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Does Your Executive Bio Sell You or Sink You?

An executive bio essentially functions as a personal elevator pitch. While your resume provides the nuts and bolts of your credentials, your executive bio gives a sketch of who you are and why people should be interested in you. Not all executive bios are created equal. An effective bio includes the following elements:

  1. What have you accomplished? This is not an exhaustive list, but a highlights reel. Your executive summary should show what results you have a proven track-record of producing. Show trends and continuity. For example, “Ms. O’Conner has chaired numerous successful capital campaigns, the most recent exceeding fundraising goals by 17% at $3.9 million.”

  2. What is your competitive advantage? What differentiates you from others in your position? How are you uniquely equipped to accomplish your objectives? Your bio should show your unfair advantage. “Mr. Nelson brings two-decades of success in business to his work in higher-education management.”

  3. What are your values? You don’t want your bio to focus solely on your actions, but also to show your personality and priorities. What are you passionate about? What philosophies guide your approaches to your work? “Ms. Lee has been dedicated to partnering with nonprofits in the medical field for the duration of her career and currently sits on two boards and serves an advisory function with three others.”

  4. What has changed? Don’t assume an executive bio is a once-done affair. Regularly revise and update it to reflect progress in your career and the audience who will be reading it.