Really, when you consider that biographies can be used for networking purposes, as an interview leave-behind, when you publish anything, when you are speaking or presenting, on a website (for example, an “About Me” page or a business page introducing key employees of your employer), as part of a conference program (as a presenter or attendee), as a download from social media accounts, and much more, you begin to realize that almost any professional will benefit from having a well-written biography as part of their career marketing portfolio.
What Is a Professional Bio & How Is It Different From Your Resume?
Simply put, a biography is a narrative document, almost never longer than one page, that is written in the third-person perspective.
A well-written biography provides an attention-grabbing and meaningful introduction to you by telling your story in a way that illustrates your professional value.
But, isn’t that what a resume does? And your LinkedIn profile?
The answer is yes. Your biography, your resume, and your LinkedIn profile are all marketing pieces intended to sell you as THE person capable of meeting the needs of your target audience. They all should articulate your personal brand and tell your career story.
Still, there are significant differences and each serves its own purpose (although there is overlap and all complement the other). For a detailed comparison, see the infographic on this page.
The Best Biography is a Focused Biography
Your biography is not meant to be everything to all people. Consider it more of a living document that can be customized and edited for various situations.
There are many people who mistakenly refer to executive biographies, board biographies, and professional biographies as if they are three different documents. They are not.
Sure they are different in wording, but that difference has to do with the way they are focused and the audience to whom they are written to appeal. Regardless of whether you are writing your resume, your LinkedIn profile, or any type of professional biography, it is essential that you know your audience and what will interest them and engage them.
For example, the biography of a CEO seeking a public-company board position is going to be different than the bio of a sales executive who is speaking at an industry association’s annual conference. The bio that an independent consultant provides to prospective clients will be different as well. Consider even that the biography of a consultant who is targeting engagements with startup companies will be very different than the biography of a consultant targeting engagements with Fortune 500 companies. The reason? Simple. The CEO of a startup is facing very different challenges than the CEO of a Fortune 500. Your biography should be written to speak to the needs of the audience you are targeting.
The bottom line: know your focus, know what your audience is looking for, and then craft the story conveyed in your bio to speak to those needs. The value that your audience perceives in you is directly tied to your story and your story is one of the most important factors in getting people to know you, like you, and trust you.