An executive biography summarises career highlights and accomplishments to potential clients or partners. This one page document is a useful exercise and can be a key part to winning new business.
There are three key elements to a great executive bio:
1) A Strong Introduction
The beginning of your executive bio should introduce the most important and impressive aspects of your career. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your professional life. For example, 'A renowned cyber security expert, John Smith is the Chief Security Officer at Happy XYZ Corporation with global responsibility for safeguarding the company's internal and external data and systems.'
2) A Clear Structure
Your executive bio should have a linear structure that starts with your current role and works backwards. This will help the reader understand your progression and how you’ve developed into the experienced professional you are today. Dispense with flowery writing, padding and fluff leaving content that sells your expertise in a concise manner.
3) Engaging Content
Your executive bio should be well-written and engaging, without being self-promotional or boastful. Be sure to showcase your accomplishments in a way that is both informative and interesting to read. An executive bio is usually 1-2 lines per paragraph and 3-5 paragraphs long to give the reader a snapshot of your professional life.
Develop Your Bio With This Q&A
The answers to the following questions will help formulate and distill the information required.
1. Name and title
2. What are your responsibilities?
3. How many years of experience do you have?
4. What positions did you hold in your last three employers?
5. What are your professional qualifications?
6. In bullet format, list your top five achievements.
7. Do you participate in any organization or have a special interest outside of work?
8. Any other information.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but gives an idea of what is required to draft an executive biography. You may even find yourself leaving some information out due to irrelevancy because what’s important is that the final version is a strong reflection of your professional brand.
Other Tips to Writing an Executive Biography
- Use strong action words to describe your successes such as 'transformed', 'directed', 'implemented', 'cost-saving', 'generated', 'oversaw', 'created', etc.
- Quantify your successes with numbers, percentages or dollar figures to add weight and credibility to your claims.
- List any books, articles, white papers etc. that you have authored
- Avoid anything personal - other than your academic qualification. An executive bio is not a precursor to getting a job (a modified version can be used for sites like LinkedIn); it's used to show why potential customers should talk to you.
Executive Bio - Example One
John Smith is a renowned cyber security expert and the Chief Security Officer at Happy XYZ Corporation with global responsibility for safeguarding the company's internal and external data and systems.
With over 20 years of experience in the IT security industry, John is responsible for leading and implementing cyber security strategy for some of the world's largest organisations. He is a regular media commentator on cyber security issues and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other leading publications.
John is also a sought-after public speaker and has given keynote speeches at major conferences around the world. He is the author of the best selling book "Cyber Security: How to prepare and protect your organisation from online attacks" which has been praised by industry experts as a "must read" for anyone looking to protect their business from cyber threats.
When he's not busy safeguarding the data of Happy XYZ Corporation, John enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.
Executive Biography - Example Two
At XYZ Corporation, Jane Doe is the Vice President of Global Sales and is responsible for developing and executing the strategies to drive growth. Instrumental in developing and driving new initiatives, Jane has a proven track record in building strong relationships with customers and generating new business opportunities.
Jane has been recognized as a top performer throughout her career and has received numerous awards for her work in sales and marketing. Prior to joining XYZ Corporation, Jane held various senior roles in sales and marketing at ABC Corporation and DEF Corporation.
Jane earned her MBA from the University of ABC and her Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of DEF. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
An executive biography is a vital sales and marketing tool. It is the first introduction that a potential client will have and needs to be written in a way to engage the reader and make them want to learn more.
There is a temptation to take a cookie-cutter approach when writing executive biographies. This is wrong. Each and every biography should be unique and tailored to the individual. In order to do this, you'll need to put some thought into what information is included and excluded.
A final tip when writing your own executive biography is to make sure you use strong, persuasive language throughout. Above all else, an executive bio is used to impress, spark interest and ultimately, win business.
Eight Public Relations is a PR agency in Hong Kong. We help technology and legal clients enhance their profile through public relations, media relations, content development, corporate reputation, thought leadership programmes, and digital communications.