Brag documents & why you should have one!
I'm currently participating in a Career MOOC hosted by Code First Girls and was introduced to the concept of using a Brag Document.
What is a brag document?
A brag document (also known as a shine document or hype document) is a small but mighty tool for your career advancement.
It's a way for you to record all your accomplishments, big or small, throughout the year.
So why should you use one?
Most of us can relate to that moment when our minds go blank when asked what we've accomplished during our yearly reviews, and if we can't remember our own accomplishments, it would be unfair to expect our line manager to remember them for us!
Enter the Brag Document!
By adding your wins to your brag document when they happen, you have something you can refer back to at review time to refresh your memory of all the amazing things you've achieved over the past year.
They can also be a fantastic tool to help you provide evidence during a pay or promotion review, or to utilise when refreshing your CV or LinkedIn profile when applying for new positions.
Another fantastic reason to keep a brag document is for your own self reflection and to help build your confidence. We've all had a day where we feel like we're stupid and can't understand even the simplest of things - so it can be great to give your brag document a look over to remind yourself of everything you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come!
What should you include and where to keep it?
There are no hard and fast rules for what should be included in a brag document, or where to keep it - it should be personalised to suit your circumstances and the reason why you're keeping the document.
Some people like to use a notebook, others prefer to use an online document or private GitHub repo - find what works best for you!
Some examples of what you can include are:
- What are your goals for the year?
- If you are working over several projects, make a section for each project.
- Mentorship - are you providing mentorship (officially or not) to someone else?
- Documentation - did you create or improve the documentation for a project?
- Learning - what are your plans for further learning? Have you completed any courses?
- Outside of work wins - do you write a tech blog, mentor someone outside of work? Do you participate in any tech communities, or contribute to open-source?
You can also be kind to your future self and write some entries using the STAR or CARL technique - this will be a big win for when you start thinking about applying for a new position, and have some examples ready to go!
When should you add to it?
Time is our enemy when it comes to remembering what we've accomplished - so the sooner we can get those accomplishments documented, the more we will remember about it!
It can be a good idea to make yourself a regular appointment, perhaps at the end of each week to fill out your brag document, while your wins are still fresh in your mind.
How should you share it?
It can be a great idea to let your line manager and team know you are using a brag document, and invite them to make suggestions on what you can add to it - as we all know we can be toughest on ourselves and only see our failures, so it can be great to get another perspective on our accomplishments.
You could also reciprocate to your teammates and point out when they do something that you feel they could add to their own brag documents - for example if a teammate provides you some mentorship on a project.
However when its time to utilise the document, its best to share the evidence from it rather than the actual document itself.
I'd love to know if you already keep a brag document, or if you plan to start one - I’ve shared some further reading below together with some templates - feel free to share in the comments 😊