Is your goal as a business owner primarily focused on helping your clients increase sales, improve efficiency, prevent a crisis or understand why a particular strategy might work? If so, you likely want to gain your clients’ trust so that you’ll be chosen for their next project.
Conveying credibility through a Website is a challenge we all face, but Web professionals are a unique case. We must convince potential clients of our credibility, experience and professionalism to such a degree that they’re eager to contact us with regards to projects that may be worth thousands of dollars.
A great many designers, developers and business owners in today’s market conduct their business primarily over the Internet, so we may never come face to face with clients or business contacts. Working with people at a distance definitely presents a challenge, but its one that can easily be overcome. How? Give your site visitors the facts!
A bio or resume can alleviate the lack of connection and increase the integrity of your site. A factual presentation of your experience can add valuable credibility to your online presentation. After all, the more credible your site, the more likely your prospects are to make contact with you.
But, which format is most appropriate? Is it best to present a career history through a bio or a resume? The answer depends on the purpose the information will serve. As a resume is primarily used to seek employment, I’d suggest you use a resume only if you’re trying to win a contract or land some type of position. A bio is generally the ideal way to convey your professional experience or your company’s history.
What Is a Bio?
A bio, or biography, acts as a portal into your professional experience or your company’s growth and expansion. It’s a condensed version of your career history designed to give potential clients insight into who you are and what you do. However, while your bio is the short story of your professional life, keep in mind that it should highlight the most important aspects of your experience in a way that successfully demonstrates your credibility.
A bio is most appropriate when incorporated into Website content, proposals, business plans, portfolios and press kits. As a bio is an important tool for presenting details about your business or yourself, most often entrepreneurs, artists, writers, designers, business owners, professionals and consultants use a bio.
What’s In a Bio?
As you prepare your bio, remember its purpose: to make a statement that boosts your credibility. First, think about your visitors. What kinds of information will your prospect want to know? What will impress them? As Web design and development are such competitive fields, you must show prospects why they should choose you over your competitors.
Once you’ve identified what prospects want, make a list of your relevant experience. Don’t be hesitant to do a bit of boasting, but don’t lie about having done something you haven’t. There’s nothing wrong with presenting yourself dynamically, but don’t make anything up.
Here’s a list of the key points your bio should contain:
- Open with a reference to your name and business title.
- Share your business philosophy or mission statement.
- Provide to illustrate your qualifications and strengths.
- Explain how you got involved in your particular business.
- Note how many years of experience you have.
- Mention some of your goals and successes.
- Outline the background of your company.
- Include mention of your education or any specialized training you’ve had.
- List any special associations to which you belong.
- If your business requires special licensing, raise it.
- Describe any awards or special recognition you’ve received.
- Identify the thing that sets you apart from everyone else
The following sample bio describes a real estate agent, and demonstrates her energetic approach:
Behind any successful professional, you’ll usually discover a strong, focused individual who does whatever is required to help her clients reach their goals. Ms. Barbara Jones is no exception. Bringing an energetic spirit, and love of the splendid Canadian countryside, Ms. Jones makes the purchasing or selling of a home a very rewarding and positive experience. Whether buying or selling a home, Ms. Jones’ knowledge and great attention to detail makes her a genuine asset to her clients.
Inspired by her love of real estate, Ms. Jones began her career more than 15 years ago. Specializing in residential real estate, Ms. Jones’ strong work ethic, coupled with her enthusiastic attitude, has gained her a reputation as an agent that is greatly in demand. For those planning to buy or sell a home or considering a move to the Canadian community, Ms. Jones’ character, knowledge and credibility help prospective buyers or sellers make the most informed real estate decision of their lives.
Coupled with extensive knowledge of real estate, Ms. Jones holds a degree from Brooks College. An avid golfer and swimmer, Ms. Jones makes her home in Victoria, where she resides with her husband and three children. An active member of the community along with several associations, Ms. Jones is a member of the Canadian Board of Realtors, as well as the Ontario Real Estate Association.
What Is a Resume?
As I mentioned, resumes are most commonly used by those trying to obtain work. Research indicates that only one out of every 200 resumes gains the candidate an interview. Your resume must demonstrate immediately why someone would choose you over your competitors. So, never be afraid to do a bit of (true) boasting.
As you prepare your presentation, be conscious that you’re trying to make an impression that will win you an interview. Consider carefully what a prospective employer might want to know about you. Again, you want to demonstrate clearly why the company or prospective employer would choose you over other applicants.
What to Include in a Resume
Identify Your Career Objective
Start by identifying your career objective — but make sure it doesn’t lock you into any one role. Some argue that an objective can limit your scope for employment, but it’s a great way to give potential employers an idea of the type of position you’re seeking. Think carefully about what makes you the ideal candidate, and try to identify an objective that ties into this point of difference.
Here’s an example of an objective that doesn’t tie you to one type of position, yet indicates the areas in which your skills lie:
Desire a challenging career opportunity in which to contribute extensive design expertise, excellent customer service skills and outstanding organizational abilities; eager to provide solutions and benefits that exceed company expectations.
Share significant accomplishments
If you’ve done something you’re particularly proud of, make sure it stands out.
While working for Smith and Company, sold more than one million dollars in the first year as a sales representative; quickly promoted to sales manager
During employment with Jones and Company, credited with revamping and reorganizing the entire sales team, which resulted in a tremendous increase in sales
Present details of your education and specialized training
If you don’t have a degree, share any specialized training you’ve participated in. Include the school, the degree, and any awards you’ve achieved.
Mention your computer skills
In this age of technology, the more proficient you are in regard to software and hardware, the more marketable you’ll be.
Summarize your qualifications
You want to show employers why they should hire you, so don’t be afraid to list your strengths and qualifications. List at least three or four strengths or qualifications. For example, if you’re applying for a position as an events coordinator, you might consider including something similar to the following:
A detail oriented, computer literate individual who enjoys coordinating events, planning activities and scheduling calendars; a go-getter who works hard until the job is done well.
Highlight your career experience
Name the companies you’ve worked for, the dates you were employed, and the city, state and job title. Naturally, you should explain your responsibilities in detail, but use bullet points instead of long paragraphs. If you were to apply for a position as an office manager, list a minimum of four bulleted points that relate to your responsibilities. One of those bullets might read as follows:
Primarily responsible for answering phones, setting appointments, writing letters, responding to client inquiries and greeting visitors; consistently acknowledged for special skill in helping individuals feel at ease during visits.
Share your hobbies and interests
This isn’t necessary, but, on occasion, hobbies and interests open doors to conversation during interviews.
Include memberships and associations
Memberships show a potential employer that you’re involved in your field of expertise.
The First 30 Seconds!
The first few seconds of your online presentation are the most critical. You’re attempting to convince viewers that you have what they want, so convey your expertise proudly. Ideally, your presentation should be no longer than a page, but in today’s market, a one-page resume might suggest that you don’t have enough experience. On the other hand, you don’t want your bio or resume to be boring or too long, either. Striking a balance is the key.
Should You Get Help?
Writing about ourselves can be a daunting task, as it can seem self-promotional or arrogant. But there is a way to express yourself honestly without appearing arrogant or conceited: tell the truth. When information is conveyed honestly, it never appears smug. If you find it difficult to write about yourself, consider having a professional prepare your presentation. It’s often much easier for an outsider to be objective about your experience, and to present it in the best light.