Whether you’re writing your own bio for LinkedIn or a colleague’s bio for your website, the task can be more challenging than you might expect.
Most of us struggle to talk about ourselves. Even if you’re comfortable expressing your accolades and experience, you may still have questions when it comes to composing your business-related bio. The following are just a few queries that could enter your mind as you sit down to write about yourself or a colleague.
- Where do you begin? At birth, college, your first job?
- What is the best length of your bio?
- How personal should you get? Should you mention your family, your hobbies, your civic associations?
The dreaded short answer to all the questions above is “it depends.” Context is key.
The two primary factors
You need to consider the medium and your audience as two primary factors in determining everything from length to style.
Before you can begin writing a bio, know your character limit, if any. Social media accounts and printed materials, like brochures, will have defined spaces for this information. Your website, if you haven’t had it designed yet, will more likely have a more open word limit.
You should also think about your audience. If you are in a profession that is generally more conservative, such as financial planning or the medical field, you may want to avoid getting very personal with your bio. For those who work in more creative fields or with whom a potential client would want to feel a connection, like a real estate agent, adding hobbies, family facts, or other extracurricular details may be appropriate. You also want to think about your company’s branding and your own comfort level with sharing about yourself, as well.
Tips for writing bios
Now that you’ve decided the length and tone, you can begin to work on the actual writing. If you’re drafting a bio for a colleague, you’ll need to gather the necessary information.
Is it a short, straight-forward bio? Then you can likely use your co-worker’s LinkedIn profile or resume as your sole source of information. For anything longer or more detailed, compose a list of questions that will help you collect everything you’ll need. Your questions could include:
- What inspired you to enter into your career?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- What is your personal mission?
- Do you have a favorite quote?
- Tell me briefly about your family (spouse, children and their ages, pets).
- What do you like to do after work or on weekends?
- Do you belong to any civic organizations or professional associations?
You can either email the list to your colleague or ask the questions in person. The former may be easier for both of you, as your colleague will have more time to think of responses, and you won’t have to take notes or record the interview.
If you’re writing your own bio, try answering the same questions to get you started. This tactic can also make it feel less awkward to write about yourself.
For more inspiration and ideas, read the bios of other colleagues, competitors, and friends. Once you’ve completed a first draft of your bio or your colleague’s, have someone else read it. It’s always a good idea to have a second set of eyes on anything you’ve written so that you can catch any typos. Of course, the colleague whose bio you write should review it for accuracy, along with any spelling errors.
Extra tip: Usually bios are written in third-person. Depending on how formal or casual your business is, you would refer to the subject of the bio by last name or first name on subsequent references. For example, a formal bio could read, “Joe Smith is a certified public accountant. Mr. Smith works with small to mid-sized businesses.” A more casual one could say, “Maria Rodriguez has been an interior designer since she received her first dollhouse at age 7. Maria describes her aesthetic as beach chic.”
Business bios are a great way to showcase your expertise and, perhaps, your personality. Enjoy writing yours using these tips. If you find you need more assistance, contact us for guidance or to write the content for you.
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