Copywriter, Human Resources Manager, and Marketing Expert
First impressions can be tricky. When meeting someone in person, it’s likely you have an elevator speech. These short, practiced introductions can help you share more about who you are, what you do for work and other facts about you. While this works well in a live, in-person context, there are many cases where professionals “meet” someone via written form – like social media, a resume, or published work. In these cases, your bio works as your first impression. So, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a short bio.
Before looking into how to write a bio, you must first know what exactly a bio is.
A bio is a written overview of someone’s life. This can be as short as a single sentence that sits atop a Twitter profile or a more lengthy written piece. On one hand, a bio can cover just one facet of a person’s life, such as their career. Meanwhile, it could also offer a more comprehensive understanding of who a person is and where they come from.
People across the world write bios in a variety of styles. There are the short, bullet-pointed, and emoji-laden lists that are popular on social media. We also have the longer, more prose-style versions shared on a company website or used in presentations. The tone of a bio can range from intellectual and professional to snarky and fun depending on the person and context.
A bio allows someone to share important and relevant information about themselves in a clear, concise manner. Bios can help to create a strong first impression and provide information to establish credibility and rapport with the reader.
In a professional context, bios are often used when people are making the leap from employee to freelancer, on company websites, in investor relations materials, in PR pitches, and many other areas. Professional bios will often share information about a person’s:
- Current roles
- Work history
- Educational history
- Personal history
Writing a short bio about yourself can seem like a daunting task, even for the most skilled writers. It can feel awkward to brag about yourself and your accomplishments. Luckily, creating a stellar bio can be accomplished by following a few easy steps.
One of the biggest tips for creating a professional-sounding bio is to use the third person. Instead of saying “I did this” or “I accomplished that”, your bio should refer to you by your name and preferred pronouns. This doesn’t just create a more professional tone. It also allows your bio to be used by you, other individuals, and organizations without requiring any sentence structure changes.
It may seem obvious, but one of the most common and effective ways to start your bio is by writing your name. Instead of worrying about fancy sentence structure and creating a witty introduction, take the easy route and begin your bio with “[Your Name] is…” and go from there.
Immediately after your name, your bio should explain who you are in the appropriate context. For example, consider Tim Cook. He is the CEO of Apple and an avid cycling fan. While his bio could lead with “Tim Cook is an avid cycling fan,” his official bio on the Apple website leads with the more relevant phrase, “Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple.” In professional bios, this often means starting with your job title.
Once you’ve clarified who you are and what your claim to fame is, it’s time to go into more detail. There are many things that can be shared in this section of your bio. Good things to note are the awards you’ve won, the recognition you’ve received, and the results you’ve created. These accomplishments should provide supporting evidence to your initial claim to fame, but you should also include any other noteworthy achievements including your education.
Your bio is meant to humanize you. One of the best ways to do that is to share additional information that gives the reader a more complete picture of you. This can include personal information like where you’re from, details about your passions, or even give a glimpse at how you’re upskilling or improving yourself.
Writing your bio should not be the same as writing your biography. Instead of focusing on every memory and milestone, keep your bio short with no more than 300 words at the longest. You want to deliver a complete picture without boring your audience.
Ready to make your bio stand out even more? Check out these additional ways to make your profile stand out from the crowd.
While a one-size-fits-all approach will work in most cases, it can be a wise idea to personalize your bio to specific needs or contexts. For example, a professional version may be great for the corporate world, but if you’re moonlighting as a stand-up comedian, you may want to tweak your bio to share more about your personal life.
In addition to having bios with different content for various roles or contexts, it’s also a good idea to have shorter versions. Many speaking engagements, presentation opportunities, and board memberships will request your bio, but may not have the character count or space to accommodate your full bio. Aim to edit your full bio into different versions with 50, 100, and 200 words so you’re prepared for any need.
Bio writing follows the same principle as other creative writing: it’s better to show than to tell. Rather than simply listing out a series of facts, share information that allows the reader to come to their own conclusions.
Leverage what you’ve already written about yourself when writing a bio. In addition to using the templates below, it’s also a good idea to take a look at your resume summary. Your current bio will likely align with your past resume summaries. As a result, they may serve as a good source of inspiration if you’re struggling to find the right words to get started.
The best bios speak to their audience and fit the platform they are on. This means that a business website will have a different personal bio than the person’s social media or passion project. Here are a few killer professional bio examples for you to learn how to write .
Best Social Media Bio Examples
Marie Forleo Channel Instagram – See the bio She shares the highlights of her accomplishments including a sparkling review from Oprah.
Gary Vaynerchuk Channel: Twitter – See the bio In 15 words and 5 mentions, readers can get a clear picture of who Gary is, why they should listen, and why they’d want to hang out with him.
Neil Patel Channel: Instagram – See the bio Neil doesn’t just list one credential to back up his knowledge. All parts of his bio speak to his brand. He also uses emojis in a way that feels both professional and appropriate for the channel.
Joe Biden Channel: Twitter - See the bio As one of the most known people on earth and a politician for nearly 50 years with plenty of professional bios out there, Joe Biden skips the formal bio for his Twitter page and instead focuses on his personal life and interests.
Best Professional Bio Examples
Chris Burkard Channel: Personal website – See the bio Chris is an action and adventure photographer and the word choice of this bio reflects that perfectly. This short, concise bio gives the reader a feel for the type of person Chris is, and the work he does, while also including a few personal details to humanize him.
Dan Brown Channel: Personal website – See the bio Dan’s bio provides an overview of his personal and professional life that helps readers to learn more about the author’s source of inspiration as well as gives a glimpse of what is yet to come.
Melinda French Gates Channel: Foundation website – See the bio Melinda is an accomplished philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate and her bio gives equal weight to each of her endeavors in a clear, concise way.
Get started creating your bio by using these simple templates. Add additional information or string several together to create longer bios depending on your needs and requirements.
Current Working Position:
[First & Last Name] is a [job title] based in [location] who specializes in [your field]. [First name] has helped [group/client/company] achieve [some accomplishment] for the past [years of experience]. [He/she/they] has [secured/earned/worked with/supported] [your biggest claim to fame]. [First name] has earned a [degree type & focus] from [educational institute].
Overall Professional History
[First & Last Name] is an accomplished [job title] based in [city/state]. [First name] got [his/her/their] start in the industry by earning a [degree] from [educational institute]. In [his/her/their] early career, [First Name] worked as a [title] at [company name]. [His/her/their] successful career has allowed him the opportunity to work [for/with] notable [clients/projects] including [most notable client/project]. Today, [First Name] provides valuable experience in [field] to [organization].
Personal and Professional History
[First & Last Name] is a [job title] based in [location] who has [biggest claim to fame]. [First name] holds a degree in [field] from [educational institute]. When not working, [he/she/they] enjoys [hobbies, passions, or other ways you spend time including information about family size or members]. You can keep up with [First Name] by following [him/her/them] on [chosen social media platform].
As your company invests in your growth, and you gain more experience, your bio should evolve with you. Creating a strong, well-written bio is a good first step for anyone looking for a new job or wanting to advance their career through networking. Keeping a clear message and current bio across your resume, social media, and other areas will help to establish a consistent personal and professional brand.