Each Athena Executive Club meeting includes Business Development Training. These short sessions are designed to share useful tips, facts and ideas covering a wide range of issues relevant to executives and entrepreneurs. Athena Executive Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience which we all benefit from during these member-led training sessions.
In February, Athena Operations Director and Content Strategist, Claire Kidd, shared her tips for creating your bio with a kick.
Bio vs CV vs Resume
Resume – short summary in a bullet list of your professional experience
CV – two or more pages of professional and academic experience
Bio – a one page written summary of your skills, expertise and character traits
Uses for a bio
- When giving a presentation
- Applying for consultancy work
- Press and media contacts
- When asking for an introduction to someone (ensures the connection is made properly)
- When you want to stand out from the crowd (a formal CV can follow)
Types of bios
- Full length bio: approx. 1000 words, written in 3rd person
- Short length bio – approx. 500 words, written in 3rd person
- LinkedIn profile – approx. 500 words, written in 1st person
- Company profile – approx. 500 words, written in 1st or 3rd person
Preparing for your bio
Before you start writing anything, think about the answers to these questions:
1) What will be the main use for your bio
(e.g. is it mainly for your website? Or for emails to potential clients? Or for magazine articles?)
2) Research your peers and competitors’ bios. Note down what you like and don’t like (including design, format, wording, images etc.)
3) What industry specific terminology, phrases and keywords would you like to include or avoid? This helps to optimise your bio for search engines (especially on LinkedIn).
4) What is your desired outcome for the bio? What would you like people to say / think / do when they read it for the first time?
Identifying what to include and what to eliminate from your bio
- Key milestones in your professional life (and personal life, if relevant)
- What you want your next step to be and how your past has prepared you for this
- Include an abstract, a quote, your current work, past experience, creative process and some relevant extracurricular information
- Add something fun in which really shows your personality (try to avoid the overused ‘likes swimming and reading’)
- The great thing about bios is that you can leave out something if it doesn’t fit your current needs (unlike a CV!)
Photos & images
- Only use professional, high resolution images
- Logos are fine if it is a company bio, otherwise use your head shot (shows more personality)
Effective distribution of your bio
- After a networking event
- For someone to connect you with someone else
- First part of job application (followed with a CV)
- When contacting someone for the first time
Claire’s Top Bio Tips
1) Think big – don’t undersell yourself
2) Be careful what you wish for – if you say you are dreaming big, be ready for it to happen!
3) Never lie or embellish your skills or experience
4) Your bio is NEVER finished – as you gain more skills, experience, (and personality!) rethink your bio and CV
5) Updating your bio is a good excuse to contact people again and remain top of mind (just don’t overdo it)
6) Take feedback from trusted parties only – but take it on board
7) Always get someone to do a spelling, punctuation and grammar check
8) Consider investing in revamping your CV, getting professional head shots and a bio writer – other people always sell you better than you ever could yourself
9) Only distribute PDF versions (not Word) of your finished bio
10) Use version control on the title of your bio (this shows you’re updating it regularly and makes it easier to track)
Bonus tip: Include links to your website, Twitter, FB, email, phone number etc.
Content strategist, writer and editor; Claire runs a boutique consultancy working with organisations and entrepreneurs to convey a professional and consistent brand message through their written content.
With meticulous attention to detail and a solid understanding of language and grammar, Claire also performs editing and sub-editing services for major magazines and publications.
A versatile and skilled content developer, with the ability to adapt to any industry, Claire delivers a high quality of online and offline content including website copywriting, company newsletters, business blogs, marketing collateral and corporate communication.
In 2012, Claire co-founded The Athena Network Singapore, Asia’s leading professional community for female executives and entrepreneurs, where she leverages her operational and organisational skills in her role as Operations Director.