This is a question that comes up a lot for me. It’s funny how confident so many of us are when writing about the topics we’re most knowledgeable about, but when it comes to writing about the person we should know the most about – ourselves – we start drawing a blank.
Don’t worry, writing a personal bio doesn’t have to be daunting. Let’s break it down into manageable chunks.
Start with the obvious
No matter where your bio will appear, a company website, social media, or within a publication, you’ll need to start with a few key things:
- Your name (and in some cases your proper title e.g. Dr, Prof. etc)
- Your position/role/job
- Your qualifications or a short list of relevant things that make you qualified to speak to a particular topic e.g. previously published titles, guest speaker events, etc
For example: Dr Joe Bloggs, Senior Researcher and author of How to Write Like Joe and How to Edit Like a Pro…
Get the tone right
The tone of your bio will vary depending on where it appears. You can take a more casual tone on social media but you’ll need to take a more formal tone if it’s appearing in a company brochure.
If your bio is appearing in a publication, the tone should align with the tone of the publication, meaning you may need to edit your stock-standard bio if you have one.
For exmaple, Joe Bloggs’ bio may read like the below in his company’s brochure, but he’s also a children’s book author and the tone of his bio needs to change accordingly.
Company brochure: Dr Joe Bloggs is the author of How to Write Like Joe and How to Edit Like a Pro. He’s held several senior positions within ABC Corp. over his 10 years with the company…
Children’s book bio: Joe Bloggs lives in Sunnyville with his young family and cat Smokey. When he’s not writing about castles and dragons, he’s out looking for his next adventure…
List your key skills
Which skills you list and if you should list them at all, will also depend on where your bio appears, so stick to what your intended reader should know about you.
Is your bio appearing on the company website? Then chances are the skills or strengths that help you succeed in your current position or help your clients succeed are the ones you should be listing.
For example: Joe Bloggs is the head of our Client Satisfaction team. Joe is known for his ability to get to the heart of a client’s problem, his quick-thinking and his can-do attitude.
You’re also a star baker who blows your co-workers away with your triple-choc brownies every time? That’s awesome! But less relevant here… (unless you’re a baker…)
Highlight your achievements
Again, which achievements will depend on where your bio is going, but your standout recognition is almost always worth including.
For example: Joe Bloggs is the head of our Client Satisfaction team, awarded the ‘Happy Customer Medal’ now three years in a row…
Your achievements would be worth adding to LinkedIn, your CV, a company bio and any publications you appear in. They will help to establish you as an authority on that topic in your readers’ minds.
Read back through
Once you’re happy with your bio, read back over it, a couple of times if you have to and then get a friend to read it.
I’m still surprised how many bios I’ve come across with simple typos in them, and given a bio is usually the first thing we read before reading any further, a typo is a terrible first impression.
Of course if you just don’t have the time, need a lengthy bio, fast or would prefer a professional touch, you can always get in touch and I’ll happily write one for you.