To many, writing your own professional biography can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Which information should make the cut? How should it be presented? And where’s the fine line between showcasing your personal and professional accomplishments versus flat-out bragging?
The good news is, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you decide how to write a professional bio with finesse. In this article, we’ll give you some inspiration, including best practices and examples.
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What is a professional bio?
A professional bio is a short overview of your professional skills, accomplishments, and experience. Once you move past the general definition, you’ll see that there are many ways to write, present, and publish one.
For example, you’ll find them in third person (he, she, they) or in first person (I). You’ll find them on personal websites and company websites. You’ll find professional bios that are several paragraphs long, or just a few sentences. You’ll find them printed in books and magazines, nestled into sidebars on a webpage, and brandished across dedicated pages.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that you have a whole world of options for your own professional bio.
Components of a professional bio
Start with your name in your bio, followed by your primary roles and accomplishments. Adapt it to your specific career and audience. Here are the key elements to include in a professional bio:
Name. The foundational starting point.
Predominant roles or titles. Highlight key positions you’ve held.
Current position. Describe where you are now and your core responsibilities.
Employment history. A brief backtrack through your career milestones.
Recognized achievements. List any awards or notable publications.
Skills. Point out what you bring to the table.
Education. Mention your academic achievements and degrees.
Personal insights. Share a bit about your hobbies, family, and where you reside.
Professional bio vs. résumé: What’s the difference?
A professional bio has many of the same elements as a résumé, but the two differ in terms of style and formatting. A professional bio provides a brief, story-like overview of your major work achievements. Meanwhile, a résumé lays out a detailed map of your entire work path, usually split into sections with bullet points.
How to write a professional bio
While every bio will be different, there are some ground rules to follow to help make sure you’re covering the main bases.
1. Know your goals
Before you write a bio, it’s helpful to know where it is going to be published or placed, who’s going to be reading it, and what you want them to walk away thinking after they’ve read it. When you know these details, you’ll have more direction in terms of the bio length, the types of points you want to hit, and the best tone and style to write with.
For example, when it comes to first person versus third person, there are certain places where each is more appropriate. Your company website may be better with third person, while something like a personal website bio may require a first person POV.
Similarly, something like a company website will likely be more suited for a formal, professional tone. On the other hand, a personal bio can be a place to build a personal brand, showing more personality and using a casual and colloquial tone.
2. List out your high points
Now it’s time for the brainstorming. In this phase, you’ll write down anything and everything that might be relevant or helpful for a bio. This can include things like:
- Professional accomplishments
- Professional skills
- Any awards, recognitions, or accolades
- Current and previous job titles
- Leadership roles
- Personal details that showcase your skills, experience, and passions
- Personal interests like hobbies
You can treat this as a “master list” of sorts—keep it handy so you can reference it every time you need to write a professional bio. That way, you can come back to it and keep using it for inspiration instead of starting from scratch.
3. Write the first draft
Once you’ve got a juicy list of potential content to include, it’s time to put it all into one cohesive piece. There’s no single right way to determine the flow and order of your key points.
Generally speaking, you might start with your current work and activities, as well as “front-loading” your most impressive accomplishments and achievements. If you’ve won any awards or gotten special recognition, don’t be shy to brag about yourself.
After listing the most relevant and impressive details, move through to your general skills, experience, and background. Then you can finish off with personal details.
If you’re not particularly keen on writing it yourself, consider hiring an experienced writer to do it for you. You can send them resources like your résumé or CV, the list from step 2, and any bios you’d like them to model.
4. Ask for feedback
Send your draft to some trusted peers or mentors to see what comments they might have to offer. You might also consider hiring a professional, like a career coach or freelance writer to help give feedback.
5. Proof and revise
After drafting your professional bio, it's wise to set it aside for a short interval, whether that's half an hour or overnight. This pause lets you return with fresh eyes, ensuring that your bio accurately reflects your accomplishments and matches your intended goals.
If your narrative doesn't quite align, make the necessary adjustments. Focus on clarity and conciseness, trimming any excess information. Prioritize the most significant achievements, ensuring they take center stage.
Remember, your bio should serve as a bridge between your past accomplishments and future aspirations.
Professional bio examples
Let’s look at some engaging and effective bios for a fresh dose of inspiration.
Professional bio example #1: Personal website
On her personal website, Arianna Huffington (of The Huffington Post fame) has a great example of a short professional bio written in the third person for a dedicated webpage. It cuts right to the chase, mentioning her entrepreneurial endeavors and the 15 books she’s written.
She goes on to mention her accolades, like being named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine, as well as listing the books that became instant international bestsellers.
Professional bio example #2: LinkedIn
In this example, entrepreneur Jordan Hall starts his first-person LinkedIn bio with some storytelling, explaining a university fascination that ultimately shaped his career trajectory. He mentions his roles working for and co-founding organizations that have disrupted their industries and contributed positive change. It ends with a link to his writings on Medium.
Professional bio #3: Company website
Heifer International is an organization working to end hunger and poverty by supporting local farmers globally. In the professional bio of its president and CEO, Surita Sandosham, the company uses third person to explain her decades of leadership and experience with humanitarian organizations and nonprofits.
It goes on to list her education and more career background. It ends with a link to her Twitter account, where you can continue to learn about her and what she’s working on.
Professional bio template ideas
Writing a bio is an essential aspect of personal branding and professional networking. Here are some bio templates to get you started, structured in different formats and styles:
Third-person short bio templates
- [NAME] is the [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY]. Passionate about ____, ____, and ____, he/she brings extensive experience from the ____ industry. During off hours, [NAME] enjoys ____ and ____.
- Based in [Location], [NAME]'s notable contributions are in ____ and ____. Leading ____ at [COMPANY], in his/her free time, [NAME] can be found ____, ____, or ____.
First-person short bio templates
- Hi, I’m [NAME], the [Job Title] at [Company] in [Location]. My day involves ____, ____, and ____. After work, I often ____ or ____. Connect with me on Twitter: @YourHandleHere.
- For many, ____ might be routine. But for me, [FIRST NAME], it's been my passion for [Number] years. Now at [Company] as a [Job Title], I work on ____, ____, and ____. I’m truly living my passion.
Third-person long bio templates
- [Name] holds the position of [Job Title] at [Company]. Before this, he/she was a [Previous Job Title 1] at [Previous Company 1] and later a [Previous Job Title 2] at [Previous Company 2]. Alongside, [Name] has collaborated with ____, ____, and ____. With a [Degree] from [School] and another [Second Degree] from [Second School], during leisure, [Name] loves to ____, ____, and ____.
- [NAME], the [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY], manages tasks like ____, ____, and ____. Aimed at ____, he/she is always on the move to improve ____ and devise ____. Previously, [NAME] worked as [PREVIOUS JOB TITLE] at [PREVIOUS COMPANY], honing skills in ____ and ____. Recognized for his/her efforts, [NAME] has been featured in ____ and ____ and has spoken at events like ____, ____, and ____.
These templates should make it easy to write your professional bio. Remember to personalize them to reflect your true essence and accomplishments.
Let your value shine through
As we’ve discussed, writing a professional bio is an essential exercise in personal branding. The important thing is that you’re focusing on showcasing the value that you can offer, the skills and experience you can bring to the table, and the things in your personal and professional life that you’re proud of.
If you can take these key points and wrap them up into an engaging and captivating piece, you’re well on your way to getting the recognition and credibility you deserve.
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