How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Professional Bio

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This article was written in 2009 and remains one of our most popular posts. If you’re keen to learn more about self-promotion and marketing, you may find this recent article on getting recognized of great interest.
There seems to be a divide in opinion about whether or not a résumé is necessary for a freelancer or business owner. But one thing is certain; all professionals should have a great biography.

Biography Basics

A professional bio is simply a story-based version of the information you would typically include in a résumé. The format is less formal, and it gives you an opportunity to highlight some interesting facts about yourself while injecting a little of your personality. The main goals of a bio are to give the reader an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, to establish expertise and credibility, and to qualify your experience and background. All of these elements combine to develop trust in you and your brand. Even if you maintain a current résumé, there are many situations when you will need a bio, including:
  • Posted on your website and blog
  • Included in your marketing materials
  • Provided with proposals to clients
  • Submitted for speaking, presenting or teaching applications
  • Included in any books, ebooks, reports or professional documents you develop

What to Include in Your Bio

One of the great things about a bio is the flexibility. You can include as much or as little information as you want. Typically, most bios include:
  • Current job, business or professional experience
  • Publications or presentations you have completed
  • Professional memberships you currently hold
  • Awards, honors and certifications you have received
  • Your contact information
You can personalize your bio even more by including elements such as a photo of yourself, your educational background, quotes or testimonials from clients, and links to examples of your work.

Tips for Writing a Great Bio

There are many formats you can use to write a great bio, but there are some universal elements you can use to make it more effective. Typically, your bio should be written in the third person, using “he/she” instead of “I.” Presenting your bio as if someone else wrote it for you provides a distinction from you and the writer (even if it is understood that it is the same person). The third person also enhances the professionalism and makes people more willing to trust what is being said. Make your opening attention-grabbing to draw the reader in and make them want to learn more about you. And using a conversational voice will make it easier for your readers to follow along. Don’t be afraid to include some personal or unique information about yourself at the end of your bio, and use a tone that reflects you and who you are throughout. You’ll want to keep your bio as short as possible, only including the information that needs to be included. Split it into short paragraphs to make it easier to digest and include supporting information in the form of links, whenever possible. Once you have a bio you’re comfortable with, remember that it’s not set in stone. You’ll want to modify and update it periodically to reflect changes and to keep it fresh. It’s also a good idea to create a few different versions – an abbreviated version, a long version, and even copies that are appropriate for different audiences. Do you have a bio? How do you use it in your business? If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll love Learnable; the place to learn fresh skills and techniques from the masters. Members get instant access to all of SitePoints’ ebooks and interactive online courses, like Build a Successful Web Design Business. Image credit: Geri-Jean Blanchard Comments on this article are closed. Have a question about content? Why not ask it on our forums?

Frequently Asked Questions on Writing a Professional Bio

What are the key elements to include in a professional bio?

A professional bio should include your name, current job title, company or professional affiliation, and a summary of your professional experience and achievements. It should also include your skills, areas of expertise, and any relevant certifications or awards. Personal details such as hobbies or interests can also be included to give a more rounded picture of who you are.

How long should a professional bio be?

The length of a professional bio can vary depending on its purpose. A short bio for a company website or social media profile might be 100-200 words, while a more detailed bio for a job application or professional conference might be 500 words or more. It’s important to keep your bio concise and to the point, focusing on the most relevant and impressive details.

How should I structure my professional bio?

Start with your name and current position, then move on to your professional experience, starting with the most recent. Highlight your achievements and skills, and end with personal details or a call to action, such as inviting readers to contact you for more information.

How can I make my professional bio stand out?

To make your bio stand out, focus on what makes you unique. This could be a particular skill, experience, or achievement. Use active, engaging language and avoid jargon or buzzwords. Include a personal touch, such as a hobby or interest, to make your bio more relatable.

Can I use humor in my professional bio?

Humor can be a great way to make your bio more engaging and memorable. However, it’s important to keep it professional and appropriate for your audience. Avoid jokes that could be offensive or misunderstood, and remember that humor can be subjective.

Should I include personal details in my professional bio?

Including personal details can help to humanize your bio and make you more relatable. However, it’s important to keep these details relevant and professional. For example, you might mention a hobby that relates to your profession, or a personal achievement that demonstrates a particular skill.

How often should I update my professional bio?

It’s a good idea to review and update your bio at least once a year, or whenever you have a significant change in your professional life, such as a new job or a major achievement. Keeping your bio up-to-date ensures that it accurately reflects your current skills and experience.

Can I write my professional bio in the first person?

While third person is more traditional for professional bios, writing in the first person can make your bio feel more personal and engaging. It’s a matter of personal preference and what feels most comfortable for you.

What should I avoid in my professional bio?

Avoid being too self-promotional or exaggerating your achievements. Be honest and authentic, and focus on providing useful information rather than selling yourself. Avoid jargon and buzzwords, and keep your language clear and simple.

How can I use my professional bio effectively?

Your bio is a powerful tool for showcasing your skills and experience. Use it on your LinkedIn profile, your company website, and any other professional platforms where you have a presence. You can also use it when applying for jobs or speaking at conferences. Remember to keep it updated and relevant.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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