Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Personal Bio That Draws Attention

March 12, 2021

Key takeaways:

  • Before starting, take some time to establish the main purpose of your bio.
  • Be concise, only including the most important and relevant information for the reader.
  • Write in the third person and use your personal tone and voice where appropriate.

Learning how to write a personal bio is crucial to staying competitive in today’s job market. Writing an engaging and concise personal bio can be made easier with a few simple tips. In this article, we discuss what a personal bio is, what goes into writing it and how to make it noticeable.

What is a personal bio?

A personal biography is a concise introduction that provides a summarized version of your professional accomplishments, your credentials and education, and other information that makes you who you are. Personal bios are often used when seeking employment to provide hiring managers with a synopsis of why you are the ideal candidate for the job. They can also be used on networking platforms and professional websites.

How to write a personal bio

One of the hardest parts of writing your biography is just getting started. Allow yourself the time to focus to include all the details you want to convey in a concise and efficient manner. Follow these guidelines to create a personal bio that could catch the attention of prospective employers: 

  1. Introduce yourself.
  2. Keep it concise.
  3. Use third person.
  4. Write strategically.
  5. Include your contact information.
  6. Edit thoroughly.

1. Introduce yourself

Start your bio with a brief introduction that shows who you are. The first sentence should include your name followed by a few important details you want to highlight, such as your education, certifications or achievements. 

After a strong introductory sentence, include your passions, values and general outlook on life by considering aspects of yourself in these four areas: 

  • Skills: What can you bring to a certain position or company? What have you trained in or mastered?

  • Attributes: What factors make you good at what you do?

  • Personal values: What values helped shape who you are today? What helped drive you to your current line of work?

  • Professional values: What do you value most in a company you work for? What goals do you have in your professional life?

Include other pertinent details such as your current job title, the industry you work in and what your job duties cover. These details are important for prospective employers searching for you on professional platforms.

2. Keep it concise

Start with a word count in mind. It can vary depending on the purpose and focus of the biography, but having a word limit can help you streamline your content.

Personal biographies on a resume or a job-search site should be a single paragraph or a few short paragraphs that describe who you are. It is best to keep this type of personal bio between 300 and 500 words. Shorter bios are meant to capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to read the rest of your resume. Keep it simple and engaging. 

If you are writing your bio for your professional website, it should be around 1,500 to 2,000 words. Keep details short and concise but include as many as possible. 

The main items your bio should include are:

  • Purpose: Why are you writing your bio? To address clients and customers? Obtain a job? What do you hope to convey to those who are reading your bio? 

  • Accomplishments: What professional goals have you reached? Have you been honored with awards? Did you meet or exceed your job responsibilities?

  • History: What aspects of your personal background brought you to this current stage in your life? What events of your personal life shaped your career path?

  • Education and credentials: What is your educational background? Where did you go to school? What did you study? Were you recognized with any educational awards or certifications?

If there is a lot of information you want to include, organize the most important details first to encourage reading further. Remove any information that doesn’t relate to your bio’s purpose.

3. Use third person

It may feel strange or even challenging to write about yourself. Since it’s a biography and not an autobiography, it should be written as though someone else is writing about you. 

While some first-person biographies can be effective, writing in the third person allows you to include your full name. This strategy is better for search engine optimization because it tells search engines that the piece is about you. One thing to be mindful of when writing in the third person is to avoid overusing your name. It should seem like a natural inclusion. 

4. Write strategically

While you want to mention your many achievements, avoid creating an extensive list. 

If you find it hard to get started, consider asking yourself:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you what them to learn from your bio?
  • What life events can you include to illustrate these points?

Differentiate yourself from others by writing a compelling story that others can read to get to know more about you. Include stories that inspired you to pursue your current career or shaped your professional goals. These formative anecdotes can provide readers a personal understanding of your interest in your field, your passion and your core values.

5. Include your contact information

Your biography is the first step in connecting you with others. A contact information section can encourage readers to communicate with you as it makes you appear open and approachable. This information should include:

  • Your email address
  • A link to your contact page
  • Links to your professional social media platforms

Your contact information should be at the end of your bio and easily visible.

6. Edit thoroughly

Your biography is a reflection of you as a writer and editor. Be sure to proofread your personal bio for grammatical and spelling errors before publishing it. Here are some tips to edit and refine your personal bio:

  • Avoid editing as you go so you can focus on your writing, and then edit it as a whole once complete.

  • Read your piece aloud to catch grammatical errors and find areas where the structure could be improved.

  • Use online editing software to grade your piece in terms of readability.

  • Ask family, friends and coworkers to provide honest feedback and an outside perspective on what can be improved.

Editing is just one important step to making sure your personal bio is the most professional representation of your background, accomplishments and character.

Related: Guide to Writing a Bio (With Examples)

How to make your personal bio noticeable

Now that you know how to craft your personal bio, let’s look at some easy tips for optimizing your bio to distinguish you from your competition:

  1. Link to your portfolio.
  2. Use humor where appropriate.
  3. Utilize SEO.
  4. Optimize your online presence.

1. Link to your portfolio

Your personal bio is a marketing tool. If you are using your personal bio for an online networking profile or on your professional website, consider linking to any work or mention of your accomplishments available online. Here are some tactics to integrate your portfolio and credentials into your personal bio:

  • Anchor words: Find natural anchor words in the text, and add a relevant link to your work. This strategy provides easy, direct links from your content to your portfolio. It also helps you promote yourself and your current work. Limit the number of links, and highlight your best and most impressive work.

  • Contact info: Also include the website address of your portfolio or other personal work, and hyperlink it in your contact information. 

  • Call-to-action: End your bio with a blurb to contact you or review your online portfolio, linking them to the appropriate web pages on your site.

There are many digital portfolio platforms to showcase your work, whether it’s graphic design, coding, writing or another industry. Providing links to these and other online platforms makes it easy for readers to connect your background to examples of your work.

2. Use humor where appropriate

While you should keep your tone professional throughout, consider ending with an anecdotal story or some tasteful and fun humor. This element can personalize your bio and leave your audience with a good impression. It’s okay to be a little quirky as long as it’s not considered offensive or unprofessional. A good rule of thumb is to match your humor or joke to appropriate HR standards.

3. Utilize SEO

Another important step to finalizing your personal biography is optimizing your presence in online searches. Your biography should be search engine friendly, and in terms of search results, longer biographies fare better. Search engines prefer lengthier pieces with original content, so keep the longer bios to the 1,500 to 2,000-word range for optimization. For shorter bios, be sure to use third person for stronger SEO. Other tips include:

  • Use relevant keywords related to your industry or position.
  • Include links to your social media sites.
  • Add a high-resolution professional photo.
  • Include internal links to your website or outside work where relevant.

You can use SEO analyzers that check your profiles for strong branding and search engine credentials. Many of these programs offer tips on how to improve content after it is analyzed.

4. Optimize your online presence

A well-crafted bio is extremely important, but it is only a portion of your personal branding. It needs to connect with the rest of your online presence. Here are some important steps to take:

  • Make sure all the posts and photos on your websites, portfolios and social media sites are professional.

  • Search your name to check for inappropriate or incorrect information.

  • Check to see that your skills and tone are consistent across all channels.

Once you have finalized your biography, check that the rest of your online profiles convey a consistent and compelling message you want prospective employers and other readers to come away with. The tone and branding should match over all your sites.

Related: How to Write a Quick and Effective “About Me”

Example of a personal bio

Below is a shortened version of a personal bio that includes many of the necessary details outlined above.

Sam Johnson has spent his life using his personal and career experiences to help his clients overcome post-traumatic stress disorder and provide them with the support they need when their life seems to be more than they can handle. As the son of a Vietnam veteran, he knows how post-traumatic stress can affect every facet of one’s life as well as the lives of their loved ones. While his focus is on veteran care, he also provides services for children, adults and families who are dealing with traumatic situations of their own.

He knows there is no single approach that works for everyone, so he continues to educate himself on emerging therapies and psychological trends to provide the most comprehensive program that works for each of his client’s individual needs. He has experience in Gestalt Play Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Relational Gestalt Therapy and many others.

He received his education at the University of Massachusetts with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology. He also holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Michigan State University. He is an avid researcher, and his work has been published in Psychology Today and American Psychologist.

Sam is currently in private practice in Boston where he lives with his wife and two young children.

Connect with Sam:
Email: s.johnson@professionalwebsite.com
Networking Site: s.johnson

No one knows you better than you know yourself. Showcase your accomplishments and help your audience truly understand who you are, what you stand for and why you’re passionate about what you do. Check out Indeed for more tips on getting hired and to find opportunities to move your career forward.

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