If you’ve reached the point in your life where you’re applying for jobs and making headway in your career, networking online, or setting up a business, the chances are, you’ve needed to write a professional biography. This can be a daunting task. Writing about ourselves and focusing on our strengths doesn’t always come easy, and neither does making it captivating enough to draw in the reader.
Take a look through our article on how to write a professional bio, with top tips for what to include and detailed examples for inspiration.
What is a professional bio
A professional bio is a short introduction or summary about you and what you can offer. Its purpose is to sell you as a professional in whatever capacity you are using it for. Typically, you can use a bio at the start of your CV, you can have a detailed bio on a LinkedIn profile, and you can present a bio to clients, employers or customers.
For your bio to be effective, it needs to be written in a way that draws in the reader, giving them all the information they need to know about you in a professional capacity, in a way that is engaging, clear and genuine. Think of it as your sales pitch.
You can be creative or stick to a traditional structure for your bio, but there are certain things that you may want to include:
- Your name
- Current job title
- Educational attainment
- Relevant certifications
- Area of specialism
- Skills and experience
- Previous career background
How to write a professional bio
Knowing what you need to include is one thing, but writing it can still be tricky. It has to be catchy so that the reader wants to continue to the end, and it has to give all the information needed to do you and your professional standing justice. It is a snapshot of you and your career, so you want to make sure you come across professional and qualified but also demonstrate how you stand out.
Here are some tips to help.
Give an introduction
Start your personal biography with an introduction to who you are. You can include your name and what you do currently, or a summary of your most recent years of experience. If you have a business you are representing, this can also be stated here as part of the introduction. Starting with an introduction is impactful and personal and sets the scene.
Highlight your experience
As well as introducing yourself in terms of what you do, you will do well to include some details about your current role or business, along with previous experience that brought you to this point. Think about your responsibilities, what you’re best known for, and how you got to the position you are currently in.
Avoid using phrases like “trying to” or “attempting to”, as this makes it sound like you’re not achieving the things you’re aiming for. Go with something more powerful, as you are doing it (and doing it well!)
Focus on achievements
What you do on a day-to-day basis is important, but your bio needs to show what you personally have to offer. Think about what makes you stand out, such as any awards, commendations, or anything with great results that you have contributed to personally. These need to be a focus of your bio. For example, think about using percentages to show increase in revenue, numbers to demonstrate how many people you managed or secured at an event or naming (and linking to) publications that you were mentioned in.
Show your personality
Why is what you do important to you? Why are you passionate about it? If relevant, talk about your views and mission within your field and why you love what you do. Injecting a bit of personality into your bio will help readers to relate to you and understand your goals and commitments.
Keep it short
Professional bios don’t need to be — and shouldn’t be — long. They are a snapshot of you and your career, in the context of what you’re using the bio for. Your résumé, the rest of your LinkedIn profile, website, or any further documents can add further details that don’t need to be covered in your bio. A bios length will vary depending on what you’re using it for. A résumé bio should be short, just a few sentences, whereas a LinkedIn bio can be up to 2000 characters. Generally, a business bio is expected to be around 300–500 words.
Keep it relevant
Your bio needs to be entirely relevant to whatever you’re using it for. If you are applying for a job and your bio is on your résumé, it needs to clearly outline who you are, your most relevant skills and experience, and what you’re looking to do. If your bio is to be used to show your membership to a professional organization, you need to be highlighting experience, credentials and job titles relating to that. Don’t be tempted to include everything. You are looking to show your professionalism in a certain area.
Break up the text
You want your bio to be easy to read, so break up text into short paragraphs or use bullets if you are listing skills or achievements where necessary. Short paragraphs are easier to scan and easier to take in than large bodies of text. A large paragraph can be offputting and means your bio is less likely to be read.
Tell a story
Professional bios can be boring. You don’t want that. You actually want people to read yours, so write it in a way that speaks to the reader. Rather than a stale list of achievements and a list of past positions, weave a story. Talk about where you are, how you got there, why you love what you do and why you’re so good at it but do it in a way that is engaging. People love stories and it will also help them to relate to you.
While telling stories is good, don’t make it an essay. Keep it short and sweet.
What can you offer
It’s very tempting to think about what you are looking for when you are applying for a job, or membership in an organization. Talk about your career goals and ambitions, yes, but don’t forget to make it very clear what you can offer. A future employer or customer wants to know why they should pick you, rather than what you hope to gain.
Call to action
Depending on what the bio is being used for, you may want to include a call to action. This works especially well with a professional bio on LinkedIn or a website. The call to action could be to join a mailing list, visit your website or give you a call.
Taking note of all the advice above, here are some examples of how you can construct a short professional bio. These are bios are particularly suitable for a résumé, the by-line of a guest article or a short bio on a website.
I first became interested in engineering at a young age, when I became fascinated with the mechanisms of toys and vehicles. This passion continued as I progressed through education and realized that I could study engineering and make a career out of it. Following my BA in mechanical engineering, I went on to complete a MEng and began my career with [company name] where I quickly progressed from intern to regional manager, winning employer of the year in 2021.
With 15 years of experience working in business development for successful start-ups, including [company name] and [company name], I set up [your company/business name] to incorporate my business knowledge and experience of bringing products successfully to market, with my passion for cooking. Since 2019, I have grown the business to trade in three countries, employing 50 members of staff and increasing revenue year on year by 15 percent.
With strong leadership skills, a growth mindset and a genuine interest in the industry I trade in, I have big growth plans for 2022, including new product lines, market expansion and some exciting collaborations.
My name is [your name] and I am a marketing assistant with experience in the corporate, creative and fashion industry. I completed my bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2019 with a distinction and have since completed internships and placements with [company name(s)], building my experience in events and the corporate environment.
I am skilled at building relationships with clients and using my creativity to contribute to effective marketing strategies, including the [campaign name] campaign for [company name]. I am passionate about learning and outside of formal education; I have taken a number of online courses including digital marketing, marketing and branding and influencer marketing to level up my skills.
Done right, a professional bio can be an effective tool for getting you noticed, to help you advance in your career and to outline exactly what you’re good at and what you stand for. However, it isn’t as simple as just listing your credentials. You need to make yourself stand out by creating a bio that is readable, human, relatable, and that sells you for all your relevant skills and experience.
Take time to think about your audience, what they need to know about you, and don’t be shy about including your big achievements and the experience that sets you apart.
Do you struggle writing about yourself and your achievements? Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the comments below!