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Professional Bio or Resume - Which Is Best for Senior Executives?

The 21st-century ability to create your own personal website, contribute articles to databases and design your own brief biography raises the question "Are resumes still a necessity and which presentation is best for C-level executives?" The answer: both are important to advance your career.

Professional Bio
This can be a wonderful strategy to help prospective employers find you on the Internet and advance your executive brand. A professional bio serves as an effective first introduction to you and your executive expertise and vision.

Many companies and executive recruiting firms now use popular search engines—Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and others—to learn about the attributes of potential professional candidates. Properly constructed professional bios let potential employers obtain valuable information about you and your career focus.

Executive Resume
Still important, your executive resume is most effective when you prepare it in "tandem" with your professional bio. You can then integrate both documents directly with your executive branding strategy to display a more complete picture of your ability, expertise, skill, experience and professional demeanour.

As a C-level executive or candidate, you should understand that employers retain professionals at this level for both objective and subjective reasons. In addition to a superior skill level, you should project the image of one who will deliver the vision, attitude, and "fit" to enhance your value to an entire organization, not merely a department.

Creating a bio that melds with your formal resume can present your value in a comprehensive, cohesive "package". One should enhance, not duplicate, the other. Since professional bios are typically perused before a resume, carefully design your biography to be a "good read" to inspire the reader to move to your equally effective resume.

How to Create a Bio That Interests and Motivates Readers
An effective bio has the components of a good article or short story. Your first paragraph should serve as a "hook" to interest the reader in learning more and reading your piece. Since family and outside interests are inappropriate for a professional resume, you can use your bio as an opportunity to mention these other items without detracting from your brand.

Some things you should consider including in your bio to spark interest, include:
• A few "defining moments" in your career and personal life.
• Some ways you've handled challenges in the past that made you stronger and added to your depth of character.
• Reasons why you believe your life and career have been successful.
• Some beneficial "lessons" you have learned, over time, that benefits your professional and personal quality of life.
• Explain some events where you have mentored others to improve their professional and/or personal lives. Note the personal rewards you enjoyed from this activity.

As you can see, your professional bio is a wonderful opportunity to highlight who, not what, you are. Without the constraints of a resume, which by definition should be targeted on skills, experience, expertise and documented history, your professional bio can be an effective vehicle to enhance the value of your executive brand, including your personal qualities and achievements.

Social Networking, Personal Websites, and Blogs
Use the all encompassing power of the Internet to its fullest. Social networking sites dedicated to business professionals, like LinkedIn, can be very valuable. Unlike some personal social networking favourites, like FaceBook, your professional bio will attract top level executive recruiters and employers in which you may have interest.

Personal websites, if tastefully constructed, can deliver almost equal value to a LinkedIn account. You could easily use your professional bio as your "About" page, enhancing the "look" and cohesiveness of your website. You could also publish your professional resume to help interested parties find both your brand and your documented history in one well designed location.

If you have an active blog, you could also display your professional bio in an "About" page or as a consistent addendum to your blog entries. You can gain similar benefits should you write articles, publishing a brief summary of your full bio at the end of each piece you author. Always include a link to your personal website and/or social networking page so interested readers can learn more about you.

Your professional bio, combined with your impressive resume, can deliver an intriguing introduction to the best executive recruiters and potential employers. Using this two phased approach also eliminates the perceived need to fill up a resume with text. Bold subheads and generous "white space" are more attractive to those searching for someone with your expertise, brand and professionalism.