Why is a good bio so important?
A good bio goes beyond a resume; it describes who you are as a person, your education, your history and the way that you relate to your industry. Essentially, a bio fulfills all of the features that a resume does and more -- it can be considered a more user-friendly form of resume. Even better, a bio goes places that a resume simply does not. A resume is usually only handed out when applying to jobs, but a professional bio is given out throughout networking opportunities, on promotional materials and more.
What are the hallmarks of a good bio?
A bio is written in third-person and essentially describes whom you are. According to the American Marketing Association, the bio should show your best career achievements, define your personal brand, include any information regarding your education and credentials and provide contact information. Often a professional bio may also include a professional image.
A solid professional biography includes the following:
- Basic information including your name and profession.
- Accomplishments throughout your career.
- The value that you bring to your industry -- what makes you unique?
- Any relevant (and suitable) hobbies or interests.
Capturing the proper tone within your professional bio is incredibly important. You don't want to seem too professional and stilted, but you also want to amuse rather than offend. You need to strike a balance between professional and playful so that you can display your unique personality in a way that is not off-putting.
How can you market yourself with a bio?
Once crafted, your bio can follow you to many networking opportunities. While real estate professionals may have easily searchable bios available on their corporate site, marketing professionals may find their bios posted in the directory of the American Marketing Association or other marketing networking platforms. A marketer's bio ought to feature media/communications skills and examples of career achievements, as well as education and special credentials. Most importantly, a marketer’s bio should highlight their personal brand by showcasing how their unique expertise and personal/professional attributes that set them apart from others in the industry; this can include publications, presentations, professional appearances, collaborations, etc. Overall, a good bio will give prospective clients and industry professionals a better idea of a candidate’s capabilities.
What should you avoid in your bio?
Apart from the things that should be present, there are also some things that shouldn't be. A bio, like a resume, benefits from being concise. It's ideal not to exceed a single page. Your bio should only highlight the best in your career and your education; the more information you put in, the more you'll lessen the impact of what is there. Further, you should avoid adding in any obvious jokes or any hobbies or interests that might be considered controversial. Remember that a bio is designed to market you as though you were a product; you want to focus solely on the good.
Creating a professional bio is absolutely essential for anyone that has a career that involves networking, whether within their industry or with potential clients. Luckily, creating a bio really isn't that difficult; if you have created a resume before, you already have the content you need to succeed, you simply need to modify it to fit a different format.