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What is a Bio and Do I Need One?

A professional bio or sometimes called a bio profile or profile is a concise biography to highlight your career and academic accomplishments. Beyond your education and work history, write about how you are exceptional in your field. This includes major achievements, awards, remarkable projects, and expertise relevant to your bio readers. Examples of purposes might include website or promotional materials relative to speaking engagements, articles, books, your employer, professional association, networking groups, social media, and applications for graduate school, board of directors, or certain professional societies.

Here are a few suggestions for writing a bio.

1.) Keep it short. Readers will appreciate a brief bio. The shorter your bio, the greater likelihood people will read it. Write with vibrant words and an active voice. For some audiences, it is alright to include a humorous line. Know your audience well enough so that you strike the appropriate tenor and attitude. Unlike a resume, most bios are written in a third person perspective. Paragraphs with four to six sentences, each focused on one subject are effective.

2.) Begin with summary to introduce yourself in the context to the purpose or target audience for your bio. State who you are and what you do in the first paragraph. This includes your title, company name, and any other information that identifies you professionally.

3.) Create a theme that flows throughout your career. Find a way to tie it all together.

4.) Showing a personal side is important, however, in a professional bio you want to stay within a boundary of what would be appropriate to share in a professional setting. For example, you might share about a person that has inspired you. Perhaps a challenge in your life spurred you to succeed. It is also alright to include a couple of lines about your volunteer work, community leadership, and non-controversial personal interests.

5.) Bios are most impressive when grounded in facts. Accomplishments will build your credibility. Know your audience so you know the aspects of your career that are important. Quantify your results. Use numbers to show how you save time and money, and how you earned money. If you feel uncomfortable boasting, insert quotes from a distinguished colleague or industry influencer.

6.) A headshot will help the reader form a connection to you.

7.) There are some things to avoid. Mistakes include writing a bio that is too long to maintain the reader’s interest, not focusing on the target audience, adding content that is inappropriate for the purpose, and using terms that are too technical or acronyms that are not understood by the reader.

8.) Conclude your bio with your contact and social media details.

If you have questions about writing your bio, contact me. I would be happy to help.

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