A professional bio may be the first experience that a potential client, employer or networking prospect has with you. Your professional bio should be comprehensive and thorough, and give people a good idea of who you are and what you represent. When reviewing your professional bio, the reader should feel as though they know a great deal about you and can see the benefits of working with you. According to The Under Cover Recruiter, a bio is even more important than your resume. Why is a good bio so important?
A good bio goes beyond a resume; it describes who you are as a person, your education, your history and the way that you relate to your industry. Essentially, a bio fulfills all of the features that a resume does and more -- it can be considered a more user-friendly form of resume. Even better, a bio goes places that a resume simply does not. A resume is usually only handed out when applying to jobs, but a professional bio is given out throughout networking opportunities, on promotional materials and more.
What are the hallmarks of a good bio?
A bio is written in third-person and essentially describes whom you are. According to the American Marketing Association, the bio should show your best career achievements, define your personal brand, include any information regarding your education and credentials and provide contact information2. Often a professional bio may also include a professional image.
A solid professional biography includes the following:
- Basic information including your name and profession.
- Accomplishments throughout your career.
- The value that you bring to your industry -- what makes you unique.
- Any relevant (and suitable) hobbies or interests.
Capturing the proper tone within your professional bio is incredibly important. You don't want to seem too professional and stilted, but you also want to amuse rather than offend. You need to strike a balance between professional and playful so that you can display your unique personality in a way that is not off-putting.
How can you market yourself with a bio?
Once crafted, your bio can follow you to many networking opportunities. Accountants may find their bios posted in their Certified Public Accounting directory, while real estate professionals may have searchable bios available on their corporate site. An accountant's bio might feature their organizational skills and any professional accomplishments they have had, as well as their focus within the industry; this will give prospective clients and industry professionals a better idea of their capabilities3. Meanwhile, the real estate professional can easily be found by those looking to invest in real estate.
What should you avoid in your bio?
Apart from the things that should be present, there are also some things that shouldn't be. A bio, like a resume, benefits from being concise. It's ideal not to exceed a single page. Your bio should only highlight the best in your career and your education; the more information you put in, the more you'll lessen the impact of what is there. Further, you should avoid adding in any obvious jokes or any hobbies or interests that might be considered controversial. Remember that a bio is designed to market you as though you were a product; you want to focus solely on the good.
Creating a professional bio is absolutely essential for anyone that has a career that involves networking, whether within their industry or with potential clients. Luckily, creating a bio really isn't that difficult; if you have created a resume before, you already have the content you need to succeed, you simply need to modify it to fit a different format.
About the Author
Sandra Mills is a freelance health and career writer. She likes to help people get ahead in their lives and their careers.