Writing a professional bio that must double as a landing page on your website, is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks a writer can face
As a consultant, author, and speaker for more than 20 years, I’ve had some practice writing many variations of my professional bio. For me, it’s much easier to write a bio for someone else, than it is to write one about myself. Back in college, writing your own bio was an early learning assignment. My favorite version of the workup was to write the bio you’d like to have in 10 years. Later in life, I took a course on seminar marketing, which focused intensely on writing long form bios for seminar leaders. Most recently, I’ve added search engine optimization to the biography writing process. While every good bio should be optimized for the individual’s proper name, there are instances where it’s possible to take it a step further and optimize the bio for generic search terms.
Audience development consultant above all else
For those of you who know me, it won’t come as a surprise that I have a lot of options in terms of describing my professional capabilities. Some might call me an eclectic or a Renaissance man. Others may politely point out that I’m bored easily, and am always looking for something new to learn and teach. Both statements would be largely true.
Fortunately, the biography format I’ve been most recently using allows me to pick three facets of my professional persona and profile those in my professional biography. For the Don 2012 update, I’ve chosen audience development consultant, website architect, teacher and author. You’ll note I cheated in my third selection by combining two items, which I feel are compatible. You be the judge of whether or not I got away with it.
Good copywriting rules apply
A good biography should tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Oddly though, it starts with the end and goes backwards through the middle and beginning. Your bio should outline your capabilities in a light that lets potential employers and others who can hire you understand how your skills and experience can help them reach their organizational and professional goals. To make your case, you’ll need to include specifics about yourself that demonstrate what you know, who you know, and what you’ve done. In my line of work, a list of books and articles I’ve written indicates that I am an authority in my field, and gives those thinking about hiring me a place to do further research before they reach out and contact me. Professional associations indicate that you are active in an industry, and show interested parties your areas of specialization. These days it has also become popular to add some personal tidbits that humanize you in the eyes of the reader.
Social media connections
After writing your ultimate biography, it’s important to make sure that it’s synchronized with both short and long versions that may show up on various social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Since the format for each of these is different, it will take a little time to make sure you have all your information lined up properly. Those contemplating hiring you are likely to check multiple sources while sizing you up.
If you discovered other variations or elements that bring life to your professional biography, feel free to share them below including a link to your online bio.