I’m always surprised when I ask a person who’s been working professionally for 15+ years if they have a bio and they say, “No, I’ve never needed one” or “I’m not sure what I’d use it for.”
Stable employment can breed complacency.
If there is a silver lining to our current unemployment situation it is that many people now know they need to continually network proactively. An essential tool for networking is a bio. Whether you are providing background information about yourself for a committee position at your church or a board at a non profit; a bio makes it easy for people to get a good glimpse into who you are and what your experience has been.
A bio is different from a resume in that it is a narrative. The goal is tell a story about yourself that helps the reader understand where you’ve worked, what interests you and what is special about you. It only needs to be 4-5 well written paragraphs.
When someone asks to meet me for networking and they send me a resume, I assume they want to ask me for a job. But when they send me a bio, I learn interesting information about the person and I can build a conversation around things I read. I have more information about how I might be able to help.
I happen to be a published author (poetry and non-fiction.) My publications are not related to my work experience but I can highlight this work in my bio. It helps me to let people know my various skills and interests in a short, readable format. I can also highlight the foreign languages I speak or the charities I’m involved in. These help me be human and memorable.
Make sure you have several trusted people read your bio. Writing a concise and compelling story is not easy. Everyone has a story. Be sure yours is less blah, blah and more hmm, that’s interesting.
What is it that makes you unique?