A career bio has become an essential piece to include in your portfolio for executive job search and overall career management.
The purpose of a bio is to round out the career picture painted in your branded resume with a brief window to your personality.
In a narrative, storytelling format, progressing through your career development, bios offer a great opportunity to give a glimpse of how you also carry your personal brand outside your worklife.
Recruiters and hiring decision makers are looking for chemistry and good fit. These days they look to executive career bios for a deeper indication of your “softer” skills. They may ask to see yours in conjunction with your resume or on its own, as a first introduction to you.
Key elements to include in your bio:
Build on-brand stories around a few major career accomplishments. Flesh out some of your stellar contributions to employers, marking your career progression.
Pop in a favorite quote of your own (maybe describing your philosophy) or from someone else, or even a snippet of a recommendation from someone who recently worked with you. What others say about your work and performance truly measures and supports your brand.
Definitely include volunteer work and serving on Boards of Directors. Volunteerism is a brand touchpoint. Your commitment and the way you give back to your community says a lot about you.
Wrap it up with your hobbies, a relevant humorous incident, and/or special activities. It’s okay to show your lighter side – the things that would be inappropriate in your resume, but can help draw people to you.
Drop in a professional photo of yourself. Strive to get a photo that gives some indication of your personality.
A career bio serves several purposes in conjunction with your resume and as a stand-alone document.
Here are some ways to use it:
When you’re networking, whether or not you’re in a job search. After attending events and meeting new people, contact them afterward and send your bio. It’s less formal than a resume.
When making a presentation or giving a speech, give your bio to the introducer, preferably ahead of time.
Post your bio online when you set up an account on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to review books, or on professional associations’ websites.
Exchange bios with someone you don’t know well, but will be having a short meeting with that won’t allow enough time for each of you to share your stories.
Add it to your online career portfolio (along with your resume and other personal marketing documents), and post it on your own or company Website and/or blog.
When you start a new job, pass out your bio as a way to introduce yourself.