Why Your Bio Is More Important than Your Resume

Most job seekers understandably think that their resume is their most important written job search tool. Why? Because most people associate resumes with landing their next job. Resumes are important, even critical, to your ultimate goal of landing your next job. However, resumes are best used only when you are applying for a specific position. After all, that’s the purpose of a resume – to articulate your background, skills, abilities and credentials – with the hopes of garnering an interview.

However, any savvy job seeker in this current employment market knows that blindly applying for jobs using your resume is a recipe for a long bout of unemployment. Generally accepted statistics demonstrate that only 20% of all jobs are filled via job boards and newspaper ads. And of that 20% the majority of the time the hiring manager knows who they want to hire before the posting goes up. The other 80% of jobs are filled through networking with friends, family, current or former co-workers, or through extended professional networking through LinkedIn and professional organizations.


One page biography


This is where the concept of a one page biography or bio, for short, comes into play. The bio is the document that you can most leverage during your networking activities – and if networking is the key approach needed to land one of the 80% of jobs that are not filled through traditional job posting channels, and then doesn’t it stand to reason that a bio should be a more important tool? Remember, a resume is best utilized when you are applying for a specific job. A bio is best used to convey your background in a crisp narrative format before, during or after your networking meetings.




You may be thinking, “Why can’t I just use my resume during my networking meetings?” Good question. Probably the biggest reason is that a bio speaks much more about your reputation, attributes, tone and makeup than a resume does. Written in the third person and without the rigid structure of a resume, you bio is much more readable and conversational than a resume. Another reason is because your networking partner may equate seeing your resume with applying for a job and they most likely will not have a job for you at the present time. When a networking partner feels like they can’t help you, they may recoil and not provide you with the resources you were hoping to gain from the conversation. Another reason for not providing a resume during networking sessions is because networking partners may get sidetracked wanting to provide you with resume feedback.

So, the bio gives you an opportunity to explain a bit about yourself in a disarming, easy to read format. Because of the way you’ll construct the bio, it also allows you to convey more and different information about yourself then you could ever do with a resume.

OK, so now you agree that a bio is an important tool in your arsenal. How do you go about building one? Keep in mind that you want to write this in the third person and don’t be bashful!


How to write one


First, you’ll want to start with a summary which states your name, basic profession and what your experience and expertise is. Second, you’ll want to add career highlights and significant accomplishments. Third, let people know what you are known for.  Fourth, don’t forget your education and other credentials and fifth, feel free to sprinkle in a few of your hobbies and interests (as long as they are not polarizing hobbies!). You’re welcomed to review my bio as a sample. It can be downloaded here.

Now that you have written your bio, you are ready to utilize it during your networking discussions and you have document that you can also use for speaking engagements, press releases and other related announcements. 

More reading at 8 Steps To Writing a Bio Like a Pro.

Matthew Levy is a well-rounded HR professional and Career Coach with fifteen years of broad experience in both specialist (e.g., recruiting) and generalist (e.g., HR business partner) roles at blue-chip companies, including Merck, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. Follow Matt on Twitter and his [url=”>blog.

Image credit Paul McGreevy


Why You Should Always Send a Follow Up Thank You Letter

When applying for a new job the devil can certainly be in the detail. Two simple words can make a world of difference and they are “thank you”. We all want to be thanked for the effort we put in to our jobs and that goes for any interviewer, be they HR or hiring managers. Be sure to follow up your cover letter that got you the interview with a post-interview thank you note that will put you firmly back on the map for the employer.
Why send it?
Sincere statements like “Thank you for meeting me today”, “I appreciated meeting you”, “I very much look forward to speaking to you later today” should perk up any hiring manager’s mood after another day of sifting the wheat from the chaff. The idea is to stand out from other candidates and leave a favorable impression with the other person by going the extra mile.
The follow up letter is more than only saying thank you, it also allows you to reiterate the points you made in the meeting and to bring up any new points that you forgot to put across. Examples of this could be “great to see that we both like ice hockey, I should have mentioned that I did play semi-professionally back in the 90’s”.
Make the decision today to follow up your meetings with a thank you note sent straight to the interviewer. The note says a lot about you, that you care about others and not just about this particular job. It will also indicate that you will make a great team player willing to go out of your way for others.
How to send it?
Does the not have to be sent by post? Not at all, a phone call or an email will do just as well. Although traditionalists would argue that nothing beats a hand written letter, especially if you want to stand out from the crowd. In any event, what’s important is that you express your appreciation and leave a lasting good impression.
If you really like the idea of thank you notes, you could even send one to the employers that didn’t ask you to interview. Again, you will get noticed and although you won’t be put back in the running for that position, you will be at the forefront of that employer’s mind for the next one.
Sample follow up cover letter
Dear Employer,
Thank you so much for taking the time to see me today. It was a pleasure discussing our mutual passion for philately and ornithology. I enjoyed meeting you and going through your job opening and to have the chance to state the reasons I am convinced I would be an ideal fit.
The team seems like a lovely bunch of people, the office is very conveniently located and I can really see myself having a long career with your company. Looking forward to hearing from you soon and hopefully another meeting in the near future. Thank you once again.
Kind Regards,
Make it a rule to follow up your interviews with another cover letter, including the magic words “thank you” and you will be surprised how people will react positively. Now go on and Make Dale Carnegie himself proud by unleashing the power of good manners on your job search!

And now turn to your resume at Why Your CV is Boring and Ineffective
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5 Tricks Recruiters Use to Find You

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How many times have you been called up by headhunters in the last 12 months? Did you ever ask how the recruiter got hold of your details? This article lists some of the most common ways recruiters find you.
When called up by a recruiter, most people are baffled and have no idea how they were identified. The curious amongst us have to ask in order to avoid sleepless nights. When prompted, the headhunters are likely to say that you were recommended by somebody who “wants to remain anonymous but rest assured, they have only good things to say about you”. This is however rarely the case. Giving referrals of current colleagues without their permission is risky business and most people avoid doing this. Therefore the recruiter has most likely employed craftier techniques to find you.
The 5 main methods recruiters employ to find you:
1. Application
The obvious one, you send your resume out for a job you have seen posted on the recruiters website or a job board. The bad news is that in my 7 years experience of permanent recruitment, I rarely saw placements made from a direct application. Not sure whether this is because the wrong people apply or the recruiter not fully grasping what he or she is looking for.
2. Database
Recruiters will have your details on file if you have ever sprayed your CV out for whatever jobs (very easily done as most postings on job boards are from agencies). You will be on their database, thanks to their CRM software they should have a pretty good idea of what you do/did. But your contact details are likely to be out of date so it can take some time for a recruiter to track you down.

 3. Social Media
LinkedIn and other networking sites are veritable goldmines for headhunters. Before the advent of such sites, they had to map out companies by slowly extracting information from every person they spoke to. Nowadays, most of your colleagues will be listed and all it takes for an industrious recruiter is to pick up the phone. Remember that by putting your details on LinkedIn, you have told the world what you do and you are fair game for headhunters.
4. Employee lists
This happens less nowadays but still very useful for the resourceful recruiter. Sometimes a disgruntled former employee will offer a list of their colleagues, complete with mobile numbers, email and even home address details to the highest bidding recruitment agency. I have seen instances where entire teams have been ripped out of one company and put into another through the use of employee lists. If you are a manager (and you want to keep your team) you will want to ensure vital information like this is not readily available to download from your intranet.
5. Cover story
This method is used when all else fails. The recruiter will call in to your company, pretending to be a client or a colleague from a different office and asking for the person that does your job. The sharp headhunter will single out a ‘soft target’ such as the IT support guy or the canteen lady and lay on a cock and bull story as to why they need the information ASAP. Sometimes they get lucky but most of the time this will be a very time consuming exercise and may not lead to anything.
Don’t be offended by a recruiter using ‘creative’ ways to find the right people. This practice is after all highly appreciated by their clients (who needs somebody to do their dirty work) as the CVs offered will be very different to that of their direct applicants. Remember that any recruiter can sift through applications from a job advertisement but only a few are good enough to pro-actively sniff out the best people in the market.
I would recommend you stay close to this recruiter as he or she is likely to be just as pro-active working with companies – thus ensuring they have the best vacancies for candidates like yourself.
How did you get found?

Image by San Diego Shooter

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