Create a Brag File

When you enter the job market it is important to realise that you will be competing with many others, and you must prepare to make hiring managers aware of your many virtues. In other words, you must prepare to ‘sell’ yourself!

As well as writing a good CV, you should create a folder of documents which identify you as a person of considerable merit. These should include:

Details of all your referees

  • Name
  • Title
  • Current place of work
  • Contact details (telephone numbers, email addresses)
  • The place of work where you worked for or with them
  • The relationship between you at that place of work
  • You should always ask your referees for their permission to nominate them
  • Ideally, you should provide a referee for every place you have worked, whether or not it is relevant to the job you are applying for
  • Provide as many referees as you can – more than one from a single employer is perfectly acceptable

All your certificates of education

  • GCSEs
  • A Levels
  • First degree
  • Higher degree
  • If you cannot find your certificates you should make every effort to obtain them from the educational authorities that awarded them
  • If this proves impossible, then it is valueless to include those qualifications on your CV

Any other certificates regarding your training/personal development

  • Vocational courses
  • Language courses
  • IT courses
  • Management, sales, financial courses

Evidence of attainment in other areas

  • Sports awards/certificates
  • Nobel prizes etc

Letters of commendation

  • Appraisal letters from previous managers (cover letters, not pages of detailed notes)
  • Details of significant, well above average, work-related achievements
  • Letters from grateful customers (printed emails will do!)

Copies of newspaper/magazine/journal articles by you, or about you

Anything else you can think of!

It is hard to overdo this. I once saw in someone’s brag-file a 25m swimming certificate, aged 10. This was probably overdoing it!

  • Everyone should start this brag-file immediately upon leaving full-time education, and continuously add to it, amend it, improve it, throughout their working life.
  • It should be brought up to date every time you re-enter the job market and be ready for action!
  • It should not be too lengthy – quality rather than quantity is the key!
  • Adapt it according to circumstances (if you’re applying to be a lifeguard, that 25m swimming certificate might come into its own!)
  • You should prepare copies of the file and be prepared to take it along to interviews with you.
  • When you are asked at an interview ‘Why should we hire you?’ you can present the interviewer with a copy of your brag-file and tell him/her ‘See for yourself!’