CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JAN. 30, 2014
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How to Write a Winning Professional Biography

A professional biography is a great way to showcase your career information in a creative and concise way. It is the career management version of a product value statement, where the product is you. Like a CV, it is a similar narrative you might offer at a networking event to establish top of mind awareness; when the other person hears of an opportunity they only think of you.

The aim of the bio is to provide a brief overview of your professional accomplishments and expand on the critical personality traits that make you stand out 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 give concrete examples for all those intangibles contained in your CV (e.g goodwill and dedication).  

Here are a few tips on how to create an impressive professional bio:

Start With Your Current Title/Position

Starting with your current role is a good way to position yourself in the minds of the people reading your bio. You will want to include all of your professional roles that you are currently involved in. For example, a bio could start like this:

Thomas Becks is an award-winning speaker, author of the ‘Golden Rules of Career Success’ recommended book ‘The Anti-Resume Revolution’, associate director of alumni career programs at the UMass Amherst Alumni Association, and owner of 365 Degrees Consulting in Springfield, Mass.

If you only hold one title at the moment, it is absolutely fine. This is just the introduction to what you do. If your title is uncommon or doesn’t clearly state what you do just by reading it, including a short description of what you do is a good way to inform your reader of your work. For example:

John Williams is a marine biologist focusing on the impact of sea level rise on sea turtles.

Provide Examples of Your Greatest Achievements

Provide examples of your greatest career achievements. Include awards, promotions, and any other key achievements that demonstrate current and past successes.

Noting a few accomplishments featuring recognizable names in business again helps to show your association with respected organizations and speaks to your abilities. If you are a business owner, noting high-level clients is a great way to showcase your experience. If you are an employee, list some of your past positions or employers – as long as they present you in a way that makes you shine!

Define Your Personal Brand

More useful advice which will critically set you apart from competitors is to point to the personal and professional attributes that differentiate you and expand upon the details of your unique expertise. Refer to publications you have authored, presentations you have delivered, professional appearances, and other achievements which you are proud of.

 Include information regarding your education and special credentials. Including volunteer activities or memberships will add value to your bio.

Wrap up Your Job Search Intentions and Philosophy

This part essentially tells employers what you can do for them in the future. By adding this element to your bio, it gives your audience a flavour for what they have to look forward to. If you don’t have a personal philosophy or vision for your work, this may be the time to start developing one. Here is an example:

A believer in open and transparent communications among employees, Johanna has created an environment that facilitated a 100% increase in gross income year-over-year, with top-notch staff motivated to outperform competing companies.

Last But Not Least…

Your bio should be written in the third person and be no more than 7-10 sentences long. You might also need to make it longer or shorter depending on the needs of the group requesting it. Be ready to tweak it and add or take out information each time.

Your bio is your miniature resume and should only be a snapshot of what you bring to the table. Have fun creating it and know that you are in control of the way people view you, so only include the information that people need to know about your abilities, accomplishments, and vision for the future.

Remember that your bio is what sells your unique skills and value so let the best of your background shine!

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