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The importance of having an up-to-date resume has been stressed upon most of us since our senior year in high school. After all, the resume is perceived to be the golden ticket that assists you in landing the perfect job you have always dreamed of. Though a resume plays a very important role in the pursuit of employment, it may not be the most important tool when employers seek to fill an open position.

Approximately only 20 percent of all jobs are filled via a job board postings and newspaper ads. In fact, almost 80% of jobs are filled though networking, friends, family and sites such as LinkedIn where hiring managers are more familiar with potential employees. With general statistics like this, one has to wonder if a resume is doing as much for you as you think it is.

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Most of those in the work force have added a one page professional biography to their arsenal of self-promotion and job seeking. Even if not on the market for a new job, the bio assists in informing others about the extent of your work experiences. As referenced by Jorgen Sundberg of TheUndercoverrecruiter.com, “The bio is the document that you can most leverage during your networking activities – and if networking is the key approach needed to land one of the 80% of jobs that are not filled through traditional job posting channels, and then doesn’t it stand to reason that a bio should be a more important tool? Remember, a resume is best utilized when you are applying for a specific job. A bio is best used to convey your background in a crisp narrative format before, during or after your networking meetings.”

As resumes simply highlight your work and community based accomplishments, and bios offer a more in-depth explanation of how you have utilized and implemented your skill sets, it is imperative that your bio houses intricate and detailed information to paint a better picture of what you can do. Some suggested inclusions for your professional biography include:

1) A strong introduction highlighting who you are, what you do and any additional information that states emphatically how you want to initially be perceived. This should include a professional head shot.

2) Insight into your professional and personal experiences. This includes any obstacles you have had to overcome and/or people who have played a major role in pushing you to become who you are or who you want to be.

3) A detailed description of what you have done to make your company or business better. Be certain to quantify these results so they may be easily assessed by the reviewing party.

4) Include all hobbies and volunteer work. Showing your willingness to give back to your community speaks volumes.

5) Display your personality throughout the biography. Though it has taken a while, I have learned to accept who I am in the work place and I have no issues with showing this to potential clients and employers. I want them to know exactly who they are partnering with so neither one of us is uncomfortable or unaware with how to work with each other’s personality.

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In short, the resume gives a brief synopsis of your work experiences which may draw an employer or future client’s interest at the onset. However, a professional biography allows the reader to see more of your personality, draw more information on your accomplishments and failures and also assess exactly what you are seeking to do in the future, all in your own words and tone. It may serve as a better career tool to incorporate both into not only your search for employment, but also in the edification of your brand and clientele for the future.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.


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