HOW TO DESIGN, WRITE, ANDCOMPILE A QUALITY BRAG BOOKTHE RESOURCE YOU NEED TO Stand Apart from Other Jobseekers “Wow” Hiring Managers Secure More Job OffersIncludes brag bookcontent examplesSecond EditionWritten by Lena Jackson

Table of ContentsChapter 1: Note From The AuthorA Few words from Lena JacksonPage 3Chapter 2: Intro to Brag BooksWhat You Need to Know Starting OutPage 5Purpose of a brag book; Initial questions you might have about brag booksChapter 3: Brag Book Q&AsAnswers to The Questions You Have About Brag BooksPage 7Is a brag book worth the time applied to putting one together; Who can benefit from a brag book;What’s the point of having a brag book; What does the brag book contain that my resume does not;Can a brag book be general/must it cater to a specific person or company; Is it possible to fill a bragbook even if you don’t possess prior sales, management, or executive experience; Is there a timewhen a brag book is too big; Should the brag book be present at every interview; Can I use an online,soft copy brag book; Can you offer any added advice to help me develop a brag bookChapter 4: Content Ideas for Your Brag BookPotential Brag Book Contents; necessary and not so necessaryPage 13Resume/cover letter; Professional awards; Recommendations/recognition letters from superiors andclients; Detailed lists of sales and/or management achievements that wouldn’t fit into (or beappropriate in) your resume; College degrees/continuing education certificates; Sales spreadsheets;Social media activities; List of personal/ professional references; Miscellaneous accolades; Your plan ofaction; Other content suggestions for your brag bookChapter 5: Sample Brag Book DocsA Sampling of Brag Book DocumentsPage 19Chapter 6: How to “Package” Your Brag BookHow to Best Present Your Brag Book InformationPage 2 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLCPage 38

Note From The AuthorPage 3 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

A few words from Lena.When writing the first edition of this book back in 2005, the thought of using a brag book was still somewhat ininfancy. Brag books were just starting to surface in the job-search world, so there was a bit of allure, especiallywhen you factor jobseekers are always looking for new and unique ways to present themselves differently.As I spoke to more recruiters and hiring managers about brag books, I learned they collectively didn’t have adefinitive answer on the matter either — no surprise there. Also, online forums reflected heated discussions onwhether a brag book offered any relevant weight to jobseekers.People were lining up on both sides of the debate.It was these debates that sparked my interest in learning whether my job-seeking clients would benefit fromthis thing called a brag book.In 2005 I believed, and at the time of writing this second edition I still believe, brag books are a great tool forjobseekers and professionals. I hope you concur.Good luck to you!Regards,Lena Jackson, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)12-Year Resume-Writing VeteranThe Resume Fix, LLCwww.theresumefix.comRead my Career Blog: and-career-adviceConnect with me on LinkedIn: gistLet’s grow and excel together.Page 4 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Intro to Brag BooksPage 5 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Purpose of a Brag Book and other detailsA brag book serves as an extension ofyour resume. Since a brag book offersmore details, documentation, and chartsthat don’t have room, or aren’t expected tobe included or attached to your resume, thecontents of your brag book are virtuallylimitless.If there is any limitation, it’s confined onlyto your creativity and imagination.Much like an artist possesses a sample book with pictures of works, or a model has a portfolio with dozens ofhead and body shots, your brag book should “sing your praises” and reflect your portfolio of assets. Unlike anartist or model, however, your brag book will not contain pictures or examples of design work per se, butrather provide a “picture” of the bottom-line results from the body of your work generated for employers.A brag book is designed to sell a keyproduct: you.Jobseekers typically have a variety of initial questions about brag books: Is a brag book really worth the time applied to putting one together? What does the brag book contain that my resume does not? Will the person on the other side of the hiring desk really care whether I present one? If I’m competing against someone who presents a brag book, will I look less prepared without one?All great questions — but unfortunately, there is no definitive answer that can be applied to any one. I thinkthis is what jobseekers have the hardest time grasping. When it comes to yourresume, cover letter, and yes, brag book, a jobseeker can only do his bestwhen trying to predict the wants and needs of the hiring community. Polish offthat crystal ball, you’re going to need it.When it comes right down to it, you’re dealing with just plain folks peoplewith the power to hire. And what do we know about people?Well, we know people can be fickle.We know people have varying opinions.We also know people sometimes contradict themselves or change views/beliefsas they get older, learn, and apply new knowledge.Ask one hiring person today whether she likes brag books, and you mayreceive an emphatic no. Ask that person again when knee-deep in a jobsearch, and well, you might get a different answer.Page 6 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Brag Book Q&AsPage 7 of 7How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Brag Book Q&AsHere are some answers to several of the common questions about brag books. After all, you need to be armedwith all the straightforward information needed to determine whether a brag book is right for you.1. Is a brag book worth the time applied to putting one together?Undoubtedly, you will spend several hours accumulating materials for your bragbook, with a few hours here and there to keep your “master” brag book up todate — spread over several months and years, of course. The best practice isto keep a master brag book for your records, while providing HR managers andrecruiters with updated, relevant, and professionally presented “copies” of yourbook, which they can then keep, pass on to colleagues, and so on.Certainly when you factor the number of hours allocated to putting a brag booktogether, you want to make sure you aren’t wasting precious time timebetter spent on other job-search activities.A brag book is somewhat of a risk, and without knowing your short- and longterm return-on-investment, you’ll somewhat march through the project a littlebit blind — not knowing whether you’ll have any ROI at all.But, let’s say you’re in the ideal career field for a brag book. Then, the real question should be: Are you willingto take the chance of not having one if there’s only one person interested in viewing it? No matter how youspin it, someone at some point will be interested.Now, back to the original question: Should you take the time to collate one? Hell yes!A brag book should reflect thoroughness and attentiveness on yourpart, and therefore, outweigh any time spent compiling it.A jobseeker needs the added edge and a targeted brag book can help provide that added touch that othersignore all too often.It’s worth noting that a brag book comes in particularly helpful when targeting a specific company, or maybe,an industry-specific recruiter. When you have the right career destination in your sights, finding the right pathto it becomes easier — and it’s no different when you have your sights set on a specific job too.“I think brag books are important for many other interview situations,” says Frank Heasley,president and CEO of Medzilla. “It always helps to bring along some sort of portfolio of thethings that you’ve accomplished in your career — things you would not include with yourresume but that certainly serve as points of discussion to enhance communications with theperson that you are talking with.”2. Who can benefit from a brag book?Individuals heavily involved in generating bottom-line revenues, sales, and so on, are the best candidates tobenefit from a brag book. You don’t need to have any specific job title per se; but if your job focuses heavilyon any one or more of the following, chances are you have what it takes to aggregate a great brag book.Page 8 of 8How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Business Development/Sales Executive Operations/Consultancy Operations/Facility Management Human Resources/Staffing (when heavily based on improvements/efficiency/results) Financial Analysis/Realignment Business Steering/RestructuringIt’s questionable whether engineers, administration personnel, medical staff, and other task-heavy positions,for example, should possess a brag book. Jobs that inherently or routinely don’t focus on bottom-line results,such as revenue generation and cost savings, make compiling a brag book rather difficult. No doubt, there aresome job roles where a brag book just isn’t feasible. Let’s face it. The brag book is designed to includeaccomplishments and “braggable” material. If you’re in a position where outlining bottom-line results isroutinely difficult to identify and quantify, reconsider whether a brag book is right for you.3. What’s the point ofhaving a brag book?A skimmer; a page flipper; a pairof distracted eyes regardless ofwhich you encounter, a bragbook offers those with shortattention spans the ability to walkaway with a copy of your bragbook. Basically, a brag book givesyou the opportunity to provide a“leave behind”; something toprovoke the hiring manager tolearn more about you. What if the interviewer onlyskimmed your resume? What if the interviewer wasdistracted during theinterview and only heard afraction of what you said?The above represents examples of the challenges a brag book can help you overcome. A brag book providesone additional “vehicle” to the hiring manager to help further sway him into looking at you in more detail, andhopefully, offering the evidence needed to offer you the job — or minimally, call you in for another interview.4. What’s does the brag book contain that my resume does not?One could argue that a resume is rather rigid with only a few acceptable headers that readers wish to see;, professional experience, and objective/summary. The brag book takes your information muchfurther by including more in-depth categories (presented under tabs) such as letters of recommendation andannual performance reports. Specifically, a brag book reflects all those “feathers in your cap” that you wish torelay to the reader yet couldn’t find room for elsewhere.Page 9 of 9How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

5. Can a brag book be general? Must it cater to a specific person orcompany?A brag book can be general, much like other job-search documents. One notable issue with a general bragbook: you’ll miss an opportunity of adding more value and relevance for the hiring company / brag bookrecipient.Put yourself in their shoes.Would you prefer a general brag book, relevant to anyone and everyone, or would you like to see a book thathas been personalized and speaks directly to you?Whenever humanly possible, produce a brag book that caters specifically to each interviewer and/or hiringcompany — only if you wish to enhance your hire-ability factor even further, of course.6. Is it possible to fill a brag book even if you don’t possess prior sales,management, or executive experience?Bragging is universal across a high number of career fields and industries, yet the answer to this question is“maybe.” The sole purpose of a brag book is to reflect your greatness, as I mentioned above. There’s no sensein cushioning the answer, because it’s all about presenting you as a better, more effective, more efficient, andmore profitable hiring choice. If you don’t have enough “bragging collateral,” often prevalent with those insales, management, or executive roles, coming up with an adequate amount of braggable detail can makefilling a brag book extremely difficult. When faced with this dilemma, abandoning a brag book — at least forthe time-being — may be necessary.7. Is there a time when a brag book is too big?Determining the right size is really between you and the people viewing it. To keep the contents of your bookfresh, thoroughly weigh the relevance of each piece of material, which should help keep the book to areasonable size.When unsure on the ideal size of your brag book, pay attention to interviewers when they pick it up and thumbthrough the pages. Do their eyes widen when you hand it to them? Do they skim and quickly hand it back? Areader’s actions and reactions will offer great insight into whether your finished brag book is too much, andsubsequently needs a little nip and tuck.Should your brag book cover a specific time frame? Maybe 10 years? When faced with quantity (meaning yourbook is just getting too fat), shift your attention even further towards quality. For example, let’s say yousecured and later saved a 250,000 client with a former client. Right now, you have the achievement listed asa bullet point under the sales achievements tab of your brag book. Taking a closer look at your career history,however, one learns that you now work with 5MM clients who sign 2- and 5-year contracts with your currentemployer.There are small achievements, and then there are those that add “WOW factor.” Typically, the bestachievements to brag about are the biggest and the best. The 250,000 client takes a backseat and becomesovershadowed by the 5MM clients you now work with. Do you see where I’m going with this?BTW, it’s worth noting that the only time to stray from this formula is when you are intentionally taking a stepback in your career.Page 10 of 10How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

8. Should the brag book be present atevery interview?It’s tough reading people’s minds, do you agree? Who wants toread the brag book? Which interviewer even cares? Well, that’sthe problem. There’s no black and white answer to suchquestions. So, plan to cover ground by bringing your brag bookto every interview. Yes, it will be time consuming especially ifyou plan to personalize each book, but your efforts willeventually pay off.Presenting the brag book at the right time during an interviewcan be a challenge too. Should it be the first thing you presentor maybe wait until the closing part of the interview process?It’s tough to say because every interviewer has differentpreferences, so improvise. Hold onto the brag book until yousee a break in the conversation and when you feel comfortablemaking the introduction. A great time to introduce your bragbook during the interview could be after the interviewer hasexhausted his list of interview questions and subsequently hands the floor over to you.9. Can I use an online, soft copy brag book?With today’s Internet age, going with a soft copy of your brag book seems like a logical next step. But, a softcopy introduces new challenges and issues not found with the traditional, hard copy version.For example, have you thought about How will I house the soft copy of my brag book — online, CD, etc? How do I ensure hiring personnel will take that necessary step to view it? If online, what service will I use? Will the brag book be password protected or viewable byeveryone/anyone? How will the password be delivered to hiring managers?The biggest obstacles when opting for a soft copy are view ability and accessibility. Typically, a brag book ishand delivered within an interview, somewhat “encouraging” hiring managers to open and minimally skim thecontents. When delivery is done by an alternate method, by compact disc, for example, you’re left with thehope that the hiring manager will go back to his computer, insert the CD into his computer, and spend timeoutside the interview to view your book.The same scenario falls true when your brag book is housed online. Will the hiring manager take the timeneeded to input a website address, type a password (if required), and skim the online web pages that make upyour brag book? No doubt, it’s a gamble.What about my iPad? Will that work for hiring managers?Because you’ll spend a fair amount of time compiling your book, getting the most mileage from your efforts willbe your ultimate goal. Although an iPad would work, how much time will the hiring manager spend reviewingyour brag book on such a compact device? You could opt for a laptop, but again, there’s still the questionabout time spent reviewing what you expend so much time accumulating.Going with a print copy of my brag book sounds great, but my brag book is expected to be 1-2 inches thick.Keep in mind, all the content of your master brag book may not apply to every hiring company. The pages youPage 11 of 11How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

copy, compile, and provide to each book recipient should vary. For example, those awards you received fromCanon back in the 1990s may be important when applying to Hewlett Packard, but not as important whenapplying to employers across other industries. The goal is to provide employers with the most relevant andimportant components of your brag book.10. Can you offer any added advice to help me develop a brag book?Here are 5 quick key strategies for developing a great brag book:1.Focus accomplishments in your brag book to only those from the last few years; maybe 36months to 48 months old. Why cover such a tight time frame? A-list actors will often say that they’reonly as good as his or her last picture, and the same may fall true with jobseekers. Readers will likely favorrecent and slightly older achievements over those from 10 to 20 years ago.2.Hone in on a brag book theme. If you’re great at sales and building relationships with Fortune 500companies, your brag book better reflect a fresh, impeccable record of accomplishments with companiesof that size and financial caliber.3.Avoid making your brag book a catchall portfolio. Weigh every item you place in it. Ask yourself acouple of main questions. Does this inclusion mean anything? Will employers even care about it? Think ofeach item placed in the brag book as an A-player or B-player. B-players should likely be benched (placedin a less dominant position), or cut from the team.4.Ensure the book is organized and easy to follow. As with any other compilation of materials, look atyour finished resource through the eyes of its readers. Are the sections easily marked? Are the reportsand/or lists of accomplishments appropriately organized by date, size, and relevancy?5.Update the brag book monthly, biyearly, or minimally, several weeks before you beginsearching for a new job. Conducting a regular update avoids the need to frantically search aroundlooking for documentation, sales figures, percentages, and other details. A regimen of continuous updatingmeans newly added data is fresh in your mind, and will ultimately make the task easier to complete.The Bitter RealityYou’re not the only jobseeker looking for a job. Shocking, I know!In the smallest town or the largest city, you’re contending with an unprecedented number of competitors.They’re coined “competitors” simply because you’re competing against them for the limited slots open intoday’s crowded job market. In the last 5 years, jobs were highly sought after — no surprise there. But today’sopenings are seeing record numbers of applicants extraordinarily high numbers, in fact!Want more bad news?Forget those who have recently lost jobs — thinking about those who are employed, yet planning to changejobs or restructure their careers can be mind-boggling too. So when you combine the droves of unemployedpersons who are actively searching, career changers, new college grads, and the run-of-the-mill, employedyet-always-on-the-market jobseekers, well, reality can set in and quickly!How many others are there with your exact skill set and list of accomplishments, or worse yet, how manypossess something better?You have no choice. You must outshine, outperform, and outdo when it comes to maneuvering the job-searchgauntlet. Failure to do so, and your job search continues while another revels in the position that should havebeen yours.With increased job-search competition, a brag book suddenly becomes a make-or-break component forjobseekers — it’s that simple.Page 12 of 12How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Content Ideas forYour Brag BookPage 13 of 13How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

Brag Book ContentThe following content suggestions are not all mandatory elements to abrag book. At this point, hiring managers and recruiters keep an openmind with brag books, so the exact tabs in your brag book may differfrom others with a similar skill set.Potential brag book contents could encompass:1. Resume/Cover LetterIncluding a resume and cover letter isn’t a necessary element of a bragbook, but these documents do provide the hiring manager the abilityto read and consider your skill set — one more time, if only for amoment.To avoid confusing the reader, include the cover letter and resume youoriginally submitted at the time of applying for the job. Include adifferent resume, and you might throw off the reader.2. Professional AwardsThe object is to always keep the pages of your brag book up-to-date and fresh, so encompassing awards fromthe last 5-10 years are a great idea. For those with extensive histories of performance, including awardsbeyond 10 years is acceptable as well.Are there some awards that overshadow others? Yes. Employee of the Month awards don’t hold as muchweight as Employee of the Year or Salesman of the Year.What types of awards should you include?The following represents a sample list of awards you might want to include: Employee of the Year Salesman of the Year President’s Club Enterprise Club of Achievement Winner’s Circle Chairman’s Circle Best in Brand Anniversary CupShould you include military awards? It depends. For those presently separating from the military, awardsreceived while active military are likely all you have to include. For those who separated from the military a fewyears back, however, assess whether you now have enough civilian awards to exclude or begin “shaving”military awards down to a smaller number. It’s worth noting that military awards don’t always hold the samevalue as civilian awards.Page 14 of 14How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

3. Recommendation/Recognition Letters From Superiors/ClientsCreating a tab in your brag book to encompass recommendation and recognition letters from superiors andclients is a great strategy, as letters help add “voice” and introduce validity to the statements contained in yourresume, cover letter, and yes, brag book. Let’s say, for example, that your brag book contains the following:“Grew the SW Florida area from 1.5M to 4.13MM between 2007 and 2010.”Ideally, a recognition letter from your boss indicating your success over that 3-year period tells the reader thatyou’ve performed at the level stated. Possessing a letter from one of your customers secured during thattimeline would be great too!Do you see where I’m going with this?Of course, this is an ideal situation. Our customers and bosses inherently avoid talking about financial aspects,so getting letters that highlight numbers and percentages might be a challenge — if not impossible.Just do your best.4. Detailed lists of sales and/or management achievements that wouldn’t fit into (orbe appropriate in) your resumeA resume can only house so much detail, making the brag book a great place to go a little wild withaccomplishments. The achievement category can entail all those feathers in your cap. For example, it mightinclude revenue and sales reports, detailed management achievements (e.g. realignment of staff, internalrestructuring, introduction of new technologies), andother secondary accomplishments that didn’t make thecut for your resume.What else can you include in this section?How about Specifics about new clients; list client names *Successes relating to per-client salesImprovements to your workforce/teamIncreases in bottom-line revenue and sales* presuming you’re not confined to a confidentialityagreement with a current or past employer5. College Degree(s)/Continuing Education CertificatesDon’t feel inclined to include copies of your college degrees or CEU certificates; doing so is strictly yourpreference. Completed college degrees should already be mentioned in your resume, so providing actualcopies of your degree might be redundant.Continuing education certificates can get bulky, too, especially if you’re an avid participant with advancedtraining. In this case, a detailed list of all continuing education is likely the better option.Page 15 of 15How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

A sample header for listing the training could look something like this:Name of TrainingEffective CRMAdministered ByNew Horizons# CEUs2DateSeptember 20106. Non-Confidential, Personally-Cultivated Sales SpreadsheetsSales professionals (or those with sales as part of his or her job roles) have the best opportunity to expandbrag books to include broad and deep sales information. Sales spreadsheets enable you to shine for potentialemployers — particularly useful for professionals who have a long record of building client accounts, expandingmarket share, growing sales and bottom-line revenues, and so on.How much sales detail should I provide?How you present and how much you present is up to you. For the Sample Sales Spreadsheets & Chartscontained on page 35 of this book, sales were broken down by month. However, you might package your salesvolumes by month, quarter, or year — or include a combination of these.When deciding between monthly, quarterly, or yearly, ask yourself which representation puts your salesachievements in the best light.What should I do for those months where sales were negatively affected by the bad economy?At some point, you may have blemishes within your sales record for circumstances in and out of your control.Confident sales professionals know that not every road is a yellow brick road. Certainly sales professionalswant to strive to meet and exceed employers’ expectations, and you should be no different. Anytime your salesvolumes don’t meet sales quotas, don’t worry about it too much, but definitely follow any sales losses withattractive sales gains. Employers are willing to overlook negative sales activities, especially when those salesare followed by favorable (preferably sizable) sales gains.7. Social Media ActivitiesSomething new to brag books is the inclusion of social media activities thatare professional, and preferably, relevant to your job search. Let’s say forexample that you head a LinkedIn group that caters to the pharmaceuticalsales industry and as luck would have it, you’re focused on apharmaceutical sales position with a major drug company. This is an idealsituation where including your social media activities is preferred.Some social media activities are irrelevant and probably best left unknownto hiring managers, however. For example, MySpace is considered a socialmedia activity yet hiring managers tend to show little interest in the site.Some of the more prominent and professional social media activities include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ning,and BlackPlanet.Not sure about adding social media activities?A survey included within a presentation given by Brooke Watts and Francois Dufour on LinkedInindicated an increasing number of recruiters and HR personnel plan to spend more time and money onprofessional social networking forums.Page 16 of 16How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag BookWritten by Lena Jackson; 2020, The Resume Fix, LLC

One could take that claim to mean the obvious sourcing for candidates, but it could also have a less-thanfavorable flip side, meaning an intended growth to also leverage online tools to prescreen candidates. Noproblem for those who carry themselves professionally online. But always be very, very, very careful what youput online because your words can help you, or bite you in the butt. It’s also worth noting your social mediaactivities will *live* on the Internet for an undisclosed amount of time, possibly viewable by talent recruitersfor years, so keep that in mind as well.Take the following as a prime example of what **not** to include:A good rule of thumb to follow, and to keep youronline, professional “world” from being tarnished:Conduct yourself online in such a way that you’d be comfortablehaving your priest, mother, and children view your activities.8. List of Personal/Professional ReferencesAlthough the inclusion of references might seem like an unusual addition to your brag book, this simple addjust might save your fanny once or twice. How many times have you been asked

when a brag book is too big; Should the brag book be present at every interview; Can I use an online, soft copy brag book; Can you offer any added advice to help me develop a brag book Chapter 4: Content Ideas for Your Brag Book Potential Brag Book Contents; necessary and not so necessary Page 13 Resume/cover letter; Professional awards .