Chronicle your professional accomplishments to manage your career.
Whether you're updating your resume, preparing for salary negotiations, or are in need of a pick-me-up after a bad day at work, a brag sheet is a useful document to own.
In its simplest form, a brag sheet is a place where you record all your professional accomplishments and contributions. Some people store this information in a Word document, while others prefer a mobile format such as Evernote. Whatever format you choose, here are five tips to help you build a powerful brag sheet that can help you advance your career.
When chronicling your accomplishments, think in terms of results. What was the outcome of your actions? Did you reduce costs, increase productivity, improve customer ratings or grow sales? Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. Even if you can't think of numbers, try to think in terms of better, faster and cheaper. What was the tangible benefit of your major contributions?
Capture the little details
Include relevant details such as dates, locations, and the names of the people and organizations that were involved in work. When you look back at your sheet a year later, you won't remember all those details without some help. Add in client reviews, customer testimonials and other kudos you've received from colleagues and your manager.
Don't become stagnant
Remember, your brag sheet is a living document and should be updated on a regular basis. If you assume new responsibilities at work, receive a great performance review or finish a project, pull up your brag sheet and add these new events. In addition, carve out at least an hour each quarter to review your brag sheet and evaluate your short-term career goals.
Brag with your bullet points
Your brag sheet will become a valuable resource when it's time to update your resume and prepare for interviews. Identify the accomplishments and contributions that are most relevant to your career goals and use those to craft the bullets under each of your previous roles. Structure the bullets to highlight the results of your actions. For example, "Reduced costs 27% annually by consolidating vendor contracts in purchasing department."
Prepare for negotiations with data.
It's much easier to negotiate with confidence when you're armed with data. First, use resources like competitive analysis tool TheLadders' Scout, to determine the average salary range for your job. Then review your brag sheet. You don't have to bring a print-out of your brag sheet to your meeting, but you should be able to cite some recent accomplishments that demonstrate the value you bring to the organization.
Take some time this week to develop your own brag sheet -- your career will thank you!