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Chris LoCurto


August 2, 2011

Bio vs Resume

August 2, 2011 | By | 14 Comments">14 Comments

Here is a great question from Colin Haas sent to me on Twitter:

As a leader, I love this question. Because, really, what Colin is asking is, “How do I stand out bigger and better than anyone else in your HR inbox?” That’s the kind of Go-Getter attitude I like to see. So I want something that makes him stand out so HR doesn’t miss him when he comes through our pipeline — a pipeline that had 3,000 resumes in three months.

So is a bio better than a resume to stand out? Well, I think we first have to look at the difference between the two. Barbara Sudquist says it this way:

A bio is a short summary of the most impressive highlights of your background, whereas a resume gives a comprehensive picture of your education and work experience year by year. Both describe your background but the intended purpose, level of detail and presentation are different.

With that understanding, it makes sense to send a bio of the great things you’ve done instead of a list of jobs on a resume. However, as a leader, it’s not enough for me. If I personally saw just a bio, I would immediately think this person was very arrogant to send me something showing how great they are. I want to know more than that. I would also suspect they were hiding something if that’s all they sent.

So what I would like to see is…both! Yep, send me the resume because I want to see your work history, and I want to dig into it if I like you. But a bio would be a great opportunity to show me what else you’ve done, as long as it has something to do with impressing me in a way that makes me want to hire you. If you share how you made it to the last round of the kite surfing finals, I’m probably not going to care. But if I’m hiring for a sales position, and you won a sales competition in your local market, now I want to talk.

Keep in mind, not all leaders are as progressive as me. So if you don’t explain why you’ve included a bio, they might think it’s an action of arrogance. Let them know you added the bio to show how great a fit you’ll be in their position.

Question: Would a resume and bio catch your eye in a good way?

  • Resume writing

    I idiotically lost a job interview a couple of months ago. I applied again but they rejected it saying they have their resume on file and that I can’t apply for the job again till one year from the date of the last interview.

  • Jana Botkin

    Yes! Or, no, because then there would have been way too many. So both would have helped some of those guys have a better chance.

  • Jana Botkin

    When I was on a pastor search committee, the ones who only sent resumes didn’t interest me because I couldn’t find a personality in the list of jobs and degrees. The typos also just turned me off immediately – a terrible prejudice on my part!

    • Chris LoCurto

      I can see that. So both would have helped you?

  • medicalaccountsolutions

    You can always incorporate a Bio into a cover letter. It is a great way to make an introduction to your services, skills and expertise. Make every attempt to shine like a star!

  • Joel Fortner

    Well, good luck to you! With regard to “dead talk,” I always discount it. It’s never right. So good on you looking into whether it’s actually “dead.” It’s not. Neither are newspapers. Neither is traditional marketing. Neither are manned aircraft. Even Jesus was pronounced dead at one time. We know how that ended! =)

    • colinhaas80

      Thanks Joel and yes, very true!!! That is my ultimate role model too ;)

  • colinhaas80

    Thanks Chris! This is great!

    Joel, I never heard of it before either, but Fast Company or Inc. did an article about the resume being dead and the Bio was the way to go. So I was curious about it, cause my passions are driving me into a completely different direction from what I do and I want to stand out for that. I know my resume says one thing, but I can do so much more and want to at least be considered when that time comes.

    I love ministry/leadership/creatives….so whether the job be in a church or an organization that is helping in that sense (Dave Ramsey). What I didn’t tell Chris was I applied for a Dave Ramsey position and got denied in a day.

    • medicalaccountsolutions

      Don’t loose heart Colin! Lots of us would love to work at a company like Dave Ramsey, but they can’t hire all the good people! Keep your chin up!!! You will find the right job/employer/position just for you.

      • colinhaas80

        Thank You! Dave Ramsey was just one of the places that I was looking into and obviously for what they do and for what they teach.

  • Joel Fortner

    Yes, I remember when she shared exactly that! It’s amazing to me. Perhaps on the careers page on, “Okay, listen! We receive thousands of resumes a month, which We take as good feedback we’re running a desirable company. YOU should take it to mean that typos will eliminate you from consideration.”

  • Joel Fortner

    This is interesting because I’ve never thought about only sending a bio. A resume is a must in my eyes and a bio is a nice addition or something to include if requested. Once that’s determined, tailor your resume to the job, write the tailored bio and build in time for people you trust to be critical to proofread them. So often, people don’t do this for various reasons. A typo in a resume or bio is not just a typo. It communicates you don’t care, lack attention to detail or lack the confidence to put your work in front of others for criticism. I would never want someone like that on my team regardless of how much I may like them.

    • Chris LoCurto

      What’s funny is, I can’t tell you the number of times Marybeth brought a resume to me saying, “This person is applying for our admin position and there are seven misspelled word on their resume!” ;-)