How to Keep Track of Your Accomplishments
Regardless of where you are in your career, keeping track of your accomplishments is not only good practice, it is SMART! A brag sheet highlights your accomplishments, experiences, and major milestones. I know this goes against everything you've been taught about being humble and letting your work speak for itself. However, a brag sheet is a good way to keep track of your professional and personal goals and celebrate your wins as they happen. Warming up to the idea yet? Here are the different ways you can use a brag sheet:
For resumes/CVs - want to show potential employers that you are someone who produces results? A brag sheets makes it easy for you to keep track of your accomplishments at your last job, and also update your CV in preparation for your next opportunity.
Interviews - one of the common questions asked at interviews involves speaking on your previous roles and key accomplishments. Yup, you guessed it, a brag sheet becomes your personal cheat/preparation sheet. Select your top three contributions to your previous firm/organization and practice presenting them in ways that are relevant to the potential employer you are interviewing with.
Asking for a promotion or a raise - what is the point of having a brag sheet if you can't leverage it for your career growth. With a brag sheet, you'll be able to clearly articulate your contributions to the company's bottom line and why you deserve a promotion or raise.
Performance reviews - track everything! Contributions to projects, personal initiatives that produced great results, expansion into new territory, new business, etc. Keep track of every little detail and share with your manager. It helps to have multiple perspectives on what you bring to the table on a regular basis.
Taking advantage of new opportunities: brag sheets make for excellent talking points at networking events, and also collaboration opportunities. You have a ready resource that you can draw upon and use as part of your pitch.
On a personal level, your brag sheet can be a confidence booster when you are having a bad day. Consider it a "you are amazing" note to yourself and a source of encouragement. It is easy to forget how much you've accomplished during low points. A list of accomplishments can be just the right medicine for when self-doubt starts to creep in on you.
A user guide | An editable three (3) column grid to record specific projects,
your contributions, and the outcome/success
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How to Put a Brag List Together
Focus on results - what challenges did you identify in your company and what actions did you take to resolve the situation? What was the outcome? Some examples include creating more efficient systems and processes that cut down on cost, improved the company's online presence, established and maintained key business relationships that allowed for expansion into new markets and increased profits, etc.
Make your brag sheet accessible - it might be tempting to write a long treaty on your accomplishments, but keep it concise and simple to read. Use brief descriptions for projects and bullet points to capture key information. While some people prefer to write things down, it might be useful to have your brag sheet in a digital format and save to Dropbox or Google Drive so that you can retrieve it at any given time.
Capture key details - it goes without saying, your brag sheet won't be complete without details such as name of projects, dates and timelines, contributions (this includes that of other team members), external collaborations and partnerships, etc. All the details must demonstrate how your actions led to the achievement of set goals and objectives.
Update your brag sheet regularly - like any career related document, be sure to update your brag sheet consistently. As time goes on, it gets easier to forget the details of various tasks and projects. Updating your sheet as you hit major mile stones helps you keep accurate records and also track your progress as you work towards your goals.
If you are just starting out in your career, your brag sheet may consist of leadership positions in your department, student body government, extracurricular groups, etc. You can also feature a list of awards for exceptional academic performance, competitions you've participated in and won, special professional groups memberships, etc.
You may be wondering what the difference is between a CV/resume and a brag sheet. The truth is, they are pretty similar and can be used in place of each other. However, a brag list is your own personal record of all the things you've accomplished. I use mine as a brain dump site. My resume is more streamlined and often times tailored to the position I'm applying to. Also, I am able to track accomplishments for personal goals that I won't typically include in my resume/CV.
I know this entire post is about creating a brag sheet. However, DO NOT go around bragging without a context. Please o, I didn't send you on that journey. Communicating your accomplishments should always be done within a given context, and with humility. Give credit where due (especially when and where you've worked with team members), and always present your accomplishments in a way that speaks to your role within the organization and the enabling environment that has made such results possible. Also, in creating a brag sheet, do not give away private company information.
Okay guys, let me know what you think? Does a brag list make sense or would you rather skip this and have just a resume/CV? Let me know in the comments section.