Today, with many people working from home, the rise of the gig economy, and agile procedures taking centre stage, efficiency and clarity are everything. People just don’t have time to read through a traditional two-page resume when they are looking to hire someone. They also don’t have time to move through a typical hiring process in most cases.
Speed up Recruitment and Vendor Selection Processes
Add to our current distaste for costly and time-consuming processes the new reality that is COVID-19. We’ve had to move most meetings to a virtual platform and systems have had to adapt rapidly to keep everyone in business.
The silver lining here is we now know we can undergo massive digital transformation when we need to and we can be resilient in our workplaces. Naturally, that extends into the world of HR, hiring, and vendor selection for specific projects.
But how can you get to know someone you want to work with when you can’t meet in person? Resumes are great to check off a few boxes about education and experience, but what about personality? What about soft skills? What about communication skills during a meeting?
Here’s where the short professional bio comes in as the perfect alternative to the stuffy traditional resume, which doesn’t do a lot to showcase the real person behind their achievements. The short professional bio is already gaining in popularity within the vendor selection process and when enterprises are looking to hire contractors. It’s a simple piece of documentation that can really sell a person and back-up their expertise.
What’s Not Included in a Short Professional Bio?
If you were taught how to write your resume in decades past (let’s not get into specifics here, shall we?), then your resumes have likely included the following:
- The summary or professional mission statement
- A detailed account of all previous positions
- An interests or activities section
- Reference list
All of these features are outdated. The summary section, detailed experience history and reference list don’t paint a complete picture for your potential new boss or client. Anyone can make themselves sound good on paper and “pad” their experience as well as their hard-working nature and desire to overachieve in their summary.
On top of that volunteer activities, sports and interests used to add some flavour to a boring resume, but they also added unnecessary content. It’s important to be respectful of people’s time and to only include important, essential information for the job you’re applying to. The same goes for references. If they want them, you’ll be asked for them and you can follow-up with an email.
What Is Included in a Short Professional Bio?
Now, let’s outline the sections that need to appear in your short professional bio. At a bare minimum, you should have the following section headings:
- Title/Company Info
- Your professional headshot
Optional sections to include if you are a consultant or entrepreneur may be:
- Client roster
- Industries served
For example, if you are a consultant looking to be the preferred vendor for a large enterprise project, then the “Client Roster” serves to showcase your experience. But let’s say you’ve only been a consultant for a couple of years, and most of your prior relevant experience was as an employee. Then, you’d want to showcase your background under the “Experience” heading. But the difference here is that you’re only highlighting the high-level of what you did. State your title, the company you were at and one bullet point about your duties or accomplishments.
- Bullet points are your friend – be concise
- Use bold brand colours to separate sections on the page
- Try to get your bio down to one page of content with a font no smaller than 10 point
You want to stand out because of the time and effort you put into creating a concise, well-organized and eye-catching bio. There are many tools you can use to get started, but Canva is definitely a favourite. There are templates you can customize for a modern bio (under the Resume heading), which will help to show just how adaptable, creative and personable you are, all from a design perspective. It’s important to take the time to craft this document, pouring your personality onto the page, and then this document does the talking for you.
Customize Your Short Professional Bio for Each Pitch
Just like resume writing, you need to customize your bio for each industry you are applying to, each company you are pitching to, and every potential project. You don’t need to rewrite the whole thing, but in considering who you are speaking to, you’ll want to highlight different skills and perhaps adjust the tone.
Using a tool like Canva makes it easy to update on-the-fly. Even if there is no impending pitch, you’ll also want to look at continuing to update your skills and experience every six months or so to ensure you’re staying current. And then it’s no big panic when an opportunity presents itself; your changes to the short professional bio will be completely manageable.
Keeping your bio short, sweet and easily updatable is just another way we’re employing agile methods. Check out our process page to see how we apply agile to chatbot development projects.