How often do you fill out applications for scholarships, internships, grad school, or jobs only to realize that you can’t remember all the cool stuff you’ve done?  Solution: create a brag notebook.  A brag notebook is one centralized place to store copies of your resume, essays, awards, certificates, transcripts, and anything else that shows off your awesomeness.  Whenever you have to fill out an application for something and need to remember all the neat things you’ve done, check your brag notebook.

I first created by brag notebook in my senior year of high school after noticing that I was answering pretty much the same questions over and over.  It felt like I was wasting a ton of time writing everything from scratch and having to brainstorm everything each time.  I decided to buy a small binder and some page protectors to store my brag notebook but you could easily use a manilla file folder or two prong folder.  I chose to use page protectors so the papers (especially certificates and awards) would be protected from wear and tear after lots of use. It doesn’t really matter what style you use for your brag notebook – it just matters that you have one.

Most scholarship and internship applications ask the same general questions over and over again.  For example, “Describe a moment of challenge and discuss how you overcame it” and “Why do you want to be a [insert career choice here]”.  If you rewrite your response to these every single time, you’re wasting time.  Why not just write it once and every time you apply for something, edit the paper slightly to tailor it for the specific application.

Want to make your brag notebook even better?  Create a personal professional website that shows off the best in your brag notebook.  These days, you don’t have to know how to code or have a ton of money to get a website done.  You could use something like Blogger or WordPress to set up the website and then host it yourself for $5-$10 a month.  Create a page for your resume so people can easily get a summary about you.  Then write posts that highlight your great accomplishments, show off your passion for the field you are entering, and everything else that shows you are awesome and deserving of that scholarship/internship/grad school/job.

My brag notebook has saved me a ton of time.  Do you have a brag notebook?

[Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Lord Biro and used with C.C. 2.0 Generic]