A bio is the story-based version of your professional life. The information provided is similar to that of your CV or Resume but the format is less formal. You are free to highlight the bits of your career you are proud of and omit anything that won’t help you. As it is a story, you can throw in interesting snippets about yourself and thus injecting some personality into your bio.
The purpose of a bio is to tell the reader who you are and what you do, listing your experience and achievements, and backing your claims up with facts and figures. All these parts will form the credibility of your personal brand.
When to use it?
Your bio can be used a across a number of situations, here are a few:
- The “About” page on your website and/or blog, visitors click on this to find out about YOU, not the version of WordPress you use
- The bio/summary/about section of your social media profiles. This is what most people will find when Googling your name. You will need a longer bio for sites like LinkedIn, a micro version for Twitter
- In any marketing materials, proposals and quotes you send out to prospective customers
- Submitted for public speaking, presenting or training pitches. Designed to give the event organizer a quick overview of what you can do and hopefully book you
- Included in any publications such as books, e-books, reports, professional documents and even guest blog posts you author
Why should you have one?
To stay professional and credible in the eyes of current and potential clients and of course potential employers. Every job seeker, career advancer and professional should develop his or her professional biography today. Whenever you email or leave a message for someone you never dealt with before, you can expect to be checked out online. Your bio is a brand building marketing tool that will entice the reader to want to contact you.
Job search, employers will definitely look at your online bio and oftentimes request it along with your CV or Resume as it is more concise than your other documents. A short professional bio has become increasingly important as most of us suffer from information fatigue and cannot be bothered to read lengthy documents about anybody.
You will need a micro, a short and a longer bio for different purposes. You will find that your bio will be requested in different lengths and therefore it’s advisable to keep three or even more versions. The micro bio is basically a sentence that you can use as your elevator pitch and on your Twitter profile. The short one should be one paragraph long and cover all the need to knows. The longer one adds the nice to knows and should sum you up completely. As a rule of thumb, the shorter one should be roughly a hundred words; the long one could be up to one page.
There is stiff competition out there and you should differentiate yourself. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have a well crafted bio that makes you unique. Your professional bio gives a quick showcase of what sets you apart. It tells whoever reading it that you are not just doing your day job to pay the rent, it’s your passion and you are proud to tell the world about it. Your bio is the foundation of your personal branding toolkit and it’s potentially the most important text you write in your professional life.
How to write one
First, you’ll want to start with a summary which states your name, basic profession and what your experience and expertise is. Second, you’ll want to add career highlights and significant accomplishments. Third, let people know what you are known for. Fourth, don’t forget your education and other credentials and fifth, feel free to sprinkle in a few of your hobbies and interests (as long as they are not polarizing hobbies!).