How to Write a Professional Bio That’s Fresh and Interesting
Oh no — you were tasked with the responsibility of updating your professional bio. And now all you can do is stare at a blank page and wonder what you can possibly say about yourself.
Are you supposed to be listing your accomplishments? Should you be adding personal facts to it? And finally, what’s the point of even having a bio in the first place?
It’s not that you want to be a scrooge about having to complete this task, it’s more that you’re acknowledging how difficult it is to talk about yourself, and you’d love to know exactly what to say and why you’re saying it. Even better, you’d love to know how to write a professional bio quickly and be done with this process — you know, until it’s time to update it again.
Good news. Here, we’ll explain why you need a professional bio and how to write one that makes you stand out.
What’s the point of having a professional bio?
A professional bio clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and who you serve. There are many uses for a bio, but professionally, a few places you’ll often find them are on websites, social media pages, and brochures. Bios help to quickly introduce you to your audience and allow them to determine if you’re someone they’ll want to work with.
However, so often, people don’t know how to write a professional bio — they’re too long, too vague, too confusing, or quite simply, not relatable. When it’s time to write your own bio, just remember to be clear over clever, and keep the messaging simple and direct.
What basics need to be in a bio?
A professional bio is made up of a few simple parts: your name, your title or responsibilities, who you serve, and how you serve them. Depending on how your bio is being used, there might be more information that’s necessary to include, but for a simple bio, that’s all that’s necessary.
Here’s an example, using my own information, of a basic professional bio:
Erin Ollila is a conversion copywriter who helps small business owners share a strategic message with their ideal audience.
It’s quick, to the point, and understandable.
But…great professional bios need a bit more pizazz
A basic bio is a great first start, but depending on the way you use your bio, you might need to share a bit more information. For example, let’s say you’re going to be speaking at a conference, and the organizers ask for your bio to be included in the program, along with your presentation information. You might want to add information about what you’re speaking about, or the expertise that makes you a great speaker on this topic to your basic bio.
Here are a few other reasons why you may choose to customize your basic bio:
- A few different bios are helpful if you serve various audiences.
- You might need one for your company’s website.
- Your referral partners may ask for a quick bio to share in an email to their current customers.
- Your various social media accounts allow you to share bios of different lengths.
Sitting down to write your professional bio
When it’s time to reopen that blank page and start writing, the most important thing you can do is determine how the bio will be used before you even begin typing. If you aren’t sure, possibly because you’re writing your bio for the first time, just start simple and follow the formula I shared above to create a basic bio that you can build on over time.
Even if you know exactly how it will be used, you may be surprised to hear that my suggestion is exactly the same as above: Start with a basic bio, and then edit it to make it work for the reason you’re updating it.
Don’t try to make a pre-existing bio work for your new need. What you’ve shared in the past could be unclear, too clever, overwritten, or simply hard to understand. Starting fresh gives you a chance to say exactly what you need.
If your company is specifically asking for a bio, find out how they plan on using it before sitting down to write something new. For example, if they’re collecting new bios from all of their employees for their website, they might have a specific formula they’d like you to follow, or they may request you include specific information, like what areas you serve or how long you’ve been working in your position.
Remember, getting started is often the hardest part of writing a new professional bio. Start small, be clear, and trust the process.