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Business Bios - a Résumé Alternative

by Marcia Yudkin

Learn how to write a bio and how a bio differs from a résumé. 

A bio also serves well for an "About" page or LinkedIn profile.

Once in a while I get a panicky call from a business owner pursuing a promising business deal: "So-and-so asked for my résumé. I haven't used one in twenty years. Help!"

If you find yourself in that predicament, relax. Chances are what you really need is a business bio, something much easier than a résumé to assemble.

A résumé has a schematic structure designed so that employers can quickly scan it. Conventionally, it presents your work history, education, skills and other qualifications chronologically. Omissions stick out, and a resume is supposed to offer a complete portrait of your past. The older, more enterprising and more multi-dimensional you are, however, the more this format turns into a colossal headache.

Eliminate Wordiness With Powerful, Easy-to-Apply Guidelines
Learn how to get your point across in one page or how to satisfy a strict word count for magazine or newsletter editors. Find out how to identify and cut repetition, eliminate excess verbiage, make your point fast and convey a wealth of facts in a small space. My longwinded clients asked for this! Become more concise.

Unlike a résumé, which lists isolated facts, a business bio tells a story. A bio takes the form of a paragraph, or two or three, that portrays who you are and what you've done. It tosses completeness and chronology to the wind and includes only what is relevant to your story. Think of a business bio as the sort of blurb about you that might appear on the back inside flap of a book jacket, if you were an author.

A bio should begin with an overview statement, which provides a big-picture summary of your unique combination of skills and experience. Then you furnish the most pertinent facts that round out the picture. These two abbreviated examples should give you a clearer idea. Notice how they offer just enough detail to make claims believable and concrete.

  • MaryAnn Gerhardt's twenty-two years of design experience encompass media ranging from print to outdoor signage to television. As the owner of Gerhardt Design, she works with clients to create, extend and change corporate identities. Trained in illustration at the New York Museum School, she has received no less than seventeen awards for client work, three gallery exhibitions and scores of mentions in national publications. Gerhardt lives and works in a Victorian mansion that she redesigned and that also serves as a showcase for her work.
  • Harold Wen has been called "a lifesaver," "a miracle worker" and "a revival artist" for his ability to revive companies near death. His 37 years in finance, marketing and operations give him an unusually broad base of experience with which to diagnose and remedy a company's problems. Clients run the gamut from food processing firms and family farms to Fortune 100 conglomerates.

Before you trash your résumé in favor of a bio, I should add that a few situations do call for the traditional schematic, chronological format. In a competitive bidding situation, if a call for proposals specifies a "résumé," you'd better provide one. Second, universities expect to see the rigorous outline of a resume even when they've asked you to lecture there because of your unconventional achievements. 

In Europe and in the academic world, by the way, résumés go by the Latin term, "curriculum vitae" - "c.v." for short.

And by the way, once you have a bio you can use it on your website's "About" page or as your Linked In profile with few or no changes.

Copyright 2009, 2016 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

My fee for writing or rewriting a business bio: $300

"When I hired her to write me a new bio, Marcia Yudkin was fast, 
professional and extremely helpful. I appreciate the fact that she took time to get to know my language, as Australian business-speak is somewhat different to that of the US in that it's not good to speak ourselves up too emphatically. Where I had been struggling, she got it perfectly right." - Teresa Keleher, Sydney, Australia

Inquire about having me create a dynamic new bio or "About" page for you.

Order a bio for $300 after discussing your project with me by email:

(You can pay with any major credit card or with Paypal funds.)

See a sample "before and after" makeover of a bio.

Read more about how to "spin" information when you write your bio.

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