In the current business environment, the owner is the public face of the company: accountable for products and services, and offering a vision that connects with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. A professional bio is an excellent tool to help build that public identity—it can communicate an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, establish expertise and credibility, and summarize your experience and background.
A professional bio is essentially a value proposition statement in which the product or service being offered is you. It’s an important document because it articulates the value that you as a business person bring to your clients and business partners. The professional bio is not just for the owners of Fortune 500 companies: it’s for every business owner who wants to run and grow a successful business. Yet, even though it is an essential document, it is something that many business owners don’t have on hand or never update. How many times have you been asked to supply a bio for an event and found yourself scrambling to pull something together? Or, even worse, have you left it to someone else in the hope that they will present you and your business in a professional manner?
A professional bio should tell your story. It should be clear, concise, and consistent. It should communicate your personal brand. You need to invest time and resources in a bio that can be consistently used across all media. A bio is a chance to sing your own praises!
Every woman business owner, even the sole proprietor with a home-based business, needs to know the basics of writing and maintaining a professional biography. Here are some universal elements you should keep in mind when writing your bio.
- Identify your audience—Who will be reading your bio and why do you want them to read it? Do you want to acquire new clients, develop business relationships, or showcase your experience and expertise?
- Write in the third person point of view—Using “she/he” instead of “I” enhances professionalism and makes people more willing to trust what is being said.
- Introduce yourself and your business—Start your bio by stating your name and your business name. Make sure readers know whose bio they are reading from the outset.
- Don’t undersell yourself—A professional bio is meant not only to inform but also to sell. State your accomplishments early in your bio and make it grab readers’ attention so they want to learn more about you. When describing your achievements, don’t downplay what you have accomplished by using weak or passive verbs.
- Add personality—Your bio should embody your personality and business style; use a tone that reflects that. Add a unique or personal tidbit at the end to leave readers feeling that they know you.
- Make it readable—Use a conversational voice, just as you would use when introducing yourself at a networking event. Avoid using industry slang that not every reader will understand. Longer bios may need splitting into short paragraphs to make them easier for the reader to digest.
- Keep it short—A professional bio is designed to highlight you and your business, so be concise and include only the information necessary to present your best self.
- Include contact information—Your bio should make readers want to connect with you, so make sure they can by including your contact information, along with links to your website and social media channels like LinkedIn.
- Proofread—A polished bio should not include any typos or spelling errors; check and recheck your bio before you publish it anywhere.
Professional bios can be used or requested in various lengths. It is generally a good practice to have three versions of your bio on hand.
This is the shortest version of your bio, usually one sentence long. You can use this version to introduce yourself or pitch your business at networking events. Include your name, the solution you provide to your customers, and your contact information.
Usually only a paragraph long, this bio should cover all the necessary information. In electronic versions, include hyperlinks so your readers can learn more about you if they choose.
The long version should still be only one page long. Include extra details that are not necessary, but that do help to flesh out your personality and expand on your professional history and the history of your business.
Now that you have a great bio, remember to reach out to the right people and make sure they read it. Here are some uses for your professional bio:
- Post it on your website and social media platforms.
- Include it in your marketing materials.
- Submit it with proposals to clients.
- Use it at networking events.
- Give it to new employees for orientation.
- Provide it for speaking engagements, media interviews, award submissions, and board appointments.
- Include it in books, industry reports, or professional documents you develop.
Once you have created your professional bio, remember that it’s not set in stone. You will need to update, modify, edit, and strengthen it on a regular basis to reflect changes in your business and to keep it fresh. As a general rule, you should review and update your professional bio at least twice a year.
Now is the time to develop a professional bio to help you and your business stand out and get noticed. So what are you waiting for?