Composing an executive biography (or any other career marketing documents) can be overwhelming.
It’s not easy to write about yourself. For your bio, you probably don’t know:
- What things about yourself to include,
- What NOT to include,
- How to step back and take a 360 view of yourself and what you offer,
- What it should look like,
- How to make it an interesting read,
- That you need to get some of your personality in there.
- How to write in a way that will resonate with readers,
- How your biography differs from your resume and LinkedIn profile, or
- The many uses a biography has.
Here are some reasons why it’s hard to write your own resume, that also apply to writing your own executive biography:
- You may fail to position yourself as a good hiring choice for particular employers.
- You may not understand how personal branding will differentiate you and generate chemistry for you as a good-fit candidate.
- You may fail to capture attention above the fold, or right from the get-go.
- You don’t know how to keep it from showing your age.
Storytelling saves the day with your executive biography
A strong biography is built around storytelling. Relating in brief bits how you operate and the things you’ve done for past employers.
Writing about your accomplishments and the value you offer can feel like bragging to some, so their biographies end up being generic and anemic. They lack vibrancy.
A robust brand biography evokes emotion and helps to generate chemistry around you and your candidacy, if you’re job hunting.
If you’re using it for other purposes, a branded executive biography will differentiate the value of your expertise.
A bio should indicate what you’re capable of doing for an employer or others.
Your biography can help you land a Board of Directors, Partner or C-suite role. If hired, companies will also use your bio publicly on their website and elsewhere, so it needs to send the right message to clients and investors evaluating the company and you.
You may not understand the value of a career brand biography over the traditional bio you may be used to.
An old-fashioned bio is a boring rehash of your resume that gives little or no feel for what kind of person you are, what attributes and strengths drive you, and how those brand attributes can benefit potential employers.
I find that my clients sometimes have a hard time completing my bio worksheet, even though they know I’ll be doing the actual writing.
They resist talking about themselves. But also, some are worried about broadcasting what they consider to be highly personal information about themselves.
I reassure them that it’s okay to let people in on their softer side. In fact, this is the very information hiring authorities are seeking in executive candidates, but don’t often get. It gives my clients a competitive advantage over those who don’t use this strategy.
Things you can do with a bio that you can’t do as well with a resume
Rely on the storytelling benefits of brand bios to complement and work in tandem with your resume. Bios can do what resumes don’t do as successfully:
- Showcase your leadership and management acumen through softer skills and “good fit” attributes, and link them to your value proposition.
- Personalize your C-A-Rs (Challenge – Actions – Results) stories and use them to reinforce your brand attributes and key strengths.
- Generate chemistry around how you use your key personal attributes, passions, strengths, and motivated skills to make things happen for employers.
- Help employers connect with you and envision you on the job, having a positive impact.
A few questions to help you write your executive biography
Here are a few prompts to help you write your executive biography. You’ll find more in my post, How to Write a Captivating Executive Biography for Your Job Search:
- What are 3 or 4 defining moments for you as your career progressed? Think of events or things that shaped your career path, had the most impact on making you who you are today, and led you to add value to your companies.
- Which of your personal attributes have been most beneficial to you in your career? Explain why.
- How have adversity and challenges made you stronger and a more valuable employee?
- What are the two or three most important lessons you learned along the way that others could benefit from?
- Who have you mentored and how did your guidance impact that person, your team, your department, and your company? How do you describe your leadership style?