Basically, a brag file (or win file, or whatever) is just a place where you collect the dope shit you do for posterity. It can be a Google doc, a draft email, a folder on your desktop with screenshots, and images, whatever makes sense. I prefer a Google doc for easy copy/pasting.
Every time you finish a big project, accomplish something important, or deal with something unexpected, write about it in your brag file. Make sure to note what your role specifically was, what the challenges were, how you overcame them, and what the impact was.
In addition to being a valuable lil' debrief time for yourself to reflect on what went right, this will ensure that you have all the best, most complicated, hardest, and most impactful stuff you've ever done at your fingertips.
You can then use that Brag File info to:
- Boost you performance evaluations at your current company: when you're making the case for a promotion or raise, you'll be able to point to more specific stuff to build yourself up.
- Write kickass cover letters: Big achievements are what great cover letters are made of. Including them in your cover letters really raises their impact and paints a picture of how you operate on the job... something no amount of "I work well alone or on a team" statements can do.
- Prep better for interviews: Having your biggest accomplishments on hand for review is a great way to prep for interviews. Behavioral interviewing (generally regarded as the gold standard in interviewing at the moment) involves discussing specific situations where you've demonstrated the traits needed for the job; for instance, instead of asking you about your communication skills, an interviewer might instead say "Tell me about a time when you had to communicate something difficult to a group of people" or "What is the best thing you've ever written, and why?"
It can be hard to remember to update your Brag File, so hot tip: subscribe to my newsletter, and you'll get a prompt every couple weeks right at the top to reflect and update your doc!