The Value of a Professional Bio

As we all know, profiling your skills and attributes in a compelling resume and cover letter go a long way in marketing you. In those documents you are promoting your features and benefits of the ‘product’. If this is all you are using you are missing a less well known, but highly desirable personal branding document – the professional bio. How can this document serve as a powerful supplement to your other marketing materials?

A well-written bio can add immediate value and credibility to your search process, particularly if you are serving in a consulting capacity, promoting yourself as a professional services provider, or being considered for a position on a board of directors. Typically bios are straightforward and to the point. Usually no longer than a page, a bio highlights specific achievements and does not take the reader through a full chronology of your career.

Your bio should provide targeted information in a clear and concise manner to quickly demonstrate what the reader should understand about you. Your biography will mention your name throughout the document. The reader should get to know you. You want the bio to be factual, creative, and leave a lasting impression about who you are and what you do.

In many instances, I am asked to write bios for people starting their own businesses or pursuing consulting engagements. The following sample will help you understand how to best market yourself to potential clients:

Opening Section:

To executive leadership and senior management involved in start-up operations or turn-around companies requiring expert financial competencies, including the ability to implement innovative process improvement programs, John Doe brings the strategic focus, vision, and mature judgment gained during a long and successful career leveraging diverse business and financial advisory expertise with a variety of entrepreneurial, and market-making businesses.

Body:

John served most recently as the CEO for several start-up ventures, including ABC, 123, Inc., and XYZ Corporation, where he led acquisitions, capital raising efforts, and negotiated strategic partnerships. In particular, John’s recent work with XYZ investors resulted in raising $57 million for expansion efforts. John has also leveraged his accounting skills to analyze corporate needs and quickly develop and implement plans to facilitate operating improvements.

From this point, you will begin to create an additional paragraph or two highlighting specific achievements that will make a memorable impression in the mind of the reader. You can talk about previous experiences where your work delivered impressive returns or results for previous employers. Don’t make your bio too long. One page is all it should be. You want to make sure that the information you deliver is concise and delivers an impact.

Closing:

John holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard College. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). John delivers speaking engagements throughout the United States regarding entrepreneurship and financial management topics.

Your bio should ‘speak’ to someone – it should deliver an impact. You want to impress the reader with information about you. Maintain confidence without the hyperbole of overblown egotism. The process of creating your bio will also help you develop your 30- second elevator speech as you begin to verbalize your skills and achievements with your intended audience.