My career plan never included Sales, but right out of college, I landed a job selling servers and colocation space. I loved it. I enjoyed the speed, the dynamism of working with clients and being in more control of my pay through commission and bonuses. I knew Sales was where I wanted to be. When I decided to test out a different industry, I interviewed for a pharmaceutical sales position and they asked for a Brag Book.
Your Secret Weapon to Landing Your Dream Job
What's a Brag Book?
I wasn’t familiar with the term, but I assumed it was a collection of your achievements. I found out, it’s a portfolio of your cover letter, resume, sales achievements, and references. I prepped for the interview, made my professionally bound Brag Book and experienced the after effect—a big rush of confidence.
Your Secret Weapon to Landing Your Dream Job
Outlining your accomplishments is something everyone should do, like reading your greatest hits in one sitting. I got past the first round and ended up passing on the job, but the idea of the Brag Book stuck. Every single job that I wanted to close with a bit more of a persuasive punch, I created a Brag Book, but I added my own spin.
I included a section of relevant work project examples (e.g. presentations and plans) and it turned into my secret weapon. It was an effective way for me to self promote without sounding arrogant or feeling like an imposter. The compilation was a way to show my attention to detail, without only limiting it to a cover letter and resume, sitting in a sea of other cover letters and resumes. Also, it was a method to showcase that I could go above and beyond without just boldly declaring it in an interview. Most of all, I could convince my future employer that I would be an invaluable asset that they couldn’t pass on. And it worked.
Every single job that I applied for with a Brag Book, I was hired. And it also helped me get my dream job...at Pinterest. A big fan of the app since it was invite-only, I told myself that if I had the chance to work there (even as the janitor), I’d take it! I got a call for an interview, passed the first round with recruiting and flew to San Francisco with my Brag Book ready. I honestly felt the in person interview with the hiring manager wasn’t my best performance, but I weaved the Brag Book into the conversation and as a leave behind. My manager shared with me afterwards that during the debrief meeting with the other interviewers, she held up my Brag Book and said, “We need her.” That was the start of my journey at Pinterest.
Learn How to Brag
But the secret isn’t just creating a book, it’s putting the effort and crafting your story. It’s putting together the tangible evidential proof on why you’re right for the role. It takes time and preparation.
What’s surprising to me is that after nearly 20 years of managing teams, I haven’t stumbled upon a single Brag Book from the hundreds of candidates that I interviewed. Paying it forward, I’m now passing the secret to you, in hopes that you win the job of your dreams. With my business partner and close friend, Sarah, we took the components of my original version of the Brag Book and elevated it. This is the version I wish I had when I created my own.
With a how-to-workbook that includes examples for each section and fully customizable templates, we did most of the heavy lifting for you. It can be easily sent digitally or professionally printed. But if you want to be inspired to craft your own from scratch, below you will find the key sections. Tap into your best self, believe that you’re worth bragging about and happy job hunting!
An introduction page with your name, email, phone number and the role you’re applying for. To add a professional touch, include the date of the interview as well as the logo of the company you’re interviewing with.
Keep your cover letter to one page to address who you are and include highlights NOT found on your resume—allow your personality to come through in creative ways. Our workbook provides 3 versions based on your ideal persona.
Your resume should be a strategically organized, detailed and visually appealing document that showcases your skills and work experience. Our workbook provides 3 resume templates: 1 ATS friendly version to beat the bots and 2 creative formats to stand out.
Including copies of recommendation letters from work colleagues (managers are best) are impactful to validate your skills and strengths by a credible source. LinkedIn recommendations are also great to include.
Relevant Work Projects
Presentations, project plans, designs, etc. can win decision makers over. Compile relevant projects to review during your interview and help the hiring manager visualize how you'll provide value. Our workbook provides a presentation template and examples on how to showcase your best work.
List your 3 best and reliable work references by including their contact info (name, phone, email). Make sure to ask your contacts for their permission ahead of time as well as offer context for the role at hand so they can advocate for you in the best way possible.
Include measurable results, awards and recognition you've received that would be meaningful for your future role. Include quantifiable metrics and outcomes that speak loudly to the impact you can bring to the team.
Education & Certifications
Feel free to include details regarding your education or specific trainings and certifications. Although education is many times included in your resume, this can be a great section to expand on your learnings and the skills the company can leverage.
Questions regarding our workbook and exercises? Please reach out to email@example.com.