Do you have an executive bio? And do you know how best to use one? Bios have been around for decades and are often used by senior executives. In fact, recruiters and employers tend to assume that if you are a senior executive, you already have one.
Useful for reminding your network what you bring to the table and introducing your background to prospective contacts, your bio also presents key details about you to recruiters, targeted employers, and hiring managers. Most importantly, executive biographies provide a big picture perspective of your candidacy in cases where a resume is inappropriate, premature, or too much detail.
Let’s say you come across an employer that appears to be a potential match for your interests. You check their job board but find no current openings relative to your skills. Is that the end of the matter? Not if you’re smart.
Leverage the networking power of LinkedIn to source the name and contact information of the highest level executive in your prospective department. If your experience and career target are senior enough, this may even be a C-level person. Send that person your bio along with a quick email about your candidacy, then follow-up within a couple of weeks. You’d be surprised how many times this approach opens doors.
But there are many more strategic ways to leverage an executive biography, especially once you grasp the fact that a bio, although generally a page long, can be strategically excerpted and shortened. Armed with bio lengths ranging from 25 to 50, 100, 500, and a full-page, you’re ready to take fuller advantage of a bio’s strengths. Here are my personal Top 10 ways to do so:
- Send your executive bio to your network: Too many job seekers just send a note to their network saying, “Hey, I’m looking for X – let me know if you hear of anything.” That’s not networking, because it doesn’t engage anyone beyond your contact. Instead, send your bio to give your networking contacts more information about your background without overwhelming them with details (which is what your resume will do), then ask them to send it to their contacts, and for those contacts to pass it on. Now this is networking.
- Introduce yourself to recruiters: Let’s say you network with your contacts to source the names of recruiters they know. What do you do with that list? It would be premature to send these folks your full resume, so just send them your executive bio, along with a short note about your candidacy. If they like what they read, they’ll be calling you or emailing you for a copy of your resume.
- Submit to a hiring manager ahead of your interview: Once you have an interview scheduled, you can presume the hiring manager will receive a copy of your resume. I would suggest sending them a PDF version prior to your interview, along with a copy of your bio. The bio, like your LinkedIn profile, offers different insights into your background than a resume does. By sharing more of your relevant skills with a hiring manager, you’ve claimed an advantage over your fellow candidates.
- Attach to your LI profile: Many job seekers overlook the fact that LinkedIn is essentially an online portfolio, which means it’s a great place to attach and store documents and media relevant to your candidacy – like your executive biography.
- Introduce yourself in LI Group discussions: Use a short excerpt of your executive bio to introduce yourself periodically in all the LinkedIn groups you belong to. I recommend you join 25 to 30 minimum, and if you introduce yourself weekly to each of them, you’ll be spreading bio love to hundreds, if not thousands of folks (including many recruiters and hiring managers if you’ve joined the right groups) throughout your search.
- When replying in the LI Answers section: If you’re LinkedIn-savvy, you’re using LinkedIn Answers aggressively. And when you do, a short bio excerpt is a perfect addition at the end of your answer. It will combine with your tagline to strategically position you to attract the attention you want from recruiters and hiring managers.
- Introduce yourself in LI invites and replies: The same strategy applies when you introduce yourself or reply to LinkedIn invitations to connect. Keep a short executive bio excerpt in a text or Word file and quickly copy/paste it into your invitation or reply. This will double your branding impact one email at a time.
- Incorporate into your email signature: Do the same thing with your email signature and you’ll multiply your branding impact with many more people. Most major email clients allow you to automate insertion of an email signature, so it’s a simple matter to add your bio excerpt to yours.
- Showcase your brand on the back of a business card: If you’re doing any face-to-face networking (which you should be doing throughout the holidays), then why not shorten your bio and insert it on the back of your business card?
- Use Resuminime to create a mini-resume: Save yourself a few bucks and use code PITON80 for immediate savings. Then hand out your mini-resume to everyone you come in contact with. Always share at least 2 cards with each person – one to keep and one to pass on to someone else.
As I hope you can see, there’s a lot more to an executive bio than most executives recognize. While not all of these suggestions will resonate with you, several will, which will hopefully give you more networking reach throughout your career search.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Executive Resume Rescue crafts exceptional executive bios and bio suites in varied lengths. I’d be happy to help you package your experience in a different way than your resume can achieve.