by Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write
biography is a great way to showcase your career information in a crisp and concise
way. The professional
bio is the career management version of a product value statement, where
the product is you – not quite an
elevator pitch, more of a narrative you might give at a networking event to
establish top of mind awareness (TOMA); when the other person(s) hears of an
opportunity they only think of you.
are not new, they have been growing in importance as the job market continue to
tighten – hiring managers don’t have the time to read through stacks of
résumés; bios are quickly becoming a mandatory piece of your career marketing
package. Your bio will provide that 30,000 ft. view – highlighting your brand
The goal of
the bio is to provide a brief overview of your professional accomplishments and
expand on the critical personality traits that set you apart while creating an
emotional attachment, a sense of “likeness.” Also known as an executive bio, it
is a great complement to the traditional résumé and provides an opportunity to
highlight the intangibles.
Here are the
steps to take to create a winning professional bio:
Speak in the third person. For example, “John Smith is a highly regarded
financial services professional…” Once
you have mentioned your full name, you may then use your first name only
throughout the remainder of the document.
For a more formal tone, use your last name instead.
Provide examples of your most impressive career
achievements. Include awards, promotions, and any other key achievements
that demonstrate current and past successes. Share insights - the type and size
of customers you have had interactions with and when appropriate, mention client
names to add credibility to your background.
Define your personal
brand – point to the personal and professional attributes that are your differentiators
and expand upon the details of your unique expertise. Refer to publications you
have authored, presentations you have delivered, professional appearances, and
other achievements of which you are proud.
Include information surrounding your education and
special credentials. You can also include any volunteer activities or
Provide your contact information to make it simple
for those reading your professional bio to reach you. You may want to include a
small, professional photo.
bio should be one page. The bio should reference you shining moments and
outstanding career achievements. It is a supplement to a well written résumé,
intended to bring depth and multidimensionality to your professional history. Candidates
who use a professional bio are amazed at the powerful impact it delivers. I
find that most high-level executives benefit greatly from including a solid professional
bio as part of their career search strategy.
Debra Wheatman is the president of Careers Done Write and an AMA Career Resource Center contributor. Read more from Debra here or follow her on twitter at @DebraWheatman.