If you’re an executive or rising leader looking for your next choice opportunity, you’ve probably shined up your resume in anticipation of calls from recruiters, and taken the time to prepare a targeted cover letter.
But have you considered using a biography as well?
A narrative of your career designed as a short, yet powerful summary of your accomplishments, a career biography can help different members of your target audience (such as CEOs, networking contacts, or Boards of Directors) grasp your value proposition and personal brand.
In fact, you’ll find that some interviewers will react more positively to an executive biography than they will to your resume, favoring the bio because of its brevity and narrative flow.
Here are some reasons to wrap an executive biography – as well as your resume – into your leadership job hunting portfolio:
— A biography is more succinct than a resume—and this works to your benefit.
Who has time to read a full resume? Many HR professionals and CEOs don’t.
The next time you’re in an interview, notice the interviewer’s finger tracing down the second (or perhaps third)
pages of your executive resume… because they haven’t fully digested the contents of it yet!
Most biographies are a just page in length (although very senior executives may have a multi-page bio)—making them simpler to skim for pertinent detail.
However, just like a resume, a career bio can display varied sections to demonstrate your skills in action, as in
this sample of an Asset Manager Biography.
— Your professional bio can be a powerful networking tool.
In cases where a multi-page resume is too cumbersome, a career biography makes for a door-opening, concise
A bio is a perfect fit during networking events, expanding upon the traditional elevator pitch by outlining your brand message in more detail.
If you are meeting (or conversing online) with someone other than the hiring decision-maker, try presenting your
professional bio instead of your resume. It’s less likely to overwhelm your contacts, and provides just enough data for someone who isn’t calling the shots… but who might be impressed enough with your background to carry it to an employer.
An executive biography is also a great leave-behind document after the interview. When written strategically, it can offer a slightly different perspective on your leadership value—as well as an indelible impression.
— Executive biographies often captivate different audiences.
Many of the people you’ll meet during a job search will form an opinion—positive or not-so-great—of your resume, especially if they believe it should be formatted or written differently. Executive resumes are often filled with analytical detail, which can also be information overload for some interviewers.
A professional bio, on the other hand, employs a different, softer tone, while still delivering a compelling story.
This is why a Board member might find your biography intriguing, but skim over your resume just to hit the high points.
To decide if you should present an executive biography at each stage of the job hunt process, first identify the
parties that you’re likely to interface with, and then gauge their tolerance for technical detail.
As a general rule, the higher-up and more strategic the decision-maker, the more likely your biography will suffice as a welcome introduction.
In summary, consider including an executive biography as part of your job search plan… not to replace your resume, but in addition to it.
In addition, perusing executive bio samples will give you a good idea of how a biography can showcase your personality and career achievements—all crucial parts of the brand value that you offer prospective employers.