Every day, more and more professionals are turning to social media to network and market themselves. And since Microsoft released its study stating that social media actually makes workers more productive, you might decide it’s time for you to hop on the proverbial bandwagon, yourself. As with any new venture in your career, you should always prepare before diving in—and the first thing you should have ready is a stellar bio.
So how do you write a bio that’s informative, engaging, and unique to your professional story? Follow these simple steps:
- Start with your name. Look around—from accounting professionals to physicians to novelists, it’s not a coincidence that most bios begin “(Name) is a…” Putting your name first is direct, memorable, and informative, and assures readers or job recruiters that they won’t have to go searching for the information they’re looking for. And remember, a bio is a short blurb in biography form, not an autobiography. So make sure to…
- Keep it in third person. By bringing your skills and expertise to the social media forefront, you’re creating your own brand—so treat your bio accordingly. You want your bio to read as if a professional in your field wrote it about you. Writing “I have a CPA and work for a Big 4 firm” is much less effective, for example, than “Jane Smith, CPA, currently works for a Big 4 accounting firm.”
- Keep it short and sweet. It’s important to write your bio so that it’s quick to catch its reader’s attention. It’s been suggested that the average website viewer only reads 20-28% of the words on a given page, so keeping your bio short is important. Of course, some platforms such as Twitter will limit how much space you have to work with anyway, but when filling in the “About Me” field on Facebook, for example, discretion is key.
- Include a professional picture. It’s been stressed repeatedly that a resume usually isn’t the place for a picture, but social media has a slightly more casual feel to it, and every profile has the option of uploading a profile picture. When picking your photo, you should stick with an appropriate headshot, simple background, and professional attire.
- Tailor it to your audience. If you’re creating a professional profile for yourself as a nurse, it would be important to include that you have a BSN, for instance. Less necessary, and possibly even extraneous, would be to include that you enjoy knitting. Keep your bio professional and focused.
- Highlight your best achievements. Before writing up your bio, lay out a timeline or list of your greatest achievements and pick your best ones, to seek the attention of a recruitment agency. The ones that say the most about you should make it into your bio, while the others should be left out to save space. The unmentioned achievements can always be moved to a separate field on the page later.
- Write in full sentences. Your bio is not a resume, so don’t treat it like one. Listing your achievements in bullets or numbered sections can draw the reader’s attention away from the important information preceding them. Limit your bio to one to two full paragraphs at most.
- Include contact details. While many social networking platforms may offer your audience options for contacting you via direct messages or other site-specific means, you should consider including more professional contact information in your bio. For example, if you are a jobseeker, be sure to create a professional email address to include rather than listing your personal email address.
- Prioritize. Once you have your information mapped out, make sure you include it in the right order. You should write your bio in the order of most important information first, least important last. A typical bio might start with your name, followed by your occupation and/or industry you’re involved in, followed by the achievements that qualify you, and end with contact information. If it’s convincing and well-organized, there’s a good chance that your bio will have readers reaching for that “contact” button!