But that was before the Internet, social media, and electronic transfer of data came on the scene. Now people think of him as…
Résumé turned to his friends for help: “Share more about your results,” they counseled. “Add some ‘power verbs’ to your lines.”
He made the changes.
But Résumé was still boring.
Résumé decided to try a makeover and hired a coach. “Let’s update your style,” the coach suggested. “Try a performance-based approach, much shorter, with a newer font.”
Even his updated approach didn’t do the trick – he seemed particularly boring when compared to his cousin Bio.
She was something else.
Bio was like the new kid on the block who never learned to play by the rules. She loved to try on new styles and advised her cousin:
“It’s the new age, cuz, and everyone’s got too much information – you’ve gotta make it snappier and have people feel like you’re writing just for them.”
Résumé countered, “I was taught to be objective and clear.”
“You can still be honest, but you need a story, Dude. A way to be personal and professional.
Like, look at the “About “page on my website. I put in lots of stuff I think will interest my customer, and then weave it together in one big signature story.”
Bio sometimes went to social events with Résumé, especially when she wanted “a little extra credibility”.
But at an Amazon gathering, poor Résumé was out of his league. He went in his blue blazer and tie only to find that almost everyone else was hanging out in flip flops. He was mortified.
I met Résumé and Bio at a gathering, and asked her if I could interview her about how she put together her story. I thought it would help those of us who, like Résumé, hadn’t grown up with the Internet.
She agreed, on one condition:
“I don’t want you to hype this like I’ve got one of those make-ten-times-your-income-in-six-days formulas that are all over the Web. Tell the people that writing a bio can be fun and really creative – but it’s also hard work.
You have to find your own voice and no one can do that for you. Not even me, and I think I’m good at personal branding.”
I began the interview by asking:
Why do you think putting together a bio can be so challenging?
“It isn’t always easy to see yourself in your own story. I needed help to pull aspects of my past into something that would make sense to others on paper or when I talked to them.
Like, with all the different jobs I’ve had, I could come off like a total flake.
But the cool part is that now I see how a lot of those experiences really helped me be who I am today.
Like I learned a lot just writing my ‘About’ page.’
What tips can you share?
‘Well always remember: you’re in business to do something so you’ve got to stay relevant to your customers – or potential employers. I’ve seen some bio’s that were just weird – like people were sharing whatever.
But the bottom line is: what you include has to be RELEVANT to the people you want to reach.”
Were those weird bio’s too personal?
“No, a bio’s got to be personal, although there’s nothing stopping you from having a fun bio and another that you tone down a bit. People dig those bits of personal information (like my collection of 100 ceramic piggybanks) as long as they support your story and show how you can be useful to others – or just make you seem more real and someone they’d like to know.
OK, I know you hate formulas but do you have one that you use when you help others with their bios?
I’ve got this one: Professional + credible + relevant + a sense of possibility = great bio.
It sounds like a big job to pull one together.
“Hey, well it’s the new world. It’s the work.”
“I like bio’s that inspire. People want to read things that give them hope. Life can be kind of dismal out there.
People want you to help them feel that it’s possible to make a difference – and that you can do it together.
When you write, you connect with their challenges and can give them faith that it can work out.”
So this is about feeling?
“Uh duh. Do you think anyone will remember something they can’t connect with emotionally in some way?
And by the way, if you have a signature story that includes your authentic story, facts that give you credibility, a focus that is relevant to what you customers or clients need, and a big possibility that you all can share –people’ll love it – and you’ll use it in lots of ways.”
How do you use this “signature story”?
Like I use my long form one when I’m giving a speech and have a lot of time with folks – and the short form when I just have a minute introducing myself in a meeting.”
Like an elevator speech?
When was the last time you gave a speech in an elevator?
I’m not going to hit up anybody with my message while we’re between floors. I mean, like, ‘Hope you have a nice day’ or ‘I like your shoes’ seems a lot more appropriate. There are better ways to share about myself.”
“I like settings where I can take a little time and set things up right. Like my own website where I have some control. Or when someone asks me how to introduce me before a presentation.
And by the way, a lot of people aren’t good doing an intro for me – so I give them something short that packs a punch – a couple of accomplishments, something I care about that’s relevant to the audience, and one big juicy detail about me that they’ll remember. My audiences are always grateful.”
How much do you like to share about your experiences and awards?
“Don’t you think a girl should hold back, just a little???” (She smiles.)
“I mean what you’re after is a relationship, not just some passing excitement!
Don’t try to impress people with everything you’ve done. Once you’ve gotten to know them, you can leak the fact that you were yearbook editor (if you must), or whatever.”
Sounds like you almost want to tease them into wanting more?
(She blushes.) “I’m not THAT creative. I just don’t want to overwhelm them with stuff about me – when what I really want is to hear about THEM.”
Bio has offered to share more of her secrets about how you can use the power of story to develop a knock-out bio or “About” page at my class Thursday July 16th at Pinchot University. Early bird pricing through July 8th. We promise it won’t be dull!