Executive bios can be an influential tool in a leader’s professional toolbox. When done correctly, executive bios emphasize your uniqueness, tell your story, and further pique your reader’s curiosity. When done poorly, they minimize your greatness or make you forgettable. The executive bio’s job is more than highlighting your accomplishments; it is motivating readers to learn more about you and inviting them to take the next step in engaging with you. Here are six essential elements of an effective executive bio:
1) Show your distinctiveness. What makes you unique? Your executive bio should stand out by showcasing your humanity, not just your career timeline and current title. What opening line would compel readers to continue learning about you if your bio were in a conference booklet with 75 others? Here are two examples—one with a little more personality than the other:
- Cheril Clarke is the founder of Phenomenal Writing, an executive communication consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA.
- Cheril Clarke is what you get when you mix an executive communicator, film and theater professional, and visionary entrepreneur in a blender.
2) Convey your key value propositions. Even if you are working from an executive bio template, include the specific value you offer that aligns with your readers’ needs and interests. For example, if you have an extensive operations management and process improvement background, capture it succinctly (and specifically) with something like “Delivered $200M cost savings and revenue enhancement through operational improvements, which included [give concrete example].” Use muscular language to describe the work you did.
3) Position yourself as an expert. Be clear about your expertise. Explain your achievements, any books you’ve authored, and how many keynote speeches you have delivered. What differentiates you from others with a similar title?
4) Include keywords. Include keywords relevant to your target audience that define your value proposition, but don’t overdo it with jargon. Your executive bio should be intriguing to read, not a drag
5) Tell a story. A story conveys meaning much more effectively than a list of accomplishments and responsibilities alone. Illustrate your account with concrete examples, and use strong but uncommon verbs. Share your leadership story—how you got to where you are now—and what you enjoy most about your work. Great stories are all about transformation. How did you transform a company or situation?
6) Create a call to action. A call to action at the end of your bio invites the reader to connect and learn about you, so be sure to include one.
Executive bios are excellent tools to highlight yourself as a unique leader in your field and create connections with your audiences. It can be the gateway to more engaging conversations, more people paying attention when you present at a conference, and more positive attention coming your way. Contact us today if you’d like to upgrade your bio and are interested in professional help.