Creative LeadershipCreativity

The Importance of a Great Personal Biography

If you’re a creative professional then you probably know the importance of having a great biography. A resume will always be important, but for creative people – particularly in entertainment and media – people want to hear your story. A solid bio, along with a updated resume can go a long way toward getting your next job. So here’s a list of things you should consider when you sit down to write your personal bio:

1) Mention Your accomplishments, but don’t go over the top. Don’t be afraid to share the story of your major career accomplishments – but don’t limit it. A great bio is the story of your life, so include your personality and non-job experiences that have made you who you are. This isn’t the time to be shy, however, be careful not to push things too far. Don’t make it dull, but keep it accurate and believable.

2) Focus on your One Big Thing. In my book “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” I encourage readers to stop being average at many things and become extraordinary at One Big Thing. While having wide experience can be important, employers are looking for expertise. Tailor your story to the area where you are amazing. You can order my book to find out more.

3) Write your bio for a specific audience. I’ve used numerous bios and resumes over the years – not because I’m lying, but because different organizations are looking for different things. Whatever your area of expertise, an advertising agency is different from a TV Network, web company, movie studio, nonprofit, or church. You may be a writer, but different organizations are looking for different experience, perspectives, and skill. At the very least, I would have different bios and resumes for 3 big categories – nonprofits, businesses, and churches.

4) Keep it short and sweet. You’re not writing a novel, so you don’t have to tell everything. Keep your story to what a particular employer would be interested in – mostly having to do with the position you’re applying for, and your area of expertise. Make them want more instead of getting bored and tossing it.

5) Don’t fake it. In a digital world, it’s just too easy to find out the truth. You’re creative, so don’t be bland. Emphasize your strengths, but never lie. Plus – you never know who your employers might be friends with. I once interviewed a candidate who said he was the Communications Director for a major church. I happened to know the pastor so I made a phone call only to discover that not only wasn’t he the Communications Director, but in fact he had been a very low level member of the team.

6) Have some fun! Make your bio worth reading. Take a fun approach to your accomplishments and previous jobs. Poke a little fun at yourself. Sometimes a little self-deprecating humor shows your humility – which is never a bad thing.

Ultimately, your biography isn’t about bragging rights, it’s about credibility. Creativity is about telling great stories, so use your storytelling skill to help you land your next job!

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One Comment

  1. “been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison.”

    Man, this is still the best resume line of all times. 🙂 Maybe, just maybe – and I’ve been doing LOTS of editing lately – I’d rearrange it to:

    “been threatened with prison, fallen out of a helicopter, been shot at and survived two military coups”

    More drama as the sentence goes along. 😉

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