7e: Tailoring Accomplishments to Portfolios and Brag Books

A career portfolio is a worthwhile tool to create for yourself and bring to interviews because it enables you to show tangible proof of your accomplishments through samples of your work. Typical items that you can include in a career portfolio are reports; white papers; studies; brochures; projects; presentations; published papers; conference proceedings; certificates of awards and honors; testimonials from customers, clients, colleagues, and past employers; lists of conferences, seminars, and workshops you’ve participated in and/or attended; a listing of professional-development activities, such as professional association memberships and conferences attended; and a description of community-service activities, volunteering, or pro bono work you have completed, especially as it relates to your career.

When the interviewer asks a question that calls for a response that truly demonstrates a specific skill, piece of knowledge, or accomplishment, consider presenting evidence in your portfolio. For example, the interviewer might ask you to describe the most complex project you ever oversaw. You can say, “I’d be glad to describe my most complex project. In fact, I have the project-management matrix in my portfolio. Let me walk you through that and show you photos of the key deliverables.” For a question like “Do you have any experience with forecasting strategic modeling?”, you could say, “Yes, I do. Let me show you the modeling spreadsheet in my portfolio.”

As we saw in Chapter 3, a Brag Book is virtually the same as a career portfolio. The term is commonly used in pharmaceutical sales, and the artifacts in the Brag Book tend to be sales oriented.