How to Write a Professional Bio and Why You Should Have One
Writing a professional bio can help you in a variety of ways as you grow your career. Like writing a resume, it can feel overwhelming, but if you follow a simple formula, you can create one with ease.
What is a professional bio?
A professional bio tells people who you are and what you do, and there are three common lengths: long, short, and very short (micro). A long bio can be up to one page, and it most likely lives on your website. A short bio is a paragraph and can be used multiple places, including as a summary on your resume and on career-focused social media, such as LinkedIn. A very short (micro) bio is one to two sentences you can use to introduce yourself on a call, when giving a presentation, or on social media sites such as Twitter.
Why should you write one?
You can assume any time you apply for a new position or connect with someone in a professional capacity, they are looking you up online. Having a bio helps establish your brand and credibility, and it takes the facts that are in your resume and gives them plot and story.
To put yourself in the best position for later, start with writing a long version of your bio.
How do you write a professional bio?
Before you start, decide whether you’ll be writing in first or third person, and remain consistent throughout. It’s more common to have your professional bio written in third person, but if you plan to use your bio in a more informal way, it’s fine to write in first person.
One thing to keep in mind—it can feel a bit more natural to write about accomplishments in the third person because you can mentally separate yourself from feeling like you’re bragging about how amazing you are. If you plan to make two versions, it could be easier to start with writing in the third person.
At a high level, this is what you should make sure to include:
Your name, title, and the company you work for
Your full name should be the first thing in your bio, and it can be followed by either your title or the company name, whichever flows most naturally to you.
How should you write about your responsibilities?
If you’re like most people, your job description has changed over the years—think about what your main responsibilities are day-to-day, but focus on how describing those responsibilities can show the reader the skills and expertise you bring to the table. Do you manage a successful team? Do you excel at connecting with clients? Are you often asked to QA new technology? Write about the responsibilities that help the reader see who you are.
How should you write about your major, quantitative accomplishments?
Talking about your responsibilities should lead easily into pointing out a few of your most impressive accomplishments. And if possible, make them quantitative. Have you increased engagement by 35 percent? Have you created new training materials that have helped decrease the time it takes to onboard new employees? Have you maintained consistent profit margins? Did you build a new division within your company? Write in a way that allows you to use numbers and/or show the reader very clearly what you’re most proud to have achieved.
How should you write about what makes you tick?
What are your values? What would your personal mission statement be? What drives you in your professional life? Is it the connections you make with people? Is it seeing the big picture or is it your focus on the small details? Is it developing more efficient methods for your team? Is it problem solving? Ideally, some of those major accomplishments you just wrote about will tie into this—did you develop those new training materials because you love problem solving? Is your team successful because you are naturally drawn to mentoring?
How do you write about something that’s personal, but not too personal?
You can choose to be done at this point, or you can include something a little more personal—it doesn’t need to be too personal, but it should show some personality. Here’s where you can talk about a fun hobby, something interesting and unexpected about your family, or a cool tidbit about your background to show the reader who you are outside of work.
Once you have your master bio written, you can tailor as the situation demands and use it in many places—shorten it for the various social platforms you want to put it on, use a compressed version for your resume summary, remove unnecessary portions for specific situations, and post it in its entirety on your website. And just like your resume—keep it current!