Tips for Writing a Professional Bio

No one likes writing their own bio – it’s often uncomfortable talking about oneself. In fact, for some people, the thought of writing their own bio can be paralyzing. How do you create credibility without sounding pompous? Entrepreneurs in particular are more interested in getting out there and ‘doing’ something, than talking about it. And yet, whether it’s for a website, a trade show program, a speaker’s bureau, a speaker introduction, or a newspaper article most small business owners at some point will need to write their bio. Here are some quick tips for making a daunting task more manageable.

Less is More
Keep it short. Remember this simple rule:

Bio = short. Biography = long.

If you’ve been asked for a full biography, you will be required to write something more detailed, but a bio should be limited to three or four sentences. If it's too long, people simply won't read it.   

Focus on Achievements

A bio is not a resume highlighting all your skills and experience. The purpose of a bio is to demonstrate your professional credibility and people see credibility in terms of what you’ve done - not what you are capable of doing. What are some key milestones you’ve reached with your business? Specific awards or achievements you can point to? Focus on things that you have DONE.  

Maintain Integrity

Your bio is a reflection of you. Make sure it represents you accurately. If you have a super outgoing, gregarious personality with lots of flair, don’t write a bio that makes you sound flat and boring. If you’re a non-nonsense, down-to-earth person, don’t write a bunch of pretentious fluff. When people read your bio, they should get a strong sense of who you are. People often ask whether it’s OK to include personal information such as hobbies, family status and pets. This really depends on the type of publication you’re writing the bio for, or how it’s going to be presented. If it’s for your website, stick to business. If you’re the guest speaker at a local charity event and your bio is going in the program, it may be appropriate.

Understand your Audience

Your bio is a marketing piece. Just like any other marketing material, understanding your audience is the key to making it effective. A bio for an industry-specific business conference, for example, might have a different flavour than one in your local newspaper. Tailor your bio to the industry. If you’re a tradesperson, your bio will feel different than if you’re a lawyer or an accountant.

Always Write in Third Person

Your bio should sound as though someone else is talking about you. Instead of writing "I am" and "I graduated", you write "Jane Smith is" and "She graduated." Use your full name (first and last) the first time. After that, it's up to you whether to refer to yourself by your full name, just your first name, or just your last name.

Bio Key Points

Typically, bios can include:

  • Current job, business or professional experience
  • Publications or presentations you have completed
  • Professional memberships you currently hold
  • Awards, honors and certifications you have received
  • What you’re particularly good at

You can personalize your bio by including elements such as a photograph, your educational background, quotes or testimonials from clients, and links to examples of your work. 

Examples

Here are two examples of strong bios. Both Mike and Tom are work with Your Better Business Content (www.betterbusinesscontent.com). The company’s style is energetic and casual, and reflects the personalities of its principles and staff.

  • Mike Wicks is an award-winning writer who has worked for seven major international publishers in a variety of roles. In the U.K. he was a divisional head at Random House and held the title of managing director of a specialist publishing house. He’s ghostwritten or collaborated on several books for clients and has written for some pretty skookum magazines. When it comes to publishing, he has second sight; he just knows what will work and his clients love him for it.
  • Tom Spetter is our head designer and production manager; the art guy with a great deal of vision. He may be calm, but the creativity and passion just smolders away quietly and comes out in his truly amazing work. Tom’s an award winning illustrator, a highly accomplished web designer and CMS expert. His greatest asset is his ability to listen to clients and come back to them with artwork that seems to have been extracted sub-consciously from them.

Writing a bio doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be establishing your credibility in a powerful way.

 

About Trenval

Trenval Business Development Corporation is Bay of Quinte’s Community Futures Business Specialist, financing business start-ups, expansions or successions in the Quinte region for 34 years. Trenval can help with small business support including small business funding and small business loans.

Do you have a business plan that you would like to bring to fruition? Contact Trenval at 613-961-7999.

 

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