What’s the first thing you do when you hear about somone in your industry? If you’re like me, you Google them. You check out their Twitter, LinkedIn, and website, if they have one. And on all of these, you read their bio. This illustrates why your bio is so important. And it is why you need to know how to write a bio that works for your career and personal branding strategy.
Why You Need to Know How to Write a Bio…
In previous posts, we’ve discussed how to use LinkedIn for personal branding and how to write a resume — and your bio is just as important to your strategy as those other tools.
Your bio is your introduction to the world. You never know who is going to stumble upon and read it — it could be your future employer, client, or even investor. This makes it even more important that you take the time to craft a bio that works for you even when you’re not there to represent yourself.
With a growing emphasis on online personal branding, there are many places where a good bio helps you to stand out.
How to Write a Bio for Different Platforms
Here are a few places where your bio can really shine…
- Twitter — This social media platform offers each user up to 160 characters to write their bio. Because of this, you will have to get to the point quickly and share as much as you can in a concise way.
- LinkedIn — This professional social network offers you a chance to express yourself and share your background in your profile’s About section. There is a 2,000 character limit, which gives you a lot of space to share your story.
- Your Website — If you have a professional website for your personal branding strategy, then you might already have an About Me section. This is a great place to go into as much detail as you need and explain your career background.
Now we’re going to delve into some tips. These are not just tips on how to write a bio about yourself. These are also tips for personal branding in general.
How to Write a Bio About Yourself That Gets Real Results
1. Lead with the Important Things
You don’t want to make people hunt down your important details — mainly, your name, job title, and responsibilities. Write these within the first sentence or two of your bio.
What if you are not currently working with a company? That doesn’t matter. You can still list your job title and responsibilities, whether that is your past job title or even one that reflects a recent career pivot or change. You might even include a list of your skills and achievements, which will showcase your experience.
2. Choose the Right Tone for Your Bio
Your tone will largely depend on your audience, as well as your overall personality. And your tone can take virtually any form. The tone of your bio could be funny, serious, formal, quirky, conversational…or any combination that suits you.
Not sure where to begin? Look at bios from others within your industry, take note of what you like, and use that as inspiration. Play around with words until you get the tone that you want.
Start writing your bio on the platform where you are most comfortable and know your audience well. You can then use that as a starting-off point for your other bios.
3. Showcase Your Personality
Once upon a time, professional bios were all business — you talked about your career achievements and that was it. But those days are long gone. Nowadays, a splash of personality in your bio makes you more relatable and authentic.
How do you add personality to your bio? Create it to reflect who you are. This could mean weaving humor into your bio. It could also mean adding personal details, such as your interests outside of work, your hometown pride (Go Red Sox!), and even some of your family life.
This kind of personality in your bio will make you more of a real person in the eyes of your audience. It also has the advantage of helping you to stand out and stick in people’s minds long after they read it.
4. Brag About Yourself
Your mother may have told you growing up that nobody likes a show-off — and in most cases, that holds true. But one of the few exceptions is your bio. Here, people expect to hear about your accomplishments. They want to know what makes you different and even what makes you better than others in your industry.
If you are writing a longer bio, you will be able to go into detail about your accomplishments and accolades. If you are writing for a platform like Twitter, where space is at a premium, you will need to be more concise.
Either way, a list of your accomplishments adds to your credibility and trustworthiness as an expert in your industry.
All this being said, you also need to balance your bragging with a good dose of humility.
If you have the space, you might use expressions like, “I’ve had the privilege to…” or “I learned a lot from…” — such phrases help people to see that while you’ve accomplished a lot in your career, you are also conscious that it is in part due to your circumstances. This kind of humble acknowledgement can go a long way in building a rapport with your audience.
5. Show Instead of Tell
One mistake that I see among professionals is the tendency to simply list their qualities and expertise in their bio. For instance, they might describe themselves as hard-working, organized, an expert in marketing, or a thought leader in the B2B space.
But these are just words. A truly effective bio shares the actions that back up those words.
What do I mean?
Let’s look at an example. Instead of just saying “I am hard-working”, you might say, “In my previous position, I was known to be the first one there in the morning and the one to turn the lights off as I left.” The second example shows what a hard worker you are and what kind of hard work future employers or clients can expect.
Let’s take another example. Instead of just saying “I am an expert in marketing”, you might say, “During my time as CMO of XYZ Company, I helped to boost email opens by X percent and increased lead generation by Y percent.” The second example gives real, tangible evidence and numbers that show your expertise — and you never had to tell them what kind of expert you were.
Look for real-life examples of your qualities and skills, and work those into your bio.
6. Be a Storyteller
Don’t just provide a dry list of your accomplishements. Otherwise, you run the risk of boring and losing your readers. Instead, use the space in your bio to draw your audience in by telling a story.
Take that list of accomplishments and think about how you got them. Ask yourself…
- What challenges did I face?
- How did I feel when I received them?
- What path has my career taken throughout the years?
- What am I most proud of and why?
These simple questions can tease out important details in your story.
Why use storytelling in your bio?
Because storytelling brings you to life, makes you more relatable to your audience, and helps them to connect with you.
And storytelling doesn’t have to be a long-winded recitation of your life. Stick to the high points of your career that have gotten you to where you are now and weave in pertinent and interesting details that enhance your story.
7. Avoid Third Person
A few years ago, it was a popular practice to write a bio in the third person — i.e., “Jane Doe attend XYZ University” or “She is the founder of ABC Enterprises”. But this has become an outdated practice.
Instead, use the first person — I, me, my — to tell your story. This helps your bio to be more personable and conversational. People feel like they’re getting to know you, not a mystical, Jane-Doe-esque creature.
8. Update It Regularly
As a professional, you are no doubt going to grow and expand your expertise. New technologies inevitably come out, new insights and trends emerge, and roles evolve. It’s part of life.
And your bio needs to reflect all of these changes. So as professional and career changes happen, update your bio so that it is the most recent snapshot of you as a professional.
9. End with a Call to Action
Your bio is a valuable part of your personal branding strategy — so treat it like one. This means using this space to convert your readers and visitors.
What do I mean by “convert”? This means to move them to take the next step and engage further with your personal brand. And a call to action is an encouragement for people to take that next step.
There are a variety of calls to action that you could use. For example, here are a few popular ones…
- Join my email list.
- Download my free infographic / ebook.
- Visit my website.
- Follow me on LinkedIn / Twitter / another social network.
- Buy my book.
- Email / Call me.
And there are many more possibilities, depending on your strategy and business. But this is valuable space and you do not want it to go to waste.
10. Ask Others to Review It
Sometimes we have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees when it comes to our professional bio. We spend so much time writing and obsessing over it that we lose our objectivity.
This where another persona comes in handy.
So, ask a friend, family member, or colleague to review your bio. Ask them for their first impressions, whether it reflects well on your career, and to offer suggestions on how to improve it. You might be surprised by what insights you can glean from others who know you well.
Now You Know How to Write a Bio
Now, I hope this has helped you to understand how to write a bio about yourself, but also glean some tips for personal branding along the way. I am excited to see how you implement these tips in your own bio!