The Brag-a-Log is the world’s best kept secret in job hunting. It’s usefulness is second only to the resume. However for some reason, it’s an idea not readily generated on its own. Its elusiveness is a detriment to those who need it most. However, once you’re exposed, you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner.
In using the Brag-a-Log, you’ll save yourself countless hours of writing, editing, and back searching as you step through the application process. Let’s start making your life easier.
What is a Brag-a-Log?
A Brag-a-Log is a concatenation of all the information relating to your past and present professional experiences. It gives you easy access to key information often cited during the application process.
How many times have you been asked for your dates of employment, supervisor’s name, number, and email? Countless I’m sure, so let’s save you the trouble of looking it up again and again, and just save it in your Brag-a-Log.
How Will It Help You?
You must be nimble and versatile when you carry a low GPA. Just one resume won’t cut it; it needs to be optimized for every application, even if only subtly. Laboring over every modification will drain your time and energy. Having an up-to-date list of experiences will aid you in the modification process. It will also make future applications a breeze.
The Brag-a-Log aids in three (3) areas:
- Job Applications. Avoid digging up old information over and over again.
- Resume Writing. Hot swap courses, awards, and job experiences seamlessly.
- Interviewing. Catalog of every positive professional experience you’ve ever had makes prep’ing a cinch.
What Goes in It?
1. Job Titles/Positions/Activities
- Job Titles/Positions. Every application calls for previous experiences, job positions, and activities. Save them in your Brag-a-Log for easy access.
- Dates. How long did you work at your last job? What were the start and end dates? The more detail, the better. If you know down the exact day, record it.
- Supervisor(s). Having your previous supervisor’s name, number, email, and title easily accessible is paramount. This is commonly asked for and seldom remembered. You can also pool potential references here.
- Description. Your job description should be no more than 2-3 sentences. It should simply explain the job’s responsibilities and possibly things that you did. Have a bullet and paragraph version so you’re prepared to supply either.
- Address & Address. Commonly asked for in apps and legal documents, it’s good to have this recorded alongside your job information.
- Remarks/Impact. A quick synopsis on the impact this had on you and what lessons you learned from it, jog your memory of what was important about this experience for when it’s time to get your interview answers together.
Depending on the type of person you are, this section will be either extremely sparse or heaviliy laden. Either way, it’s extremely useful to have these on hand.
- Title/Program. What’s the name of the award or scholarship and who gave it to you? All identifying information should be included here.
- Time Frame. When did you receive the award and how long was it in effect?
- Amount Awarded/Conditions Upheld. Record the amounts and the conditions associated with each award. Did you have to keep a 3.0 GPA? Did you have to excel in computer science? You may think you’ll never forget, but memory fades.
- Description. Provide a short blurb of the award so as to jogs your memory when the time comes.
3. Resume Entries
Resume item hot-swapping is essential to the GPAU way. You need to be able to tailor your resume to the job quickly. Spending hours redrafting won’t bode well for quality. Make it easy by having the items and their general descriptions ready for copy and paste.
- Archives. Archive your entries whenever you remove or modify them. While you may not explicitly use it again, you’ll have a basis for revision.
- Ideas or Failed Entries. Not all entries will make it into your resume–it’s only one page after all. Don’t let them just disappear. Allow them to exist in your Brag-a-Log for future reference.
While you could look at your transcript for your list of courses, having them on your Brag-a-Log keeps everything in one place.
- Course Name and Code. List the courses that you think will be most relevant to your resume. Not every course will make the list, but don’t leave out anything important.
- Course Description. Use the university’s course catalog to copy-paste a description into the Brag-a-Log. When you decide to add a course to your resume, you’ll only need to break it down into bullet form. However, with the official description, you’ll have all the jargon and keywords necessary to make it sound posh.
5. Essays and Short Answers
Anytime you write an essay or short answer to an application, paste it here. The ability to call up paragraphs of text is a life-saver. After you’ve collected a few short answers, you’ll rarely have to rewrite from scratch again. Your only job will be to massage the words and sentences to the question’s needs.
- Prompt or Question. You’ll want to have the original prompt that drove your answer.
- Body. Your basis for many future essays. Just copy-paste your essay into the Brag-a-Log.
5. Personal/Miscellaneous Information
For items that don’t fit nicely under a heading, place them in the Miscellaneous section. Examples include:
- Previous personal on/off campus addresses. Your previous addresses are sometimes necessary for government jobs. When you’ve moved 4 times over 4 years, you may not remember every place you’ve lived. Save them here–zip code and all.
- Skills. Keep a running list of the skills you’ve used in the past. E.g. Photoshop, Excel. PowerPoint, horticulture …
- Home Projects. Things you’ve done or things you want to do can go here. They’ll spur ideas for future resume building activities. E.g. project cars, carpentry, blogs, etc.
- Trips/Experiences Abroad. Abroad experiences tend to be overlooked as sources of material. They offer a rich basis for interesting stories and accolades. Search your memory for some material you can use. E.g. mission trips, study abroads, etc.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to start a Brag-a-log for yourself. Even if you’re not in the middle of a job hunt, it’s helpful for the future. Save yourself the headache of looking things up over and over again. Just do it once and save it here. You’ll thank yourself when the time comes.
Best of luck, and be sure to add your ideas in the comments below!