In most situations, you’ll make a first impression in approximately seven seconds. Typically, we think of first impressions as a face to face interaction, but did you know that you can create a first impression by how well you write a bio of yourself? Bios are part of professional life. You can find them on pages of blogs and company websites, social media, and professional networking sites like LinkedIn. An effective bio has the potential to make positive impressions on prospective employers and clients, but how do you write one?
It matters what you put into it!
Think of writing your bio like putting on an outfit to interview or introduce yourself to a new group of people. You can do this by creating a list of what you’d like your bio to communicate about yourself. The first thing you want to do is state your name, job title, company name or brand statement if you’re a business owner. Unless you’re writing a bio for a company website, most bios should be written in first person. Include a brief outline of your educational background and how you got to the place you are in your professional journey. Your career philosophy or personal mission statement can give prospective employers and clients a feel for what is important to you. Other details you should consider adding are anything based on your top qualifications (awards, recognition, achievements) pertinent to your industry. If you’re a small business owner, ask yourself what your clients need to know about you to choose your services.
Finish with a sentence or two on a few personal characteristics. Instead of “I love to travel / read / cook” (literally everyone says this) consider I enjoy historical fiction novels or A dream trip for me would be to the Canary Islands or I’m learning to cook authentic Spanish tapas. Be specific and selective here – you only need to include two or three things at the very most. But finishing with this rounds out your bio and lets people get to know you as a person. However, bios include different elements and different structures depending on where they’ll be posted.
Curate, Curate, Curate
Once you have a list of what you want for your bio, take some time to consider how you can craft it into a brief narrative. People love stories; highlighting important steps of your professional life can be a fantastic way of inviting interest. However, remember that most bios operate at peak efficiency if they are short. You shouldn’t have more than 250-350 words at the most. No one will read more than that. If you have a lot of information, you will have to limit your bio based on your audience and what the purpose of the bio is (resume, LinkedIn, website, etc). Regardless of the information you wish to communicate, you should aim to be human and authentic. Avoid excessive formality in favor of being personable and likable, especially if you are dealing with younger professionals or clients.
Bios are a professional specialty! Do you need another eye when crafting your bio? Set up a consultation.