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Biography vs Resume


Enda Goodwin
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If you already have a resume, why is it important to have a professional bio? While a resume is an absolute essential, a bio complements it by giving a clearer picture of your background, expertise, personal brand, and who you are as a professional.

Bios are used for networking, promotional materials, personal websites, and more. LHH recommends C-suite candidates, entrepreneurs, and consultants have a well-crafted professional biography.

Biographies can be used for networking with people, introducing your business idea or giving background about your experience and expertise. It helps craft your professional brand. The Biography can not replace the resume.

Your biography should:

  • Be succinct – no longer than one page.
  • Tell the story of your work history and accomplishments.
  • Be written in 3rd person.

Read on to learn how to structure and develop your professional bio.

Bio Structure

Contact information

Name, Phone number, Email and LinkedIn URL; oftentimes a picture is included

Headline

Two to three words that define who you are professionally: Your brand.

Three summary paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Work history or experience most relevant to your next endeavor

This paragraph should summarize the parts of your background that are most relevant to your intended audience. It may or may not be your most recent experience – think of it as an opportunity to cherry pick the accomplishments and work experience you’re most proud of and relate to what you want to do next.

Example:

J. Harrington Burns was most recently Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications at Genworth Financial, a position he held for eight years. At Genworth, he directed all internal and external communications activities for this $400 million provider of financial services, a global business unit of Sun Life of Canada.

Earlier in his career, Burns gained extensive experience in sales, marketing, and corporate communications with Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and in advertising and public relations with BBDO, J. Walter Thompson, and DDB/Needham.

Paragraph 2: Relevant education and training

In the second paragraph, summarize your relevant education and training.

Example:

Burns holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and an M. B. A., with distinction, from New York University. He has completed additional studies at the New School, and Columbia and Cornell universities. He has lectured on strategic planning and corporate communications as part of N.Y.U.’s Urban Business Coalition Program, a pro bono outreach program for minority business owners.

Paragraph 3: Professional associations, community involvement, and volunteer interests.

The third paragraph summarizes your professional association and volunteer interests.

Example:

Burns is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Marketing Association and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). He is past president of the IABC’s North Jersey Chapter. Harry has also served on the boards of the Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of the American Heart Association, the Northern New Jersey Maternal and Child Health Consortium, and the New Jersey Botanical Garden. He is active with the Fordham Club of Northern New Jersey, and serves as a volunteer for WBGO, the Newark-based jazz, blues, and rhythm & blues public radio station.

The best part about developing your bio is that you can use your resume as a starting point. Draw from that content to create a compelling narrative that tells the story you want to tell. While your resume is a great snapshot of your career and accomplishments, a strong professional bio will help fill in the gaps for your reader.

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