As a leader in business, knowing the skill of writing a professional Bio is critical to getting you noticed, increasing your visibility in the marketplace and getting you hired.
Factors to consider when writing your Bio
- Be consistent: Your personal written CV; online CV’s; LinkedIn Summary and any website profiles must all say the same thing.
- Be clear: You want to communicate in simple words: who you are and what you do.
- Have 3 Bios: You need a long bio, which can go onto your website and CV; a short bio (about a paragraph; and a two-line bio can go under your byline. When deciding what information to delete in order to get to your short bio – think “elevator pitch.” If you had to tell someone in 15 seconds or less who you are and what you do – what would you say?
- Constantly update. Your bio needs to be updated every 6 months. Put a reminder on your calendar to remind yourself to do this. Have someone review your bio – it is hard to write about yourself and you might have left out some information.
- Create links to your work. If you are updating an online bio – don’t just talk about work that you have done – create links to other websites to lead the reader to the evidence.
- Use powerful verbs. Avoid speaking in passive voice. Use active voice to market yourself. This is not the time to be modest. Adopt the mindset of a public relations officer – you are marketing your own brand.
- Avoid ‘shopping cart lists’ of your tasks and responsibilities of each role. Instead, talk about the position you have held and exciting projects that you played a role in. Include a write-up about the impact you have made in that role.
- Use “I” statements. Avoid speaking about your work as if you are a journalist talking about someone else. This is your profile! Use language like “I enjoy working on projects that involve international policy.” Versus “Jay Tonio enjoys working on projects that involve international policy.”
- Have a “call to action” Your bio is a marketing tool. Someone who reads your bio should be told what are the next action steps. “Contact me if you are looking for an executive coach”
- Have a professional photo accompany your bio. Get your picture taken of yourself (ideally a head shot) with a professional photographer. Regularly update your professional picture to keep your bio relevant.