When I was in school, I never really thought much about what my professional bio would say. Up until now, I never really needed one. Aside from the short blurb on my Twitter page (where I went to college, what I do for a living, what kind of food I like), I didn’t have a reason to write anything about myself and my accomplishments. When I started my job at JWU and was finally asked to write a short bio, I had no idea where to start because I didn’t know what the vibe was. Should it be long, formal and resume-like or should I include my love for social media and my cat? (Hint: I included both.) After writing mine and reading a few others, I realized that a carefully-crafted bio is essential to career success and can help you form your personal brand.

Why do professional bios matter?

If you execute it the right way, your bio can become a multi-functional part of your professional toolbox. It can live on your website, LinkedIn profile, blog, company page, etc. — and can also stand alone on projects that are more personal. If you use social media, you can include pieces of your bio to entice and connect with your followers. Also, your bio is a great opportunity to showcase who you are and add a little bit a personality to the page next to your professional head shot. So why not do your best to make it shine?

If you’re struggling with what to write, don’t worry! Here are four things I learned when writing my bio that can help you write yours, too:

You need to choose a point of view. When you’re penning your bio, consider which point of view would best suit your situation. If all of the other profiles on your company’s page are in third person, yours should be too. If there aren’t any rules and you’re looking to make your profile more personal, first person is a good choice because it is the best way to connect on that level. No matter what you choose, make sure to stay consistent. Don’t switch back and forth between tenses because it can easily become confusing and sloppy.

Don’t forget to consider your audience. Before writing, understand who will be reading your bio. If it’s being posted on your company’s website, choose your words wisely and maintain your professionalism throughout. If you think you’ll be posting your bio in more than one place, write a few different versions. This way, you can use the longer version for more formal locations and have a shorter blurb ready to go for social media pages and blogs.

Let your résumé speak for itself. While your accomplishments and accolades are important, don’t spend too much time describing all of them. You have a résumé for a reason! Listing all of your achievements could make you sound overly conceited — and could take up a lot of real estate on the page. Instead, describe what you love about your job or how you ended up in your current position.

Don’t be a bore. This is probably the most important tip of all. Just because you were asked to write about your professional self doesn’t mean it needs to be a long account of every single thing you’ve ever done in your career. Try to keep it as short as possible so you don’t lose any readers halfway through. Also, let your personality shine! Don’t be afraid to include interesting tidbits about your life outside of work. This will help readers connect with you on a personal level.

This post originally appeared on JWU Online’s Career Catalyst blog

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