Writing a professional bio can be intimidating. Whether it’s a short bio on a website, an “about me” column on a blog, or a one-liner for an article, it’s tough to write about ourselves, ‘cause, heck, no one likes a bragger.
But your bio is an important business tool, whether you are introducing yourself to potential customers and clients or to a potential boss. A good bio tells someone why you are the right person for the job, why he or she should buy your products, why you are the perfect one to write an article or book, teach a class, create a design, etc.
Most bios can be short and sweet – giving the highlights of what you do, who you are, and what is important and/or interesting about you and your business. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. If your bestie was introducing you to a friend, what would he or she say about you and what you do?
Here are some tips for making sure your bio doesn’t just sing, but sings for you.
Focus your bio to the task at hand and make it specific to your audience and your purpose. If targeting customers, what do they need to know about your design expertise? Have you won any design awards? Do you teach others? Do you travel the world looking for organic dyes?
Note your specific skills. If you are writing a technique article for a magazine or website or teaching a class, include skills that relate to that particular subject. Do you have a degree in textile design? Learned cooking from Wolfgang Puck? Studied botany and wrote a book about medicinal herbs?
Prepare different versions for different uses: short (50-75 words, for articles), medium (100-150 words, for teaching blurbs, “about me” sections, etc.), and long (150-250 words, suitable for authors). If given a specific word count, keep to that count. If you wear different hats, create a bio that fits each. For instance, when writing for a business publication, I focus on my reporting and researching skills and don’t mention that I teach craft workshops and attend creative conventions. But if writing for a craft or art publication, my bio may be downright sassy, even admitting that most of my crafting experience comes from being a Girl Scout leader.
Make the bio professional, but not stuffy, even though you’re writing in the third person. Write in a relaxed, conversational tone, but use professional language (i.e., You are a mother of three, not a mommy of three.)
Proof your bio before publishing or sending it out. Print it – we catch more mistakes on a printed copy than we do on a computer screen. If you are unsure, ask a trusted friend to read your bio. Check your spelling and grammar.
Be concise, not flowery. Avoid exaggerations, but don’t be afraid to include one or two fun facts, such as winning the butter sculpting contest at the Iowa State Fair, if the info fits the tone of your bio. Include only what information is relevant.
Don’t embellish the facts. The last thing you want is for someone to Google you and discover that you didn’t graduate from Oxford, win an Academy Award for set design, or make Martha Stewart’s clothes.
Roberta Wax is an award-winning journalist and imperfect crafter. A former news reporter, her freelance articles and projects have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines, from the Los Angeles Times and Emmy magazine to Cloth Paper Scissors, Somerset Studio, Craftideas, Belle Armoire, etc. She has also designed for craft companies. Although she has no art background she was a crafty Girl Scout leader. www.creativeunblock.com