A short biography, or “bio”, opens your door to your audience. Here’s how to write a professional bio that opens the right door.
A bio serves one main purpose: it gives you credibility.
Consider the after-dinner speaker. If nobody introduced them and gave a little background about them, you’d be saying to yourself, “Who is this guy?”
The introduction answers that question before you ask it. That introduction is a short bio.
Often the bio is written in the program for the event. Sometimes the introducer simply reads it off from there.
It’s the same on a professional website. If your reputation is one of your major selling features, as it is for a coach, financial advisor, writer, designer, lawyer or consultant, your bio has to make the sale.
If the bio doesn’t make the sale, the potential customer might be thinking, “Who is this guy?”
That’s a great way to lose a sale.
Your bio had better be good.
Your credibility is on the line, and so are your sales.
What makes a good professional bio?
Every person is different, and so is each bio. But there are some common elements. Here are a few things to consider when writing a professional bio.
List your most impressive or relevant education. People believe that your formal education makes you knowledgeable.
And they are right. Formal education might not be necessary in every niche. But 100 well-educated people will be, on average, much better at what they do than 100 less-educated people. So, education is an easy metric for the average person to understand.
List your most impressive or relevant awards. People assume that awards mean you are among the best.
And they are right. They don’t have the skills or inclination to measure how good you are. But an award means somebody who presumably does have the skills and inclination has measured how good you are. And they found you to be very, very good.
List your most relevant experience. Sure, you know a lot and somebody says you are good, but what have you actually done?
Telling them what you’ve done adds credibility as a doer, not just a thinker or a big-mouthed talker. You talk a good game, but can you play a good game?
Should a short bio be all business?
Even when you write a short professional bio, there should be more to it than just business.
While people are seeking information about you from a business perspective, there is one other question they want answered: “Can I trust this person?”
So make sure to say: “You can trust me.”
But don’t use those words.
You can tell people you are worthy of their trust partly by the accuracy of what you say. But people intrinsically decide if they can trust you by the personal things you say.
So, a few personal details don’t hurt.
People like to know that you are like them, that you share the same basic, human values that have nothing to do with business.
Mention your husband or wife. Mention your kids. Mention your pet.
Mention where you live or a hobby that people can relate to.
Mention things you like that most people also like. Beer, bacon, beaches and sunsets probably top that list of affinity-building preferences.
These personal details show that you are not a robot, that you are a fellow human. They show that you can relate not just to your audience’s technical needs, but to their emotional needs, as well. And that’s important.
Example short bio for sales and credibility
Here is a bio great example of a short bio for a real estate agent. This is basically a sales rep bio example.
She has a lot going for her to make her stand out, so it focuses zeroes in on some of her unique experiences that make her a more useful agent for potential clients.
Notice how toward the end, a lot of the human factors come out, including the husband and children, as well as her long-standing residency in the area.
Notice also how her hobbies tie back into her ability to give top-notch service.
How to write the right professional bio for your audience
Notice that this sample biography is easy to read. There’s not much jargon in it. The general public won’t necessarily understand all jargon. More to the point, they won’t dedicate the energy required to think about what unusual terms mean.
Remember that the goal is to appear credible, to elicit trust, and that is something that is done at the emotional level. If your readers’ brains have to hesitate to process an unfamiliar word, the emotional effect is interrupted. You derail your own thought process.
You might need a technical word or two to convey credibility. If so, use it.
Your audience might be colleagues, fellow astrophysicists or forensic accountants. OK, use jargon that is common among all of your audience…but keep your bio simple in every other way possible.
Bullet points are your friend. They make it easier to process the whole bio, and they highlight that these were indeed three separate degrees you earned not justasingledegreeallmeshedtogether.
Ready to write your short bio?
Now you know how to write a professional bio. Gather up the key items to include. Decide to write it yourself or to hire a ghostwriter. Make sure to have a version for your website and a version to be read out loud.
A short bio is a highly useful tool for anybody who counts on their reputation for income. Make sure you have one at hand. Every bio is a sales bio.