What is BIO?

how to write a professional bioA short professional bio has become increasingly important as most of us suffer from information fatigue and cannot be bothered to read lengthy documents about anybody. Experts such as Matthew Levy reckon your bio is the most important document you will ever write.

A bio is useful for a host of reasons such as applying for a job, publishing an article or guest blog post, general networking etc. It’s basically a great vehicle for quickly communicating who you are and what you do.

You are likely to have a bio somewhere on the Internet already. If you write a blog, it will be your About page. If you are on LinkedIn, it will be your summary. If you are on Twitter, it will be your, wait for it… Bio! These three most probably have different lengths, with the minnow being Twitter that only allows for a 140 character bio.

As writing a professional bio is the hottest thing since sliced bread, you best get on with it and follow these simple steps to do your personal brand proud. Here are the a few tips followed by a sample bio by Chris Brogan.

1) Identify your purpose:

Why are you writing this bio? Who will read it? You need to take some time to think about your readers and what you want them to think about you. People write anything from professional bios for getting freelance work, a comedy bio full of in-jokes for your friends or a bio for the back of their next piece of pulp fiction. Keep your audience in mind when authoring your bio.

2) Third person perspective:

This is your Harry Lime moment. Your bio should sound as though it were objectively written, although it is obviously anything but. If you look at any book cover, the bio will be in the narrative mode even though the author has probably written it themselves. So instead of writing “I have lived in Switzerland and I speak 3 languages”, try “John has lived in Switzerland and he speaks 3 languages”.

3) Micro, short and long:

You will need a micro, a short and a longer bio for different purposes. You will find that your bio will be requested in different lengths and therefore it’s advisable to keep three or even more versions. The micro bio is basically a sentence that you can use as your elevator pitch and on your Twitter profile. The short one should be one paragraph long and cover all the need to knows. The longer one adds the nice to knows and should sum you up completely. As a rule of thumb, the shorter one should be roughly a hundred words; the long one could be up to one page.

4) Start with your name:

You will want to put your name in the first sentence of your bio so the reader catches on and realizes what they are reading. Just like when you are introduced to somebody, you will start with your name and then move on to pleasantries.

5) State your business:

Just like a resume, you want to drop your occupation and accomplishments in there early. The reader needs to be hooked and enticed to keep reading. An example would be to write that you are an “open market sales person” and you have “increased sales by 200%” in your current position – music to the ears of any sales manager.

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