The resume is your career heartbeat. However, alone, it may not be enough to sustain your job search. Without the support of vital, story-pumping arteries, such as career documents and online profiles, the health of your job search may suffer. Two of those sustaining documents include the Executive Biography and the Executive Summary.
What Is an Executive Biography? Why Do You Need One?
1. What it is. It's an increasingly important tool in the executive or professional career arsenal. If you want to ensure the reader gets a complete picture of the value you offer, make sure you include this in your career story.
The Executive Biography, or Bio if you like, is exactly what it seems to be. This additional, informative vehicle helps the prospective employer get to know you on a more personal level and gain insight on who you are as an individual. While a well-executed resume does a great job of showcasing your career accomplishments, business value, and unique ways of doing what you do, the Executive Biography tells the story from a more personal point of view.
2. Why you need one. Using this document presents an opportunity to talk about philosophies that helped to shape your career. It is a highly personalized one- or two-page story full of information you may want to share, like where you grew up, books you've read, or volunteer organizations with which you've been involved—things you would like a prospective employer to know about you that may or may not be associated directly with the position you're seeking to fill.
Written in a conversational tone, this biography focuses on those details that may not be at home on the professional resume, but that add value nonetheless.
If you haven't been asked yet, there is a very high likelihood that soon you will be asked for an Executive Bio, as more recruiters and hiring managers see the value in this important piece of the career-portfolio puzzle.
What Is an Executive Summary? Why Do You Need One?
1. What it is. Simply put, an Executive Summary is a trimmed-down version of your resume.
2. Why you need one. Often, an interview-savvy and conversation-sparking resume is rich with meaty substantive stories that describe not only your achievements, but also the foundational detail that bolsters those achievements. These resumes provide headlines, summaries, and results; additionally, they fuel the reader with the "how," the "why," the "so what," and the overall context of the careerist's story, which is essential in differentiating the candidate from the pack of resumes in the stack. This meaty resume often extends to two or three pages, and is the foundational job-search document you must include.
However, in some instances, a second, trimmed resume document; i.e., the Executive Summary, is a nice complement to the more robust version, equipping you with a communications piece suitable for specific situations. For example, a friend of a friend of a friend recommends that you email an introduction to their friend for a possible opportunity. The loose connection to what may be a nebulous opportunity could require you to enlist an abbreviated resume, at least at first. And, once hooked into the contact more closely, you can send along your meatier storyboard resume. Other audiences for the Executive Summary include members at networking events and recruiters, among others.
So, you see, your career and job search heartbeat is organic and complex, requiring multiple channels in which to achieve a healthy outcome. If you ignore the vital signs that keep your career ticking, you may very well end up seeking emergency resuscitation.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.