Whether you’re looking to attract new clients, on the hunt for a new job or recently accomplished something big, it’s important to keep your professional bio relevant and up to date. Many potential employers, clients and industry professionals are looking online to learn more about you (often it’s the first place they’ll look!), and you should always have the most recent and significant details on display.
It can be difficult to write about yourself, but there are a few basic rules you can follow to make the task a little easier.
Here are 5 things you need to know before updating your professional bio:
Before writing or updating a professional bio, be sure you know exactly what your goal is (what it is you want your audience to know) and adjust your bio accordingly. If you’re looking to attract new clients, clearly state what you can do for them and why you’re qualified to do so. If you’re looking for a job, only use relevant strengths and experience in your bio—for instance, you might have spent many years as a bartender, but if you’re looking to get into commercial law, this might not be worth discussing in depth (you should, however, mention a particular skill you learned as a bartender that would prove valuable in commercial law, like working with the public).
Think of your professional bio as one small part of an entire package that you’re selling to a potential client, partner or employer. Other parts of this package might include a resume, work portfolio, references and a meeting or interview. When you consider this, it’s obvious that your professional bio should be short, concise and to the point. It’s not necessary to include an entire list of your job history, qualifications or all of your strengths and weaknesses here—these things will be addressed in other parts of your pitch or application.
The generic professional bio templates available online are a good place to start, but you won’t stand out unless your bio is uniquely yours. When everyone uses the same templates, legalese and buzzwords, they start to lose their meaning. Be sure your professional bio sounds like you and doesn’t follow the exact same format as others in your industry. You can also let your personality shine a little—mention a hobby or interest, or your favourite way to spend a weekend.
One mistake people often make in a professional bio is declaring what they want, such as, “I want to gain experience as a financial advisor,” or “I want to grow my business to x,” instead of explaining what they can do for the client or company, such as, “I hope to bring my passion and experience helping people achieve their financial goals in a position as a financial advisor”. Potential employers and clients want to know how they’ll benefit from hiring you, not the other way around.
An incredibly written professional bio is worthless if a potential connection can’t identify or contact you. It’s important to keep yourself noticeable by including your full name, a clear, bright photo and always including contact information in your bio or at the bottom of your website. Today more than ever, people are looking to work with and give their business to an individual person over a faceless corporation. Let them get to know you!