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How to Write a Bio (With Examples)

Updated on August 9, 2014

This Could be You!

Humphrey Bogart on Biography Cover
Humphrey Bogart on Biography Cover | Source

So you Want to Look Good in Print and Online?

Just as it’s important to have a resume, it’s just as important to have a personal or professional bio. Bios aren’t just for published writers or CEOs anymore. The internet is filled with opportunities to market yourself and by no means is it limited to job sites.

Social media provides countless opportunities to fill in the “About Me” section of profiles that you need to take advantage of in order to make yourself known. If you are a functioning member of society, you need a bio!

I recently started offering my services on fiverr.com writing bios, realizing how little people want to write about themselves, I figured I can develop my skills while being someone’s personal writing fairy. It can be a painful process to self-analyze, but it is necessary to stand back and take inventory of what you have done, where you’re going, and how you want to project yourself to potential connections; no matter how insignificant they may seem. You never know where a networking opportunity may come up.

What is a Bio?

The long and short of it: A bio is a way to quickly communicate who you are and what you do. It’s an easily accessible version of all things You. Bios are direct and simplified to help someone decide if you are what they are looking for. OK, I think we get it now, let’s move on.

Why do I Need a Bio?

Ok, so you've lived a little, you've done a lot of things in your lifetime that you're proud of, you've gained a ton of knowledge and experience outside of school and work, and you want to take advantage of that to build network or social circle.

It’s all about personal branding, you choose what personal aspects you want your readers to know, be impressed by, or curious about. Your job title and education doesn’t define you are, a combination of those things and your personal experience do. Instead of a very formal resumes, a bio serves as a narrative in a more conversation way. It's your own voice, which gives a personalized touch and allows your readers to engage with you personally.

For Inspiration, Let's Start off With an Example.

Joe Schmoe has a BS in Health and Wellness, and strives to learn as much as he can about his areas of interest, specifically nutrition. He can often be found at the local library researching his latest project, an ebook on child obesity in America. Recently, Schmoe placed second in a fundraising triathlon in his hometown, Villiageville.

Here you can see what Joe values in his personal life. It shows his dedication to his job, personal responsibility and initiative outside of his day job. Normally you wouldn’t tell that you are writing a book or participated in a race within your resume It’s important to link what you do on the clock with what you do off the clock. I’d say Joe is a pretty well rounded guy, wouldn’t you?

Writing You Bio, a Poll.

Would you rather write your ow bio, or have someone do it for you?

See results

Where do I use my Bio?

Everywhere! Anytime you are asked to do something, make a speech, write a guest blog, a book/ebook, or a review, you should include information about yourself in order to market what you have to offer. You have endless opportunities to show your credibility to the public that will allow them to take interest in you.

Define Your Audience.

  • The first step when writing a bio requires some investigation. You need to ask yourself what you want your bio to accomplish. Is it to get readers? If so, you'll want to emphasize your already published works and awards.
  • But, if the purpose of your bio is to introduce you as a speaker at a conference, you may want to put more emphasis on your status as an expert in what you do.
  • Sometimes, it helps to play on your audiences emotions. Your bio is a mini persuasive essay, where you want to convince someone that they need something, or in your case, someone.

What Kind of Bio Should I Write?

Great Question! Just as there are several reasons to write a bio, there are just as many types. What’s more, there are so many social media platforms that offer a space to talk about yourself, allowing you to tailor your bio to each one. Depending on the scenario, you will have to choose what best suits your intent. It can be daunting, or you can make it a fun project that gives you a self confidence boost! Let’s focus on the two most common:

How do I Write a Professional Bio?

Immediately, you will want to tell your reader what you do. Be specific! Don’t just state your profession; there are tons of other people who have your job. Start with emphasizing your niche. If you are an educator, what exactly do you specialize in teaching? If you are a doctor, what kind? Artists, what medium do you work in? Writers, what platform do you use? What do you write about? Let's look at an example:


Correct Grammar is Crucial!

Mean Teacher
Mean Teacher

Mental Dump.

When you start, write everything down.Your first draft will be long -I promise. This will give you the opportunity to really see what you are working with. Once you've listed everything you have ever done you entire life, grab your red teachers pen. Be ruthless! Pretend you are correcting a rebellious, bratty little student you can't stand! (Seriously, this helps). Remember that most readers don't have long attention spans and are ready to move on quickly if they don't get what they need right away. -No pressure or anything.

Professional Bio Example.

Domestic Engineer: “Jane Doe is a leading expert in domestic facility maintenance and problem-solving. She has served as the secretary on the Riverview Community homeowners association for the past five years, and specializes in communications with other neighborhood leaders and agenda preparation. She is a regular contributor to the community newsletter and has plans in place to expand the publication for surrounding neighborhoods.”

–I won’t lie, I’m kind of jealous of Jane! Aren’t you? Good! That’s what we want people to feel about your bio!

Alright Jane, what's going on in that head of yours?

"Jane Doe is a leading expert in domestic maintenance and problem-solving and is an active member in her community."

  • OK, so that seems a bit technical, but hey, Jane keeps house by cleaning, gardening, doing laundry, shopping, and other household duties. She solves problems like balancing schedules for the family, what’s for dinner, and how she can manage the household income. I‘d say she’s well qualified in what she does and has a great skill set.

“Jane has served as the secretary on the River View Community Homeowners Association for the past five years, and specializes in communications with other neighborhood leaders and agenda preparation.”

  • Be sure to give more in-depth examples of what you've done in your niche that make you stand out against your competition. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there!

“She is a regular contributor to the community newsletter and has plans in place to expand the publication for surrounding neighborhoods.”

  • Lastly, include what goals or upcoming projects you might be doing. By stating “she has plans in place” we see that Jane has more than just a pipe-dream, she actually has the ball rolling on her upcoming project. This shows initiative and keeps the reader interested in what you will be doing in the near future. They will want to stay in touch or follow you to take advantage of your future qualifications.

Avoid Gobbledygook.

In order to have an effective bio, you must use simple language. Much like a technical writer must determine how to reach their audience when translating difficult technical language into easy-to-understand prose.

Don't get too fancy trying to sound overly smart or condescending. Make it easy for your reader to relate to who your are and understand what you do.

Critical Reading is key.

Dissect what you read.
Dissect what you read. | Source

Want to be a Good Writer?

In order to write good, you have to read good.

Do I have your attention? Are you cringing? Good! You are on the road to being both a good reader and writer. When you want to learn how to write in a certain style you have to use critical thinking skills and ruthlessly pick apart other's work. Here are some tips:

  • What is the writer trying to say?
  • Are they doing a good job of it?
  • What could they change t be more effective?
  • How would you write what they are trying to say?
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Treat Your Bios Like Resumes.

Just like crafting your resume to accommodate each job you apply for, you will want to do the same thing with your bio. By working off your current short bio and adding details, you are able to keep on track and not be overwhelmed by stating a new document. Remember to save the various copies and label them accordingly for quick access. Don’t forget to back your hard work up!

Try a Mind Map for Your Bio.

William Shakespeare Short Biography Mind-Map
William Shakespeare Short Biography Mind-Map | Source

How do I Write a Personal Bio?

Here’s where the real fun begins! With personal bios, the format is similar, but is much more lighthearted. This is your opportunity to shine and really talk about your passions, the spice of your life. For the sake of ease, I am going to step under the microscope and pick apart my bio as it stands now on HubPages.

Personal Bio Example.

“I am a full-time English student and freelance writer in pursuit of my Ph.D. I have a hunger for books, knowledge, and life. By day, I read, write, and research.

By night, I am a woman welder, and a crafter extraordinaire in my spare time.

With a satirical edge and undertones of literature and pop-culture, I aim to make my writing both informative and entertaining. Be sure to check out my other accounts for writing gigs and more. ~Enjoy!”

Welcome to the madhouse that is my brain! Let's see how it works...

“I am a full-time English student and freelance writer in pursuit of my Ph.D. I have a hunger for books, knowledge, and life. By day, I read, write, and research.”

  • Note that my bio is in first person, this makes it easy peasy to talk with my readers. I switched the format around and started with what I am doing now, and immediately tied it into my future pursuits, as well as my related hobbies. I did this because they are relative. So, if you are reading my HubPages or blog, you can decide my creditability and research skills along with my education. And while I have several unique things going on in my life, education is the most important to me, and I want my reader to know that.

“By night, I am a woman welder, and a crafter extraordinaire in my spare time.”

  • Here come the hobbies and passions! I know…I’m all over the place. The term “left field” comes to mind, but that’s just how I am. I try to be a well-rounded person with lots of skills (and backup plans if my education falls through!). My hobbies show that I pay attention to details and enjoy working with my hands. They also show that I have problem solving skills and value creativity.

“With a satirical edge and undertones of literature and pop-culture, I aim to make my writing both informative and entertaining. Be sure to check out my other accounts for writing gigs and more.”

  • I tie in my versatile writing style (humor) and my more serious side (literature), and provide m readers with a mini mission statement that “I aim to make my writing both informative and entertaining.” This also serves as a way to link back to my professional life, and may provide business opportunities. (Pretty clever, huh?) Backing up to my passions, I want to market my skills as a writer, leaving my reader with something else to learn about me.
  • All-in-all I have provided a casual tone and inserted my personal writing style to serve as the tone of my bio and personality. -Two birds with one stone, if you will.

Bippity Boppoty Boo, my friends!

Develop the Quality of Your Writing.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.

 

How Long Should my Bio be?

Not as long as this tutorial! But seriously folks, it depends on where you are marketing yourself. You will want to consider a few factors. Generally speaking, if you don’t know whether to use a short or long bio, you can easily take cues from other peoples’ examples and follow suit. If there is a character limit, like twitter, the answer will be obvious and you can post accordingly.

Short Bio Guidelines:

A short bio should be to the point while still portraying what you want in a creative way. These are useful for social media like twitter, Instagram, freelance hiring sites, articles, or newsletters. The examples I have provided are short. However, while they convey all the information I want them to, I still left room to add detail if I find that I want to elongate them at a later time.

Full Bio Guidelines:

A full bio contains your detailed profile. If you are writing a book, you have a lot of save to fill up on that back flap. There, you can go hog wild with not only accomplishments, but history and how you got where you are. The same goes for personal websites. Often there are two spaces for two variations of your bio. The first is for you short 2-3 sentence intro, the second is more of an in depth look at you and your life, typically 250 or so words. Sites that offer space for full bios are blogs, work-related websites that feature faculty, school websites - or other platforms that allow for student and faculty networking, client proposals, and award and scholarship applications.

First or Third Person Bio?

When it comes to writing your own bio, you may want to naturally write it in first person, but first, consider where you will be putting your information. It may be best to stick to third person if you are writing for a company website, as you won’t be known as the author, and it will sound unprofessional and bias if you pepper your site with “I” and “me”. The same goes for author bios. Blogs or social media are almost always written in first person, unless it is a seller site then use your discretion. Again, as you decide where you are putting your bio, you will want to search for similar examples and take them as cues to model your work after. Most times you can trust your instincts (as you should!), and go with whatever flows or seems most natural to you. You can always change it later.

Source

Join the Movement.

Traditionally, bios were reserved for anyone at an executive level. Now, companies want to show how valued and proficient their employees are. This makes sense from a financial standpoint. If you are going to be investing in, or spending money with a company, it's imperative that you find out as much as you can about employee competence.

Since bios are more common for lower-level employees, you can write one to make you stand out against the crowd. You no longer have to sit at the kiddie table anymore, get out there and hang with the grown-ups!

Bio Templates.

Since accomplishments and credentials change over time, you may want to use a temple so new information can be plugged in at a later time. It doesn’t need to be downloaded from the internet, although you may prefer that. Consider it a working document and you will have a successful template on hand to add or change information at ease.

Hard at Work, Writing Your Bio!

Source

Not Everyone Writes Naturally, Try Spoken Word.

Olympus DP-201 Digital Voice Recorder
Olympus DP-201 Digital Voice Recorder

Sometimes it helps to just get it all out. Try using a recorder and speak whatever is on your mind. This will help organize your thoughts and you can pick and choose what you want to include in your bio. You can play back what you've said as many times as needed. which is very helpful in deciding what words to choose. An added bonus if you like to write: You can use these little guys in all your writing, and it will improve the overall quality and organization of what you are trying to convey.

 

Let's Review:

  • Write. Proofread. Edit. Revise. Repeat.
  • Try a new approach like recording your thoughts. Check out the digital voice recorder to the right of this column.
  • Where to use bio: Everywhere!
  • Use bios for personal branding and networking
  • Personal vs professional: Which is best for your needs?
  • Save bios to be updated as you gain more skills.
  • Be honest.You want to look good, but not too good.
  • Don’t apologize for who you are: if you like something that you think isn’t “cool”, don’t apologize for it! Use a confident tone. I’d be willing to bet there is an entire community of people who like the same thing as you, and featuring it in your bio will allow those people to connect with you.
  • Don’t Stress! Nothing is set in stone and you can always go back and edit. Your bio will not be perfect the first time, or even the second time around.
  • Ask for constructive criticism from a trusted friend or professional. With any writing, it is important to ask for a reader opinion. We can get so wrapped up in our writing and be overly critical, or miss typos. Or we may think we had a stroke of mad genius, but don’t realize it’s actually just sleep deprivation and eyestrain. It’s not until you step back, unclench your sweaty hands, and allow someone to give a non-bias review of your work. You don’t have to take their advice, it’s just a precaution to keep you in check. Golden girls vido)
  • Where do you use your bio? Have you seen or used any different techniques that have got you noticed? Tell me about it!

Like This Hub?

As always, please feel free to comment with any ideas you have. More importantly, I encourage you to share my hub and the love. We are all in this together!

I love feedback and your vote is important to me. Please take a second to click that little thumb icon just below here and let me know how I am doing!

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    • Rebeccasutton profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Ghaelach, yes a fine morning it is!

      I know, it's very frustrating when you don't get many views. I am so new here that I don't know what yet to do, but suggest to keep on keepin' on. What matters most is the satisfaction in writing!

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 3 years ago

      Good morning Rebecca on a still sunny early Sunday.

      Thanks for your re-comment.

      People tell me I have great hubs that are a bit Mich-mash as I don't really have a niche in one particular field. That in it's self isn't a problem, the problem is I get very few views. In fact they are next door to zilch, meaning zero. It's very frustrating and leaving me over the last 3/4 months with very little enthusiasm for writing.

      Anyway take care and have a great Sunday.

      Ghaelach

    • Rebeccasutton profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Lol Flourish! I agree! If anything, it's half the fun to embrace the idea of being able to show yourself off and still have the backspace button!

    • Rebeccasutton profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Happy to hear! Glad to be of service, good luck, and thank you!

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 3 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Thanks for this great info. I never know what to write when asked for a bio. Now I have some guidelines. I especially like your point about different bios for different purposes. That will help me narrow what I want to say depending on my bio will be used. Voted up!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I've seen so many bios that seem like the person just got handed the microphone and froze up with stage fright. This should help them. Relaxed tone and good examples.

    • Rebeccasutton profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Hi Ghaelach! I let a comment for you, hope you don't mind! Looks like you have some great, quality work on your Hub. Keep it up! You did include a lot in your bio, which is great, I enjoyed reading about your life. You were very organized about it in a timeline sense. I understand what you men aobut hubs being all over the place. Mine are too :) I think it's a good thing to be a jack of all trades, the way we are :)

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 3 years ago

      Evening Rebecca.

      I like your professional/humorist style that comes over when I read your latest hub.

      Being in my mid-sixties one could say I've seen and done a lot in my life to date. This I have tried to include in my own Bio. But not being a writer with the skills that you, along with many of my hub colleagues have, I don't see the good, the bad, or the ugly of my Bio.

      I enjoy doing what I do here on HP, but my hubs are probably like my Bio, all over the place.

      Thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend.

      Ghaelach

    • Rebeccasutton profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      WritingInRichmond, Wow! Thank you! That is the best compliment on HubPages I've gotten to date! I am so happy to hear that I have helped. Get up tomorrow and brew a strong cup of coffee and get to work on that bio! Follow up of you would like, I would love to see what you come up with. Thanks again, and good luck to you!

    • WritingInRichmond profile image

      WritingInRichmond 3 years ago

      This is wonderful and very timely. I have been struggling with writing my personal bio (in case anyone noticed, I have not yet written a bio for my HP). You provided great guidance and have given me a renewed motivation to write my bio. I know what I will be doing this weekend. Thank you!