If you’re like most people, you probably think of your professional bio as just a thing to have around. When someone asks for it, you pull the most recent draft from your computer, change a few things around (or not) and send it off. And if your bio is like the standard one, it’s long on degrees, awards, and professional achievements and super short on anything that reveals you as a breathing human being with a personality.
And that’s where most of us go wrong.
Instead of treating your professional bio like a random piece of content, be more intentional. Start to think of it as an ever-changing branding tool instead.
Branding, at its most basic level, is used to garner attention and awareness, build trust and credibility, and to ultimately attract an audience. If you work in any professional capacity, you are a brand whether you think of it that way or not. For that reason alone, you need to always have an updated bio locked, loaded, and ready to go.
So how do you take your bio from a random old resume in paragraph form to a living document that highlights the best of your skills and accomplishments, shows off your personality, and leaves the reader with a personal connection?
Just like this.
5 Ways To Use Your Professional Biography as a Branding & Marketing Tool
1. Share an anecdote. The anecdote is a short, amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. In this instance, you are that person. Include a story, preferably about some significant time, place, person, or experience, in your bio.
If you start with the story, it immediately gives the reader intimate insight and a point of connection.
2. Focus less on accomplishments. Yes, potential clients or employers absolutely want to know that you’re credentialed and qualified to do your job well. However, they don’t care about every single certificate, award, or accolade that you’ve been given. They don’t even care that much about the university you attended or that you were classmates with some famous person. Spare them the read and only include one or two of your most important academic degrees, awards, or accomplishments. They'll be better able to retain and recall small doses of information.
3. Lighten up, and include something fun. You can’t be all work and no play. Share a bit of your life outside of work. Whether you like to golf or recently went zip-lining with your cousin in Jamaica, sharing some of your more intimate, fun side will likely appeal to your audience. You can choose a special talent, a specific hobby, your favorite movie, or even a bad habit that you’re working to break.
The goal is to be relatable, not perfect.
Be wise here and be careful with what you share. This isn’t a license to use your bio as a personal diary. It’s definitely okay to keep some things to yourself.
4. Consider writing the bio in first person. When bios, particularly those on a website, are written in first person, they come across as more of a conversation with a friend than an isolated reading about some random person on the Internet. Remember that people better and more eagerly associate with the folk they know, like, and trust. Even a small change like writing in first person helps to build likeability and trust. If yours is not going on a personal website, choose 1st person.
5. Use language that you’d use in real life. Professionals sometimes have the tendency to use industry-specific terms and jargon as a means of showcasing their expertise. That tactic can often backfire. Instead of drawing people to you, it likely acts as a repellant because they don’t even understand who you are, what you do, or how you can help them. Your expertise and knowledge mean nothing if people can’t relate to what you have to offer. So keep your language simple. Nobody will doubt your skills and expertise because you speak in common terms.
It's easy to overlook your bio or get frustrated when cranking out an updated version. But spending a little extra time can make a big impact towards be memorable and building meaningful connections.
About Prose & Pens:
Prose & Pens helps brands and professionals create written content that’s engaging and conversational. Need help with your professional biography? Click here.