How to Write a Better Professional Bio

Published on February 7, 2024

A professional bio is an important part of your personal brand. It is a short but powerful introduction that summarizes your expertise, unique value and experience. A well-written bio can be used for speaking engagements, media opportunities, investors and clients. Below we share seven highly effective improvements you can make to your professional bio (also known as a corporate bio).

Tips to Improve Your Professional Bio

Writing about yourself is a challenge, and writing in a way that appeals to broad audiences can seem impossible. These strategies ensure you’ll write an informative and engaging bio.

1. Review Your Content

An effective professional bio connects the dots and tells your story. It provides an overall picture of you as a professional, while detailing expertise, industry specialties and what makes you unique.

As with any career-related materials, articulate your value. Don’t just say what you do, show your impact.

  • Have you led digital transformation that significantly reduced costs?
  • Did you develop a go-to-market strategy for new products that increased revenue?
  • Did you oversee M&A to drive global expansion?

These are the details that matter. (Note: The level of detail depends on your purpose and audience.)

Elements to include:

  • Key accomplishments that impacted an organization
  • Board roles (including committee leadership and membership)
  • Major volunteer positions
  • Additional roles (e.g., adjunct professor)
  • Notable professional memberships
  • Awards, publications and certifications

The intended purpose of your bio determines what order to present the information. Therefore, highlight the most relevant content at the beginning of the document. For example, a CFO’s bio for a company’s website should begin with experience relevant to the role.

When to create separate bios

Don’t force a professional bio to perform double duties. For instance, if you’re pursuing a board position, you’ll need a board bio, which is a bit different. What they have in common is that the most relevant information always goes first. Board bios begin with board-relevant experience to provide credibility to your candidacy.

“When crafting a professional bio, don’t just say what you do, show your impact.”

2. Determine Length

It's a good idea to prepare a longer, more detailed bio and a short professional bio as an alternative. For example, a speaker introduction may warrant a shorter version, whereas more detail is appropriate when linking to your bio in an event invitation. If your bio is on a company website, ensure it’s similar in length to those of other executives.

If you’re not sure what length is appropriate, don’t be afraid to ask for guidelines. Neither version should exceed one page. Remember, the professional bio should give an overview, not an exhaustive account.

3. Choose the Right Voice

The most common, and formal, voice for a bio is the third person. For example, John Smith is Chief Financial Officer of XYZ Company. However, some organizations encourage a more approachable first-person voice: I’m John Smith, Chief Financial Officer of XYZ Company.

Bios in a group should always use the same voice for consistency. For example, a company featuring executive team or regional management bios on their website should share the same voice (i.e., all third or all first-person).

4. Tell Your Story

Focus on crafting an engaging narrative about the person you are today and how you got there. Statements without color or background are less interesting. Bios are not written for people who already know you and know your story. People want to know how you got to where you are and what makes you unique.

Consider your bio as a document that evolves with you. As you advance in your career and add to your accomplishments, revisit your bio occasionally. Ensure that it is current and speaks to who you are as a professional today (not several years ago). Remember to update titles, board roles, professional designations and certifications.

5. Use Prose

A bio isn’t a laundry list of past jobs. While bullet points look great for organizing information on a resume, they’re not suited for a professional bio. Instead, use prose to weave between topics as you tell your career story. Use distinct transitions at the start of each paragraph to facilitate reader interest and engagement.

6. Show Your Passion and Values

People are often curious to learn what motivates professionals -- the why is just as important as the what. Remember to incorporate your passion for what you do to help others gain a better sense of who you are as an individual. This is especially important for leaders, as the rest of the team looks to them to model their own personal branding.

If you joined a company because of its commitment to sustainability or another cause, share that in your bio. Now more than ever, consumers want to know that a company shares similar core values before they make a buying decision. Executive bios reflect the company as a whole.

7. Consistency is Key

Above all, consistency in telling your story is key to a strong personal brand. Once you’ve written a compelling professional bio, make sure it aligns with your LinkedIn profile, resume and other online profiles. When in person, how you introduce yourself and tell your story should also align with your bio.

Building Brand Consistency for Your Company

Besides building a consistent brand for yourself, you can help increase brand consistency for your company with your bio. When the structure and tone of executive bios are strong and consistent, brand trust grows. Learn more about how corporate bio alignment impacts the company brand in our article, Corporate Bios: A Critical Tool To Elevate A Company Brand.

Summary

A professional bio is a highly visible tool used in many ways online and offline. It’s an important reflection of your personal brand. Be sure to choose the right voice and elements to include based on its specific purpose. Update it regularly, have alternative versions if necessary -- and always be consistent!

More Insights
Blog CTA - Point Road Group does branding differently. | Point Road Group
Blog CTA: Tell your story with impact. | Point Road Group

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