If you’re a job-seeker or a rising leader seeking your next choice opportunity, you’ve probably updated your resume and have prepared a well-targeted cover letter in preparation for your job search. Have you considered crafting a biography as well?
A professional biography, or bio, varying anywhere from one paragraph to one page, is a great way to showcase your career information in a crisp and concise way. Although traditionally crafted primarily for executive-level candidates, they have been growing in popularity across a broader spectrum of job seekers during this tight job market, where networking has played such a vital role in securing a new position.
Yes, resumes are a key component to your ultimate goal of landing your next job. However, resumes are best utilized when you are applying for a specific position. After all, that’s the purpose of a resume – to articulate your background, skills, abilities and credentials with the expectation of securing an interview.
Depending on your career background and aspirations, the following are a few reasons to seriously consider incorporating a bio into your job-search strategy:
— It delivers a summary of your brand
A bio is designed as a brief yet powerful narrative of your career that can help diverse members of your target audience (such as managers, recruiters and networking contacts) to quickly grasp your value proposition and personal brand. A bio is a career-management version of a product value proposition statement – where you are the product.
— It’s appealing
Because a bio is more succinct than a resume, this works to your benefit. When networking today, who has time to read a detailed resume? Written in the third person (for example, Mr. John Doe), and without the rigid structure of a resume, a bio is easily readable and lends itself toward a relaxed, conversational atmosphere. A bio gives you an opportunity to explain a bit about yourself in a disarming, effortless format.
— It’s not intimidating
During a networking or exploratory conversation, your networking partner may equate receiving a resume with an application for a position that is nonexistent at the time. Contrary to the purpose of the meeting, such a tactic may result in having your contact recoil, because he cannot fulfill your expectation for employment. The resources and connections you were hoping to gain from the conversation may vaporize. A bio is far less intimidating and is also a great leave-behind document – especially for networking meetings and events.
— It offers flexibility
Resumes may be dense with details, which can lead to information overload for some readers. A professional bio, on the other hand, employs a softer tone that is easy on the eyes while still delivering a compelling story.
As a general rule, the more senior-level and strategic the contact, the more likely your bio will capably suffice for networking or introductory purposes. In any event, depending on the position being pursued, seriously consider a bio as part of your job search strategy – not to replace your resume, but to complement it. Feel free to Google “sample professional bios” for examples.