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Published On: Thu, Jul 23rd, 2015

How to write a professional bio

 

Toyin Komolafe

Having a career biography or professional bio is a very important/ crucial step in your job search. Often times, you find potential employers requesting you to add your professional bio to your resume. Having a well written bio will save you the stress of having to write one whenever you are requested to.

When writing your professional bio, don’t just write for the sakes of writing, but rather strife at creating a vibrant, clearly written narrative of your leadership and how it aligns with your specific situation. Remember, what is worth doing at all is worth doing well!

If you are thinking of how to go about writing a professional bio, here are few steps you can follow:

Start with your name

The first sentence of your bio should start with your name so the person reading it can know it’s about you. It is just like when you are meeting someone for the first time or newly introduced to someone, you don’t first start with your objectives, then move on to pleasantries before stating your name. You will start with your name and then move on to pleasantries; this also applies to writing a bio.

Identify your purpose

The next thing you need to do is to identify your purpose or state your objectives. Your purpose should reveal to the reader why you are writing this bio, hence, you need to take some time to think about your readers and what you want them to think of you.

You have to think, what do I want to achieve? Do I want to get a job as a freelance writer in a newspaper firm or do I want to get that job as a Public Relations consultant for XXX firm? The point is that just like in any other form of writing; you will need to keep your audience in mind.

State your accomplishments

You will need to state your past achievements (on the other jobs) and reveal how it can aid this potential job. You will have to tell potential employers what you have and how it can be of benefit to their job in the future.

Your bio should show your philosophy

A professional bio gives you the chance to reflect your personality, work style into a career search document. This gives employers an insight into what motivates you. An executive biography can also spell out the reasons why your leadership approach has brought certain achievements in the past.

Write from a third person perspective

When writing your bio, you should be objective. You can explore writing in a narrative form. Instead of writing “I have lived in Lagos and I speak 3 languages,” try “Toyin has lived in Lagos and she speaks 3 languages.”

Tailor to the purpose

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 is 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 that needs to be known. The longer one is more comprehensive than the others, 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.

Keep it short and simple.
Your main professional bio, which among other things should be used for press releases and press kits, should be one or two paragraphs long, depending on how extensive your accomplishments are. You always can have a longer version of your bio available as said above, for those already interested in your work – for example, on the “about” page of your website. Just be sure to start with the main bio, then tack on any fun or quirky information in the following paragraphs, to ensure you still grab the readers’ attention and establish your expertise first thing.

Establish your credentials.
Your bio needs to make it clear why someone should trust and work with you. You know trust ad integrity sure matters in a workplace. To prepare for writing your bio, make a list of your formal and informal credentials. Formal credentials include degrees, certificates and job titles. Informal credentials refer to life experience that has positioned you as an expert in your field. You may not have a culinary degree, for example, but you may have grown up in a family of gourmet chefs. If you are a restaurant owner, that life experience is key to include in your bio.

Get a bit personal

Include personal details and a bit humour if possible. This is a nice way to get the reader to show more interest in your bio. It is also a way to get some of your personality across.

You can make statements like “When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends time reading novels, cooking and creating beautiful pieces.”

Add your contact details

Just like you write in your resume, at the end of your bio, add your contact details. If you are sending a soft copy, you can hyperlink the content to ways of contacting you like your email or your LinkedIn profile.

Proofread and revise

Hardly is writing perfect the very first time, hence you need to read over gain. When you do this, you may realise there was a piece of information you forgot to include, or a typographical error.

You may even get a friend to read your bio and give you their feedback, this is important as they may even be more objective in their approach.

Keep your bio up to date

Do not make your bio a once in a life time thing, update your bio once in a while. By doing this, you will save yourself the stress of having to write one over again whenever you are requested to.

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