The Management Bio: It’s All About You
April 16, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai
Virtually every document we write requires a strong personal biography of each member of the client’s management team.
The reason is that investors, bankers, and other interested stakeholders usually believe that the strength of the team is the most important factor in predicting the success of an enterprise.
Yes, even more important than product or market.
“A great team can fix a mediocre idea, but a mediocre team can’t execute a great idea,” as the saying goes.
Not surprisingly, it is very difficult to write someone else’s bio simply because we do not know the individual’s background, experiences, and strengths. Even if they provide an up-to-date resume full of dates, activities, and accomplishments. Only the subject of the bio has a true sense of herself that will allow her to project credibility and trust. A biography will always be more interesting and compelling if at least the first draft is written by the subject.
We usually ask our clients to write the first draft of their own bios. We tell them what to include and what not to include. Once we have a first draft, we can usually do a pretty good job of making it more readable, interesting, and credible.
And yet, time after time, drafting a bio proves to be a considerable challenge for many clients.
Before we get into specific tips, let us explain why a compelling bio is so important:
- Your bio is your brand. It allows you to position yourself in the market. It allows you to shape how the reader perceives you – which is critical, because perception often becomes reality.
- Your bio is the heart of your online presence. Today your potential customers, employers, investors, dates, and others are checking your bio on sites lilke LinkedIn and Facebook to determine whether or not you’re a good fit.
There isn’t a single “best” way to structure a bio, but here are some guidelines we often find successful:
- Keep it short – certainly no longer than around 500 words.
- It should begin with a chronological listing of what you did to get to today in terms of jobs or assignments of increasing responsibility. Mention organization names and titles, and certainly mention accomplishments.
- Don’t tell the reader how great you are – let them come to that conclusion because of the results you’ve produced.
- Include your educational accomplishments.
- Write in the third person perspective to give a sense of impartiality and professionalism.
- In a final paragraph, describe your role in the organization and why your background makes you the best person for the role. If you are responsible for new customer acquisition, describe the home runs you’ve hit in landing customers for a previous employer.
Remember, your bio is your brand; your way to make a great first impression. Keep it relevant, compelling, and brief. Don’t just use it to provide information. Use it to sell yourself in a professional and credible way.
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