If you have ever had the tiresome task of wading through a pile of CVs, you will know that after a while, they all start to look quite similar. Instead of sticking with the tired old format that everyone else is using, why not consider profiling yourself differently with a personal branded bio? It is a good place to begin when marketing yourself for a career change.
A CV is meant to sum you up to give prospective employers or clients an idea of your skills and experience. But there are better ways available to showcase your talents than a chronological list of what you have done at work over the past few years and your Matric subjects, all squished into an MS Word template.
I have developed what I call a personal branded bio that I use instead of a CV. A branded bio focuses on you as a ‘brand’, rather than stringing together a list of skills. It creates an emotional connection, points out your unique selling proposition (USP), what makes you distinctive and highlights your areas of specialisation and key projects. It is like a CV in that it gives employers the information they will need to form an opinion about you, but it does so in a far more persuasive and compelling way.
If you are worried about losing the CV entirely, think of your personal branded bio as a massive reformatting exercise. Start with the bio upfront and list the normal CV requirements (work history in particular) underneath. Just remember to keep the document to two pages (three at maximum).
How to create your own personal branded bio:
- Define the key message you want to convey
Keep it short, sharp and to the point. If you had two minutes to sell yourself to your potential employer, what would you want them to know? That is what needs to go into your branded bio.
- Identify your differentiator
What is it that sets you apart from others in your profession with similar experience, skills and qualifications? Perhaps you’re a business consultant, but you have an ability to not only develop strategy but develop a balanced scorecard of measures than anyone you know. Think about what you can offer that nobody else can and focus on your differentiator in your branded bio.
- Underscore your key projects and achievements
Showcase projects you have been involved in where you made an impressive and tangible difference. For example, you might have led the IT team that overhauled the company’s IT systems, resulting in increased efficiency in operations and logistics management. Think of practical examples from your career that demonstrate your strengths and talents and where possible include quantitative results of what you have achieved. Consider including relevant testimonials.
- Profile what makes you distinctive and compelling
What are the most interesting things about you that set you aside from others who compete in your space? Do you have a talent for spotting trends before they take off? Are you passionate about developing women? Think about strengths you have that may lie outside of the traditional lists and find ways to convey the value you add.
- Share your values
Who you are and what you stand for is hugely important. Personal values help define who you are and help people understand how you approach the world of work and relationships. Dig deep! Don’t say that you are honest and trustworthy (not that this is not important) but focus on the values that help set you apart. For example, one of my key values is brutal honesty. What that means is that I say it as it is and I am not afraid to articulate that which others want to express.