If you’ve ever had the tiresome task of wading through a pile of CVs, you’ll know that after awhile, they all start to look quite similar. Instead of sticking with the tired old format that everyone else is using, why not consider marketing yourself differently with a personal branded bio? It’s a good place to begin when marketing yourself for a career relaunch.
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’ve 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 the individual holistically as a brand, rather than stringing together a list of skills. It creates an emotional connection, points out your unique selling proposition (USP) and highlights your areas of specialisation and key projects. It’s 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 way, and it’s more enjoyable to read (and write).
If you’re 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’s what needs to go into your branded bio.
- Identify your USP. What is it that sets you apart from others in your profession with similar experience and qualifications? Perhaps you’re a business consultant, but you have an ability to not only develop corporate strategy, but implement that strategy better than anyone you know. Think about what you can offer that nobody else can and focus on your USP in your branded bio.
- Underscore your key projects and achievements. Showcase projects you’ve 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. Consider including relevant testimonials.
- Profile what makes you distinctive and compelling. What are the most interesting things about you that set you aside from potential competitors? Do you have a talent for spotting trends before the take off? Are you passionate about training and development? Think about strengths you have that may lie outside of the traditional lists, and find ways to convey the value you add.