I have recently started a new career in the Privacy Field. After college I worked as a paralegal for about 5 years, then I took a break for graduate school, where I earned a Master in Information Science. I’ve held my current job in my field for about 6 months and I am gearing up to start looking for the next step in my career. With that in mind, I was thinking about creating a “brag book” for interviews. I’ve done some online research, and there are some good resources on the books, but I would love your opinion and the opinion of fellow readers on the value of such a “book,” what to include in the book, etc.
Congrats on your new career, E! I’ll admit it: I had to Google “brag book” in the job interview context, since I’m mostly familiar with it in the “grandma” context. (As in, the grandmother carries a small book of photos to brag about her grandchildren.) I will say that I think it’s kind of an unfortunate name, but it’s a great concept, at least for your personal use. I’m not sure I would bring it on job interviews, though. (Pictured: Granny’s Brag Book – a Mini Album, originally uploaded to Flickr by campbelj45ca.)
During my journalism years, I kept something similar. I went to Kate’s Paperie and got a big book with letter-sized inserts and started keeping my “clips,” as we call them — pages of magazines and newspapers where stories I had written appeared. I’ve continued to add various legal articles that I’ve published, even though it’s just for my personal use — and it’s one of my most cherished possessions. I also keep a listing of all of Corporette’s mentions in the press, which is my current (online only, though!) “brag book.” I’d say that these brag books are more for browsing, flipping, and less for reading.
That said, it’s much harder for me to imagine a brag book in other, less visual career fields. For example, while I remember bringing writing samples on interviews when I was younger, they would have made for a very boring brag book. Some of the other things that I’ve heard people advised to keep in there — written performance reviews, accolades, etc — honestly sound a bit petty to show off on a job interview. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t talk them up — your last supervisor said you were “brilliant” at your performance review! You were thrilled to do a great job for client X and even be recognized by Y for your work! — but something about presenting interviewers with an entire book of every single accomplishment feels a little bit like asking for gold stars.
That said, I think everyone should keep a brag book: a nicely put-together collection of some of your proudest job accomplishments, whether they’re writing samples, job reviews, or more (preferably in reverse chronological order, with the most recent stuff the most accessible). I think flipping through such a book would be an amazing way to prepare for job interviews, both to be able to point to specific pieces in it as evidence of skills learned, as well as to freshen your own memory as to the stories behind the experiences, hopefully showing off some of your harder-to-quantify-but-vitally-important worker traits, such as creativity, persistence, and more.
Readers, what are your thoughts — do you keep brag books for your career? If so, do you bring them on interviews?