People are checking you out online. And these “people” include recruiters.
To get their attention, you need a well-written bio that reflects who you are professionally. Think of your bio as a written version of your “elevator pitch”.
If you don’t have a professional bio, or if it has been acquiring electronic dust in a folder, it’s time to create or update it.
Many of us avoid bios altogether because writing and updating them can be tedious and laborious. Personally, I’d rather fold laundry or sweep the garage. By keeping some basic pointers top of mind, however, you’ll have a concise, eye-catching bio that enhances your professional personal brand.
To make it easy, here are 6 must-haves for a compelling professional bio…
Tell a Short, Compelling Story
A bio is your promotional summary. It is written in the 3rd person and often includes impressive job titles, recognizable organizations or clients, a photo, certifications, press/media highlights, and/or awards. In contrast, resumes and CVs are a detailed history. You don’t need dates, specific job responsibilities and detailed facts in your bio … save those for your resume/CV.
Create a Few Versions
One bio won’t cut it. You’ll likely need a longer version (3-4 paragraphs) for websites or job/project considerations. A medium-sized version (1 paragraph) is useful for speaking engagements, when you’re featured in the media or at the end of published content as an author summary. You’ll also want a mini bio (1 sentence) for online and social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Know Your Audience
What you choose to include will also change depending on who’s asking for your bio or who it will be shared with. Highlight the accomplishments and roles that are most relevant to the audience. For example, some of my bios lean heavy toward the corporate roles and clients I’ve served, and others emphasize my work with start-ups and small businesses.
Stay Away from Buzzwords
Any person in any field should read your bio and know what you do. Strip your bio of jargon, consultantese, and non-words. “Framework”, “deliverables”, “proactive”, “synergize”, “impactful” and “win/win” should be deleted immediately.
Keep It Current
Bios are not static. Review and update your long version every 6-12 months to be sure it includes any new accomplishments. If your long version is up-to-date, it’s easy to revise the shorter versions.
Yes, bios are a professional summary but there’s nothing wrong with infusing a little personality. Include a picture (a professional headshot is preferable). Mention your hobbies. Provide your contact information so the audience/readers know how to get in touch with you. Give people a sense of who you are as a human.
In the end, your goal is to represent yourself as a strong, consistent brand that tells the story of your unique ability to contribute. Have a little fun. Be a little different. And create a compelling professional bio.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at PeopleResults!