What is a professional bio?
A professional bio is an overview of a person or a business designed to provide concise and relevant information to employers and/or customers. Think of it as your first impression and the way you show your value.
Professional bio style and format
There are a lot of things to consider when you write a professional bio. There are some general rules to follow which are important to reflect your professionalism. A poorly written bio can do a lot of damage to your brand and your image by starting off with a bad impression.
Now, one thing that I feel is important and not mentioned often enough when people talk about professional writing is that while rules are important, that doesn’t mean we can’t adjust them. You can find guides to to writing your bio and even templates that follow an exact format and structure. The thing is, your professional bio should be unique and not a cookie cutter document.
The way I look at it, you are trying to distinguish yourself from the competition, so why would you want your bio to look just like every other one your audience sees? Also, the style depends largely on your specific business or brand. The tone of your writing reflects the way you or your business interacts with others.
Here’s an example. Professional bios are written in third-person. This is one of those rules. A high-level executive bio written in first-person is a bit of a red flag. However, let’s say you are an entrepreneur providing a service directly to customers. Sometimes in this situation, a more friendly first-person approach is a better option.
There are several structural “rules” for writing a professional bio, but I would argue that there is one central rule which is also your first step in planning a bio. Understand what you want. You have to know your audience, what you want to communicate to them, and how to present it.
Professional bios for job seekers
There are many reason’s you may be looking to create a professional bio. For example, you probably want to make a great impression when seeking or applying for a job. A lot of jobs don’t ask for a bio. Most of us are used to applications, resumes, and interviews. Those are pretty standard. So some people find themselves in a situation where an employer wants to see a bio and they don’t know where to start. It’s always difficult to write about yourself. This is even true for professional writers. Add the fact that it can be hard to decipher what individual employers are looking for and a bio can be daunting. This is all the more reason why, if you work in a professional industry, you should give a lot of thought to your bio and what it says about you.
Professional business bios
A professional business bio is extremely important for start-ups and entrepreneurs. not only does your bio tell your target customers who you are and what you do, but the quality of your bio determines how much faith your audience will have in you based on that all-important first impression. Think about it in terms of competition. The big guys don’t need to tell people who they are. Do you need an explanation of Walmart or Amazon? I’m going to bet that you already know what they do. Now, let’s say you open a shop that deals in fair-trade handmade products that you won’t find at either of those places. That’s great, but you are now in competition with them. The good news is, you offer something they don’t. That means you don’t have to compete for the exact same customers and you don’t have to compete with the big guy’s prices for the same products. The bad news is that nobody knows who you are. You are really competing for visibility. This is where marketing comes in. This is also where your business bio is crucial. Your bio shows your value by telling what you offer that the other guys don’t.
How long should a Professional bio be?
The length of a professional bio is something that comes up a lot. There is no simple answer because it depends on your specific needs. What I will say is that the least words you can use to effectively cover the important stuff is going to be your best bet. Your bio needs to be detailed enough to paint a clear picture, but if you are using a lot of fluff to fill a page, it will definitely hurt you.
I have written hundreds of bios for individuals and businesses and I would say the majority fall in the 150-word range. Thats about two paragraphs. that is generally enough to deliver a clear and concise bio. Ive also written many in the 325-word range wbich is pefect for people with a lot of history to cover. Rarely do I write a bio over 400 words.
What should be included in a professional bio?
This is another area that gives people a headache. Let’s say you’ve worked for 35 years for 12 different companies, volunteer with the local soup kitchen, and like to paint in your spare time. Well, work experience is important, volunteer work demonstrates your character, and professional bios often include something personal about the person like hobbies to create a full picture. Still, you are going to need to make some cuts. The best way to determine what’s important is to think from the viewpoint of your target audience. If your bio is going to land on the desk of an accounting firm and you have ten years of experience as a CPA, they will want to see that more than your summer job at the dog groomers when you were 16. Here’s a tip, remember three words: Clear, Concise, Relevent.
Do I really need a bio?
Do you need a bio? I’m going to guess that the answer is yes. I doubt that you would have made it this far through my less than exciting article if you don’t have a reason to be looking for information on how to write a professional bio or why you need one. With that said, you still might not be sure what your next step should be.
If you are interested in having your bio professionally written for you, or maybe a consultation to determine the best way forward, I’m including a link below to my bio writing service on Fiverr. Send me a message on Fiverr mentioning this post and I’ll give you a super special awesome discount too.