Brag books are an important part of your job interview documents, especially for candidates in medical or health care sales. They are fantastic vehicles to highlight your achievements in sales rankings, sales volume, percentage improvements based on customers or territory, and other numerical evidence that you know how to ring the cash register. Find out how to create a killer brag book.
Recently, a candidate asked me if it’s OK to give your potential employer a copy of your brag book. Her feeling was that it would be a good reminder/reference for the hiring manager later on in the decision-making process.
That’s smart thinking.
But the decision to leave your brag book with your interviewer should depend on the circumstances. If you’re leaving your interview and you haven’t had a chance to go over your brag book with the hiring manager, then you shouldn’t leave it. If he wasn’t interested in seeing it in the interview, he won’t look at it later, and you’ve wasted your efforts (and a lot of paper). (See this video on what to do with your brag book for more information.)
In this candidate’s case, she had a great interview with a hiring manager who was very impressed with her accomplishments highlighted in her brag book. So leaving him a reminder was a good decision.
If you think, based on your experience in the interview, that it’s a good decision to leave the brag book and that it will add value to you as a candidate, then you should. Many don’t give it to them due to the cost of reproduction and some concerns for confidentiality, but I don’t think that confidentiality is really an issue. Over the years I have had many candidates send me their brag books and I can tell you that I remember them more for it.
Because brag books (or 30/60/90-day plans, for that matter) are a relatively uncommon item to bring to interviews, some hiring managers aren’t prepared to work them in to the process. And because you might not be completely comfortable with using them (combined with the fact that job interviews rattle your nerves), you might not be as assertive as you need to be in incorporating them into your interview.
So what happens is that you might be asked to just leave your brag book or 90-day plan with your interviewer so that he can read it later – but DON’T. Watch this video to see how to gracefully and effectively handle that situation:
There are 4 job interview techniques that I talk about all the time (and encourage my candidates to use in their medical sales job interviews):
- Compile a brag book
- Have great references
- Prepare well for the interview (research/do your homework)
- Create a 30-60-90-day plan
This video will show you how some of my candidates have taken this advice and run with it…these are real-world examples of how candidates used these techniques in their job interviews and got fantastic job offers as a result. You’ve got to see it…these were some truly great ideas, and I know they will help you.
I always recommend to my candidates that they create a brag book as a routine part of their interview preparation for medical sales interviews, so I see a lot of them. I have to say, I am amazed at the quality of information, the level of organization and the selling message that some of you have put together in your brag books.
I want you to have the opportunity to show off!
Please send your brag book to me at:
PO Box 1578
Celina, Tx 75009
I will send you a personal thank you gift for taking the time and effort to share it with us. I have to receive your book by November 22, 2009.
On November 23, 2009, I will choose the best book based on quality content, layout/presentation, clarity of purpose, appeal, selling message and over-the-top factors. The winner gets his or her choice of products from http://www.career-confidential.com/ (up to a $197 value).
Fine Print: All submissions become the property of PHC Consulting and will not be returned. I will let the winner decide if they want me to publicly share their name or brag book.
I look forward to seeing your best work!
Jennifer M. tells all about how a career coach (that would be me) made her dream job come true (even in this economy)!
I worked with Jennifer mid July. We fixed her resume, worked on her social media skills, helped her target hiring managers (and gave her the secret of what to ask for when she contacted them), and smoothed out her rough interviewing edges (don’t say “I hope”, “I believe” or “Hopefully”, or other negative statements). And within 6 weeks, she called me to say that she had landed the job of her dreams.
Here is her version of the story:
If you want someone in your corner that really has the inside scoop, go check out my custom career coaching page.
Life is short and you will only get one run through it (as far as I know), so why would you wait to grab your dream job?
Can’t get an interview?
Can’t get past the first interview?
Are you demonstrating the levels of commitment, drive, tenacity, skills and organization employers want?
Here are 6 tried and true ways to separate you from other candidates and be the candidate everyone wants to hire:
1. Preparation = SWOT Analysis:
SWOT is a strategic planning tool. It stands for Strengths (attributes helpful to achieving the objective), Weaknesses (attributes harmful to achieving the objective), Opportunities (external conditions that will be helpful to achieving the objective), and Threats (external obstacles or conditions that will harm the process). Look at the picture–it helps. Doing a SWOT analysis on the company demonstrates your drive, commitment, and skills, along with helping you create a better 30/60/90-day plan. Click here for advice on how to do one and avoid mistakes.
2. 30/60/90-Day Plan :
A 30-60-90-day plan is a short, 1-3 page outline for what you will do when you start the job. Essentially, you spell out for your future employer, in as little or as much detail as necessary, how you will spend your time–in training, learning company systems, introducing yourself to customers, and your initial plan to build sales. It demonstrates exactly how you’ll be an asset. A 30/60/90-day plan is an almost-guaranteed way to impress any hiring manager or hiring team.
Check out this audio that will tell you exactly how to present your 30/60/90-day plan to the hiring manager. Get a proven 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan here.
If you absolutely can’t get an interview, you could try e-mailing your 30/60/90-day plan to the sales manager. It’s an attention-getter, and it could be the key to get you in the door.
3. Video or Audio Communication -:
Send the interviewer an audio or video clip of yourself. Keep it short and sweet, and make sure you’ve checked lighting, background, and sound quality. One idea: Structure it like an elevator pitch–what can you do for the company and why can you do it?
4. Brag Book :
A brag book is a folder/ binder that you can use during your interview process to clarify your skill sets. It can include letters of recommendation, “attaboy” notes (or any notes commenting on what a good job you’ve done), staff ranking, annual reviews (if you include some, include them all), rewards letters, your resume, types of equipment you’ve used or marketed, certifications or other educational courses, any financial or PowerPoint presentations, copies of articles you’ve written, brochures you’ve helped develop, and a college transcript (though ONLY if you’re just getting out). Here’s a link to a video that explains more about brag books.
5. References :
It’s critical that you have winning references. Some people believe that references never get called, but they do. You should know how to choose a good reference, and know with stake-your-job-on-it certainty what they will say about you. You can (and should) even coach them beforehand, to help them tailor their answers to the job.
6. Follow-up/Thank You Notes :
Don’t underestimate how important thank you letters are in the job interview process. Everybody “knows” they’re critical, but unbelievably, not everyone writes them. Thank you letters accomplish several things:
- They get your name in front of the hiring manager one more time.
- They are your last chance to package yourself as the best, most qualified person for the job.
- They are polite, and manners count.
- They can be an example of your ability to take in information (the interview) and process and provide feedback or new ideas about whatever the problem was. For example: “I thought about your concerns about how to handle xyz delivery issues, when I was a product manager at ABC corporation, we used………”
(See what I mean?)
Handwritten thank-yous are nice, but e-mail thank yous are fast. Sometimes, hiring decisions are made quickly, so a timely note can be critical.
I know these things will help you become an outstanding candidate!
If you need more personalized help, please see my custom consulting page. If you’re really having trouble, a fresh pair of expert eyes can point out issues or problems that are keeping you from getting the job you want.
Do you have a very important interview? Make sure you have a brag book. Brag books can be an absolutely critical way to tip the scales in your favor in an interview. Not only do they highlight all your wonderful qualities, they allow you to demonstrate those intangible skills that make a great impression. In this economy, you’re going to need all the help you can get for just about any job in medical sales, laboratory sales, medical device sales, imaging sales, biotech sales, or especially pharmaceutical sales. So, BREAK THE GLASS! You can listen to this podcast over and over.
What do you get for your $17?
- What a brag book is
- Why it definitely helps you shine in the interview and stand out over other candidates
- How to make one–with specific examples, in great detail
- When to introduce it in the interview–what to say, and how to say it, even if you’re not directly asked to show it
How important is your job interview? BREAK THE GLASS!
Once you purchase the podcast, a link to it will be sent to your email.
See you at the top.
In my constant quest to get the word out about PHC Consulting’s top-of-the-line recruiting and employment opportunities in all areas of medical sales, I started a blog. And the blog was good. I have covered information relevant to all aspects of job searching, interviewing, networking, and sales training for pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, cellular/molecular products sales, medical equipment and supplies sales. That kind of information has been popular, and it has increased traffic to my site from about 50 hits a week to about 500 a day. And then I found YouTube. I started encapsulating my nuggets of wisdom into a video format and posted them, and have had over 11,000 views on my channel in the last 4 months. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the response.
Here’s a summary of what’s currently available:
1) Intro to PHC Consulting: Explains who we are and what we do.
2) Seven Resume Tips for Getting Hired: Use bullet points, objectives (not cover letters), keep it brief, and learn to use keywords.
3) 30/60/90-Day Plans for Job Interviews: Our most popular post. How to lay out a plan for your first 90 days that will wow your interviewer. Get a proven, job-winning 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan here.
4) Discussing Money (salary negotiations): When to bring it up, and what to say when you’re asked about it.
5) How to Ace Panel Interviews: How to gather business cards, how to deal with the group as a whole as well as how to deal with individuals. Don’t forget the thank you letters.
6) Capital Equipment Sales vs. Consumable Sales–Get Hired!: Explains the difference, including the customer psychology behind the decision.
7) Tip for How to Get a Medical Sales Job: Think about job shadowing someone in the field. Knowledge is power.
8) How to Ace the Behavioral Interview: Explains what they are, and how to deal with them–have stories/examples ready, and be able to quantify your results as much as possible.
9) Interview Tips for Hiring Top Sales Reps: Includes ideas such as, use a results-based decision-making process, watch the “tells,” use an assessment tool.
10) Interview Tips: Closing in the Interview for a Job Offer: How to uncover objections and answer them, and how to read “buying signals” that indicate success.
11) The Clinical Laboratory Explained: a PowerPoint tutorial for anyone interested in sales, sales management, marketing, or technical service/support in clinical diagnostics or laboratory products. The Quick Start Guide explains the different areas of medical/research laboratory work (Histology, Phlebotomy, Hematology, Microbiology/Bacteriology, Chemistry, Blood Bank, and Molecular) and how the tests (different assays that are used to determine if disease is present, whether it is responding to medication and even, what medications will be most effective) and products (the analyzers, the reagents, and the other tangible items that are used to provide the end result to the attending physician) available fit within those areas. Very in-depth.
12) Networking for the Medical Sales Job–Career Tips: How to compile and maintain a pool of resources.
13) What is a Brag Book for Job Interviews?: Specific ideas for what to include in a brag book, and why it’s important.
14) How to Use a Brag Book to Get the Job: What to put in it, when to show it, and how to present it.
Are there any other topics you’d like the medical sales recruiter to address?
Brag books can be very persuasive in an interview process (if you use them right). The fact that you’ve taken the time to put one together is an attention-getter, and the things you highlight in it are the “proof” that you are someone they want to hire, but how you present it is another way to showcase the skills that will make you successful in medical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, DNA/cellular/molecular products sales, pharmaceutical sales, imaging sales, medical supplies sales, or hospital equipment sales.
Present your brag book like you would a product brochure. (You’re selling yourself and your skills, after all.) Have it segmented and easy for you to find information, so that you can deliver it in a controlled, confident, organized manner.
Hiring managers will look at how you use your brag book. That’s their indication for how you’ll use product brochures, PowerPoint presentations, or other media with your future customers. Lots of sales reps don’t use these kinds of tools well, so if you can, you’ll stand out.
It’s up to you do determine when the time is right in your interview for your brag book. Your cue might be when you hear “Tell me a little more about yourself,” for instance. Your book should include things like sales rankings, presentations you’ve put together, projects, awards, things like that. (See the video for more ideas.)
You need to take control of the interview, so that the manager can see how you’ll take control of the sales process.
If you don’t get to show all the sections of your brag book, or worse, don’t get to show it at all, that’s a great big clue for you that the interview didn’t go well.
A brag book is a folder/ binder that you can use during your interview process to clarify your skill sets and set you apart from the competition so that you can get a job offer in medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, DNA products sales, cellular sales, molecular sales, medical equipment sales, medical device sales, hospital equipment sales, surgical supplies sales, or any healthcare sales.
It can include letters of recommendation (references they can speak to are best, but written letters help, too), “attaboy” notes (or any notes commenting on what a good job you’ve done), staff ranking, annual reviews (if you include some, include them all), rewards letters, your resume, types of equipment you’ve used or marketed, certifications or other educational courses, any financial or PowerPoint presentations, copies of articles you’ve written, brochures you’ve helped develop, and a college transcript (though ONLY if you’re just getting out). Change and add to your book as you go through your career. Learn to create an outstanding brag book.
It is critical that you take the time to show your brag book to the hiring manager in your interview.
The brag book demonstrates initiative, professionalism, organization, your understanding of sales and marketing, and sets you apart from your competition–it’s the difference between “good” and “great.”
What do you think?
Learn more about interviewing in my free webinar: How to Answer Interview Questions