How to Write a Compelling Executive Biography

6 minute read

How to Write a Compelling Executive Biography

Highlights

  • An executive bio is a summary of your professional narrative
  • It’s written much the same way as other narratives using key elements about the executive
  • Using these seven tips can make your executive biography more engaging and effective
  • A shorter version of your executive bio can enhance your resume
  • You should keep the length of your bio to a single page to maximize its efficacy 

As a professional, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a key figure at a large corporation, there are times when other people and entities want to know who you are in your industry. Resumes can tell them what you do, but a well-written executive profile will convey your real value and personal brand. It can even work to improve your digital footprint and online reputation.

Writing your executive biography yourself will infuse it with your “voice” and make it stand out as a genuine representation, rather than a fill-in-the-black answer sheet. 

What is an executive profile?

An executive bio is similar to a resume:  It’s a document designed to sell you. However, an executive bio differs from a resume because it’s written in standard paragraph format as a third-person narrative, as opposed to a resume’s skimmable bullet list of qualifications.

While each document requires information relevant to its specific goal, the executive bio calls for engaging content that might not come easy for everyone. Here are some tips and guidelines for writing a more successful executive biography. 

How do you write an executive bio for a website?

The best method of writing a compelling executive biography is the same as writing practically any other narrative. Start by collecting all the information that needs to be included (see below).

Structure the information in a logical order (see below again), starting with the information the reader wants and needs to know. Then connect the individual bits into sentences and paragraphs and edit, edit, edit. 

Use powerful language and be concise. Don’t volunteer anything that’s not relevant or necessary. Read your bio over and over again until every sentence feels optimized towards your goals. Put it down for a while, come back later, and read it again. When there’s nothing left to improve, it’s ready to post.

What elements are in the most interesting bios?

  • Facts, evidence, and examples that support your skills and values
  • Rich content like pics and video
  • Engaging job description
  • Current position/involvements
  • Relevant prior experience
  • Awards and acknowledgments
  • Community and industry involvement
  • Education
  • Publications
  • Professional contact information 
  • Immediate family

How do you make your bio interesting?

Think about the goals of your executive biography. Are you likely to accomplish those goals if nothing is interesting or engaging about it? 

Your executive bio can enhance your corporate website, marketing, conference materials, or job seeking. A great bio can even help your brand attract better talent. Whatever your goals, you have a better chance of achieving them if your bio jumps off the page. 

Elements of an Effective Bio

what an effective bio looks like

Remember this is marketing.

As you write, remember this is not a diary or a resume. An executive biography is marketing material. Target your audience and your market based on the purpose of the bio, then present yourself in the context of their needs.

Write in the third person, even if you’re writing about yourself.

Keep the entire bio under one full page. People will only look at your executive bio for a short time, and an overly long bio can make them want to read it less. 

Convey your value. 

This one sounds obvious at first glance, but do you know what your value is? It’s not just your skill set. Chances are many people have the same basic skill set as you, so focusing just on your skillset could make it appear as if you won’t add any more value to a business, project, or partnership than anyone else. That would be selling yourself short. 

Your real value comes from your UVP: your unique value proposition. What unique, primary benefit would an employer or client get from working with you? It’s important to tell the reader what you do, what you know, and what makes you special in your field, but also tell them why that should matter to them. 

Don’t be chronological. 

Decision makers are not patient these days. Whoever is reading your executive biography doesn’t want to wade through college years and internship experience to get to the core info they want to know. 

Start with what you are doing today. Then highlight relevant experience, knowledge, accomplishments, honors, etc. At the end of the bio, you can add a brief note about your vision for the future. Don’t be overly specific, like naming a company you want to work for. You never know what opportunities will arise or where you will want to use this biography.

Make it snappy. 

Along with having little patience, people are short on attention span and time. Statistically speaking, you have mere seconds with your reader. That means you need to be concise, direct, and compelling. Hook your reader from the start and make each sentence more informative and valuable than the last. This is not the place for fluff and word stuffing.

No copycats!

Online templates and fill-in-the-blanks bios are going to give you a stiff, artificial feel. A stuffy bio can affect your personal brand, which can affect your executive reputation. It’s always better to write your bio yourself, even if it takes several drafts.

You want your executive biography to read like a networking introduction and represent you genuinely and sincerely. Include a professional headshot to help maintain the human element, which is essential for you to make a connection with your readers. 

Need a little push? You can find free bio template downloads here

Read it aloud.

When you get a solid draft down, read it aloud and see if it feels natural, like it’s written in your own voice. Ask someone who knows you to read it and give feedback. Your bio should not sound like a resume or a bullet-point list of accomplishments but rather a conversational introduction in the third person – as if you were introducing an accomplished friend to the boss of an organization you think should hire them. 

Address Any Online Issues

Take a look at the Google results for your name. Is there anything there that you’d like to address? Anything missing that you wish was there? Your bio is your opportunity to finish that story, as long as the info is appropriate for a professional setting. Think like a recruiter to assess your online profiles and info and use your executive bio to sculpt it. 

Writing an Executive Biography FAQs

Is a professional biography the same as a resume?

No. An executive bio is a narrative or story. It’s a compelling story of your professional career, told succinctly and engagingly, that presents the most relevant information first. Conversely, a resume is a simple overview of your skills that lists your qualifications at a glance to potential employers, so it’s designed to be as skimmable as possible. 

What is a bio for a resume?

Resumes often include a professional bio. This bio will be slightly different than the executive bio you use for marketing, job seeking, and other applications. Most noticeably, it will be shorter. Resumes perform better when they are concise, and your bio should not detract from that. 

How long is a professional bio?

Some writers use two pages as the maximum for an executive biography. As with a resume, two pages is probably too long. Your readers are going to spend seconds with your bio, not minutes. Something as simple as turning a page can be a major turn-off when the reader is hoping for a quick scan to get the info they want.