Today’s digital world demands on online brand that defines and differentiates you. Conveying your distinct brand through a well written personal bio is essential in today’s competitive market. But writing your own professional bio with the right ‘message’ while still sounding authentic can be hard.
Whether you work for yourself as a freelancer, you’re employed by a large multi-national, or you sit somewhere in between – having a winning bio that’s relevant and professional is essential. It’s important for inclusion on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter but it’s also what people will often see when they search for your name – so anyone with an online presence will benefit from one.
What is a bio?
A bio is basically your professional story or brand. The information provided is similar to what’s in your resume, but it’s more condensed, possibly less formal, sometimes with some personality thrown in, and often written in the third person. The purpose of a bio is to inform the reader who you are, what you do, and why you’d be of value to them. It needs to establish credibility and trust – and work hard to develop your own personal brand – which is an important concept to understand. For more information on developing your own personal brand, see the following articles: 5 tips to build your personal brand and How to build your personal brand, or search ‘personal brand’ on our blog.
When would you need a bio?
You might be wondering where you’d use a personal bio. There are many situations when you need one including:
- As a summary on your LinkedIn profile (written in the first person)
- As an introduction posted on your personal or company website or blog
- As an inclusion in client proposals and quotations for credibility
- Submitted to organisers for potential speaking spots or included in a conference agenda where you’re presenting
- As an inclusion in a published article or document
What should be included in a bio?
This largely depends on where you’re going to use it. For example, LinkedIn has a character limit of 2000 which is pretty generous. If you’re writing a bio as a speaker for potential inclusion in a conference program, you might not be given as much space. I’d usually recommend having both a 1 page and ½ page bio and then adjust the content to suit different purposes. The information you’d start with (not all of which needs to be included in every situation) could include:
- Your name and current position
- Your recent and/or relevant experience
- Your academic qualifications
- Your credentials or other important information such as professional memberships
- Any published work or previous presentations you’ve done
- Any awards or other career honours you’ve received
- Any interesting career achievements or anecdotes
- A photo
- Customer quotes/testimonials
- Links to examples of your work
- Your contact information
How do you write a bio?
As mentioned, there are many different format requirements, and usually you’ll be given a word or character limit. Typically, you would write it in the third person (or in the first person for your LinkedIn profile), in a conversational tone. Injecting an interesting, personal or unique piece of information will make people want to learn more about you. The bio shouldn’t be too long or wordy, and using short sentences and punchy paragraphs will make it easier to read. You could include links to more detail where relevant but be careful not to cram it with too much detail, and be sure to update it often. Don’t forget to save your different versions written for different purposes. Some may be longer and more formal, while others may be shorter and more conversational.