Writing is difficult, even more so when you need to write about yourself. Considering how important an online presence is nowadays, a short bio is a must-have asset for everyone.
To help you with this seemingly daunting task, we've broken it down into five steps. We’ve also included a few templates and real-life examples to serve as inspiration. So, be sure to read to the end.
Your 5-step Guide to Writing a Professional Bio [+Templates]:
What Is a Professional Bio?
A professional biography, or more often simply called a professional bio, is a short blurb that summarizes your history or employment and accomplishments. In short, it is an ad for yourself. Unlike a resume, it is much shorter (it is typically only 5 - 10 sentences long) and more engaging as it also gives you the chance to share your relevant beliefs and values.
Why Do You Need One?
You would be surprised how many people actually read the bio section. Unless you are applying for a job, your resume remains “hidden” on your desktop. Though, your bio, while much shorter and condense, is out in the open for virtually everyone to see. There is a huge pool of potential clients that will read your bio, making it a piece of prime real estate that you should use to your advantage.
Where Can You Add Your Bio?
There is a number of platforms where you can add your professional bio, these include your:
- LinkedIn profile
- Instagram account
- Facebook business page
Depending on where you add your professional bio, you might need to adjust the tone and length.
Even though your own website does not restrict the number of characters you may use like most social media platforms, it does not give you a licence just to copy and paste your resume. When writing a bio for your website, you will typically write it from first-person point of view as opposed to third-person point of view which is most often the case with social media sites. As CTAs are a crucial element in effective website design, be sure to include a call-to-action sentence at the end.
When writing a bio for a social media channel, you want to be engaging, yet professional. Generally, you can avoid using full sentences to help you keep it short and within the character limit.
For LinkedIn, you can use up to 2,000 characters. Though, you do not have to use all of that, especially when you consider that most of the time visitors will not click on “See More”. So, it’s best to keep all your information, especially the most important points, above the fold. While you may use emojis on other platforms, when you are writing for LinkedIn, it’s best to avoid emojis altogether.
While Twitter has a strict character limit, it is much less formal than LinkedIn. So, you can use emojis to optimize the space available, but do not go overboard. Here, you can also include keywords in the form of hashtags that are relevant to your niche to help improve the chances that your target audience will discover your profile.
Instagram’s bios are slightly longer than Twitter. That said, Instagram bios should still be short, sweet, and savvy. Like Twitter, you can also use emojis and industry-related hashtags.
Tips and Best Practices for Creating Professional Bios
The trick to writing an effective bio is to keep it succinct, yet include all the most important information that will highlight your expertise and experience. If you will be sending out your bio, for example as part of a guest post, as opposed to posting it on a specific social media channel, it’s also a good practice to adapt your bio so that it emphasizes the skills that will best fit that specific platform or client. To help you make the most of the short space available, the following are some guidelines for how to structure your bio.
1. Include your first name and surname first
The most important thing that readers should remember after reading your bio is your name. So, ensure that this is the information that you include first.
If you are linked with any brand or have your own business name or alias, you can include this information as well after your name. To create a logical link, you can include your position or title at the business.
2. Describe the responsibilities of your position
In addition to mentioning your job title, you should also dedicate a couple of lines to describing your main responsibilities. You can use this as an opportunity to highlight to readers the expertise you can offer.
3. Boast about your achievements in moderation
Just like it’s fine for businesses to share the success stories of their clients, you too should refer to what you have accomplished professionally. In other words, what value can you bring?
4. Mention your values
What is your driving force? Why do you do what it is that you do? Do you have specific beliefs about your industry?
While others in your industry might have the same achievements, your values can set you apart from your competitors. By briefly describing your values, you can help future clients understand what value you can bring to the table and why it will be worthwhile to work with you.
5. Add a personal element
All work and no play will make you sound dull. So, be sure to write something about what you do when you are not working. It could be about your family life, hobbies and/or interests. Perhaps you have started a promising side hustle?
Authenticity is becoming increasingly crucial to brands and by sharing something about yourself on a personal level it will be easier for you to foster a deeper connection with others. You can even try to include humor. By wrapping up your bio with a personal experience or something unusual, those who read your bio will remember you for the right reasons.
Examples of Templates
If you are not quite ready to start from scratch, here are three templates that you can use as building blocks.
The following professional bio template was shared by The Muse, a website for the next gen workforce looking to find more information about careers and businesses:
[Name] is a [title] who works with [who you help] to [how you help them].
[First name] [knows/believes] [what you know/believe about the work you do].
[First name] has [landed/secured/garnered/worked at/supported] [insert your most compelling experiences and wins].
[First name] is a [trained/certified/awarded] [insert relevant training, awards, honors, etc].
[First name] holds a [insert degree] in [insert area of study] from [insert university].
For something somewhat shorter, you can tweak the following template that was shared by Zippia, a platform that shares career tools:
(Name) is passionate about (Career Field) because (Why Are You Passionate About Your Job?).
(Name) has been recognized in their field for (Professional Accomplishments) and graduated from (University if applicable).
In their spare time, (Name) enjoys (Hobbies). (Pronoun) currently lives in (Where You Live).
If you are a speaker, freelancer, or entrepreneur, you can use the following template shared by Envato Tuts+, a leading publisher of online tutorials and courses, as a starting point:
Before starting a business or freelance work, Name worked (number of years) as a (relevant job title 1) and a (relevant job title 2). After a successful career helping (sub-niche or branch of your target market 1 e.g. fitness trainers, residential leasing agents, make-up artists, aspiring authors) and (sub-niche or your target market 2), (Name) now (appropriate action verb e.g. trains, coaches, advises) them on how to (specific tasks you do for your target market).
Name enjoys (hobby 1) and (hobby 2).
Name is available for (your type of work) or private consultations. You can reach (Name) at (phone number or email address).
4 Real-life Examples
Brad Colbow’s professional bio on Udemy is a good example of how you can include your beliefs and values. He does it in such a manner that it becomes a subtle call to action. By mentioning that he believes learning to draw is a journey, you get the impression that he is easy to talk to – a key trait for an instructor.
While Lauren Goode’s professional bio does not specifically highlight her values, it is a good example of how you can include a sentence about your interests.
Michael Hyatt’s professional bio is a great example of how you can come across as authentic, yet an expert in your field. He skillfully includes his accomplishments without sounding too egotistical.
Trinity’s bio is an example of how your bio can remain engaging, even if you opt for the longer format. An aspect that sets her bio apart from others is her language usage. By admitting to the own challenges that she has faced (similar to the above-mentioned one of Michael Hyatt), she remains authentic, without taking anything away from her accomplishments.
Wrapping Things Up
The majority of professional bios are typically standard and are built around a set form of words. So, it’s OK to keep it conventional. As you will be including a unique accomplishment, value, and a sentence or two about your personal life, your professional bio can still be memorable, even though its structure is generic.