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March 19, 2019 Adrian Zee

How to make your professional bio the best in the biz

At the forefront of your personal brand is your bio. Take the time to get it right.

Similar to how a Mercedes can ignite thoughts of luxury, your personal brand ignites certain words and phrases in the minds of others. And at the forefront of your personal brand is your bio. Whether it’s for your business’ website, LinkedIn, or Facebook page, a bio or “about me” is the standard elevator pitch of the digital world.

In this article, we go through how to dial up your personal brand by making your bio the best it can be.

The Basics

It’s obvious that your bio should be about yourself, but what exactly should you include? This ultimately depends on the goal of your bio, but a few things remain constant.

Start with your current career position and what you did before your current role. Mention the brands or companies that you’ve worked with or worked for and include any accomplishments that you’ve made in those roles. Don’t get too far into the weeds, but provide a skim on what you’re about.

Tip: The ideal bio is under 250 words.

Next, mention your values and what you’re interested in and passionate about. Mention character traits such as integrity or perseverance and how these traits translate into your passions. As a finishing touch, include interests outside of your career such as sports, music, and hobbies. This can add a human touch to a professional brand. A hint of humour doesn’t hurt either.

Include a call to action. If you’re searching for a job, suggest that people reach out if they’re looking for their team’s next superstar. You could also list the types of people you’re looking to connect with and leave an email address so that they can contact you.

Overall, make sure you’re honest and humble (but not too humble). You don’t want to say that you’re the top salesperson at your company when you’re not. But you also don’t want to undersell yourself.

This guy is definitely overthinking his bio.

Finding a fit

Every industry has a different take on professionalism. A bio from a tech startup manager likely differs from a corporate financier. The tech startup manager may use more casual words or slang, contractions, and a first-person voice. In contrast, a corporate financier may include more formal words, no contractions, and a third-person voice. Make sure you’re matching the tone to your industry, as well as the platform you’re using.

A bio also varies depending on the platform you’re writing for. While your personal website provides unlimited space, a social media site such as LinkedIn only provides 600 characters and Instagram only provides 150 characters for a bio. Of course, it’s always better to keep it short and to the point (250 words or less) but some platforms will force you to make it even shorter.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

Having proper grammar and spelling is critical to a good bio. A typo or an awkward sentence can destroy your credibility (especially if you’ve included attention to detail as a skill).

Go beyond reading to yourself in your head. Read it out loud. Have a friend, coworker, or spouse read it over. Print out your bio and go over it with a red pen, or use the text-to-speech function on your computer to hear your computer read it out loud. Proofreading in different ways can ensure that it’s typo-free, and there are no awkward phrases.

Example of a great bio

B2B Marketing leader with experience building out email and content marketing campaigns. I’m currently expanding pipeline at Company XYZ. Previously, I was the marketing director at ABC company, where I managed a multi-million-dollar campaign which expanded our market share by 9.2 points. I also sit on the board of QWE charity, a non-profit which helps the homeless find safe refuge. During my time on the board, QWE charity has helped over 2,000 homeless Canadians find a place to sleep.

I’m driven by my faith in hard work and perseverance. These two qualities are the cornerstones of my success in the marketing and non-profit sectors. When I’m not hard at work planning Company XYZ’s next campaign or serving hot meals with QWE charity, I enjoy margaritas on the beach and spending time with my two daughters (ideally not at the same time!). Happy to connect with anyone interested in all things marketing and non-profit. Feel free to reach me at ASD@QWE.com.

Now that you know what to include and how to write it, go ahead and perfect that bio.

Adrian Zee

Adrian Zee is a freelance writer and a student at Osgoode Hall Law School. Previously, he studied management and writing at Western University and worked in the data & analytics industry. Adrian is also a part-time food writer and photographer at DailyHive/DishedTO.