Accommodation; Rewards or Recognition; Thank You Letters From Customers; Pictures of Trophies, Plaques, or Trips Awarded; Certification Certificates for Special Trainings; Performance Evaluations; W2’s by year; ETC.

These are all examples of what you can organize and present in an interview. This will paint a much clearer picture of your experiences and successes thereby making a much stronger statement of what you can do for your next employer.