A well crafted and brief professional bio has become increasingly important as most of us suffer from information fatigue and cannot be bothered to read lengthy documents about anybody. Career and marketing experts reckon your bio is the most important document you will ever write (probably along with your personal brand statement).
A bio is useful for a host of reasons such as applying for a job, publishing an article or guest blog post, general networking etc. It’s basically a great vehicle for quickly communicating who you are and what you do.
You are likely to have a bio somewhere on the Internet already. If you write a blog, it will be your About page. If you are on LinkedIn, it will be your summary. If you are on Twitter, it will be your, wait for it… Bio! These three most probably have different lengths, with the minnow being Twitter that only allows for a 140 letter bio.
As writing a professional bio is the hottest thing since sliced bread, you best get on with it and follow these simple steps to do your personal brand proud. Here are 7+1 tips:
1. Identify your purpose
Why are you writing this bio? Who will read it? You need to take some time to think about your readers and what you want them to think about you. People write anything from professional bios for getting free lance work, a comedy bio full of in-jokes for your friends or a bio for the back of their next piece of pulp fiction. Keep your audience in mind when authoring your bio.
2. Third person perspective
This is your Harry Lime moment. Your bio should sound as though it were objectively written, although it is obviously anything but. If you look at any book cover, the bio will be in the narrative mode even though the author has probably written it themselves. So instead of writing “I have lived in Switzerland and I speak 3 languages”, try “John has lived in Switzerland and he speaks 3 languages”.
3. Micro, Short and Long
You will need a micro, a short and a longer bio for different purposes. You will find that your bio will be requested in different lengths and therefore it’s advisable to keep three or even more versions. The micro bio is basically a sentence that you can use as your elevator pitch and on your Twitter profile. The short one should be one paragraph long and cover all the need to knows. The longer one adds the nice to knows and should sum you up completely. As a rule of thumb, the shorter one should be roughly a hundred words; the long one could be up to one page.
4. Start with your name
You will want to put your name in the first sentence of your bio so the reader catches on and realizes what they are reading. Just like when you are introduced to somebody, you will start with your name and then move on to pleasantries.
5. State your business
Just like a resume, you want to drop your occupation and accomplishments in there early. The reader needs to be hooked and enticed to keep reading. An example would be to write that you are an “open market sales person” and you have “increased sales by 200%” in your current position – music to the ears of any sales manager.
6. Throw in some personality
Add some flavor to your bio by including something unexpected. This can be a bit of humor or just curious information that you think people will be interested in, such as you being a fine wine connoisseur – already a topic for conversation. I am sure you have read words to this effect at the end of a bio: “and in his spare time, he really enjoys writing about himself in the third person”. A little witty twist at the end can tell a lot about your personality.
7. Contact details
End your bio with encouraging people to get in touch with you pronto. Add your contact details or hyperlink the content to ways of contacting you like your email, blog or LinkedIn profile.
Bonus: Read and rewrite
Finally, get your friends to proof your bio before you publish it anywhere. Remember that your bio is a living document and you should review it on a monthly basis. As it’s fairly short it won’t take you too long to make changes that can make or break your potential opportunity.
Your bio is getting more and more important and you should make sure it sells you and brings out your personal brand. I hope these tips have been helpful, now that you have a great bio, remember to reach out to the right people and keep tweaking as your career and business evolve.
Any questions on bios? Just leave a comment and will do my best to answer!