What Is “The Brag Book”? (a.k.a. I Love Me Book)

What is "The Brag Book"? - USAA Member Community

A veteran friend of mine once introduced me to the concept of The Brag Book. Initially, I thought it was something I should have known about since I had just spent some time at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was wrong.


So, what is The Brag Book?


A Brag Book is basically a 3-Ring Binder. The pages of this binder contain those clear, transparent sheet protectors. The documents found within the pages of this book tell a story – YOUR STORY!


The Brag Book is a book about YOU! A novel, presented with printed words and pictures about your career. That’s why some people might call The Brag Book by another name – I Love Me Book! It’s all about you.


Ever heard of this? Keep reading.


Although I don’t know its origins, The Brag Book became increasingly popular during the 1990’s when corporate America increased their recruiting and hiring of Junior Military Officers (JMOs). If the JMO applied for a job that involved giving presentations, The Brag Book not only provided a recap and documentation about the person, but also provided an opportunity for the JMO to demonstrate his/her presentation skills using the book. The Brag Book is a collection of all of your important documentation. It is proof of what you did in your career and how well you did it. It is a set of printed material that tells your story using the Official and Unofficial documents you’ve collected over the years.


Before I go on, just know that The Brag Book is suitable for any rank. I’m a former JMO and just sharing this info from my experience. I’ve shared this information with lots of Enlisted, Non-Commissioned Officers, JMOs, and Officers over the years in my book, The Fort Living Room Transition Course as far back as 2005, so this works for anyone – regardless of rank.


Let’s get into What’s Inside and What’s Outside The Brag Book:


What’s Outside:


Imagine a 3-Ring Binder. This binder is the type that you can slide a piece of paper into the front and back cover. The “binding” or back part of the binder also has a slot where you can slide a piece of paper with additional “branding” into it.


When anyone looks at the outside of The Brag Book from any angle, they will see your name or brief details about you. Depending on the type of work you’re seeking, you might include a photo of yourself or some ultra-brief credentials within the title (if you have a medical specialty, achieved a specific rank that also appears on the job description requirements, or maybe a special skill that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, etc.)


The most important part of The Brag Book is the contents. Contrary to popular belief, people will judge a book by its cover, so the info mentioned above needs to be extremely brief and effective. The outside provides a tiny hint as to who you are and what you bring to the table. But, it is not as important as…


What’s Inside:


The Inside of The Brag Book is the key, the most important thing. (Not to mention the upcoming article about How To Use The Brag Book, coming soon.)


• Performance Evaluations
• Letters of Recommendation
• Awards and Medals
• Training Evaluations
• Class Photos
• Certificates
• Diplomas
• Specialized Training Courses you’ve completed
• Examples of your work
• Leadership roles in organizations
• Volunteer work
• Other specific items and documentation (such as, DD214 and others)


There’s so much more about this that I want to share with you regarding The Brag Book that cannot be done in just one blog post. Stay tuned for future articles about this subject and how you can maximize the effectiveness of this powerful tool.


Until then, feel free to comment and ask questions. More importantly, if you haven’t built your own version of The Brag Book, start now.


I’ve been out of the military for over 20 years now and The Brag Book is still a power tool in the hiring process. More on that soon.


Have something to add to this article? Share your advice below.


About the Blogger:
Charles "Chazz" Pratt III is a former U.S. Army Captain who made the Military-to-Civilian career transition in 1994. In his book, The Fort Living Room Transition Course, he shares valuable tips and tricks to help you succeed. Since his transition from the military, he's worked in sales and marketing in the medical field. When not working or writing, Chazz enjoys spending time with his wife and kids as well as playing the saxophone. His goal is to provide unique perspectives on what happens before, during, and after the military-to-civilian career transition.




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