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How to Write a Biography Resume

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Whether you're being introduced as a keynote speaker or receiving an Emmy for your television success, having a biographical resume on hand will serve you well. This kind of resume doesn't take the place of a typical employment resume; therefore, keep your traditional resume handy for job hunting. Biographical resumes are useful for giving your fans, supporters and people who don't know much about you a more introspective, personal look into your life's work.

A Retrospective Look

Examine your life experiences and jot down the accomplishments of which you are proud. If your background comprises expertise in numerous areas, decide whether you want to focus on just one area or if you're open to creating a biography resume that illustrates all of your life's transitions. If someone requested that you put together a biographical resume, ask that person what she wants the focus to be. At this point, your notes needn't be in any certain format because you're simply brainstorming. Save your creative and construction skills for when you're putting together your document.

Organizing Your Life and Experiences

It might be easier to organize your list of life experiences if you classify them by decade or life stage, such as post-graduation, early career years and mid-career stage. If your experiences have taken you around the globe, consider crafting a biography that describes your life according to the geographic locations or cultures that shape your background and your professional roles. For example, if you're a photojournalist, your resume should include the locations you traveled to as well as the reason for your trips, meaning whom you photographed and why.

Creating a Framework

An outline is a terrific start, once you complete the inventory of your life experiences and accomplishments. Creating a framework for your biographical resume makes filling in the blanks much simpler. For example, your outline categories might include a chronological narrative, education, publications or performances, awards, community service or civic groups and so on. Your outline should fit the reason you need a biographical resume. If you're a professor nominated for an academic award, your outline should include sections for publications and presentations, as well as previous academic awards and accolades you received. Likewise, if you're a performance artist whose biography is part of your audition, past performances might constitute a critical portion of your biographical resume.

Your Writing Style

The way you pen a resume for employment differs from biography writing. A resume focused on a job search typically contains bullet points for your professional competencies. Some of the employment resume rules, however, are the same for biography resumes. For example, refrain from writing a first-person narrative. This is especially helpful if someone is using your resume to introduce you; an introduction flows better if the person reading your resume doesn't have to convert to third person during the opening remarks.

Why You Need One

Even if you aren't expecting an award at a banquet, keep a biographical resume ready in case a prospective employer wants an informal introduction. A resume like this can be especially helpful in developing a personal introduction about yourself. Of course, you wouldn't read your biographical resume line by line, but you can use it to practice so you won't omit important parts of your life.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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