Professional Bio Writer dos and don’ts

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A professional profile needs to make you stand out, without looking puffed up. Here is what a professional bio writer can do for you

As a copywriter, a big part of my income is as a professional bio writer. You might think putting together 200 words about someone else is easy, but it can be challenging. There are some tricks to writing professional biographies. Mostly, it’s about balance. Here’s what one of my written LinkedIn or website bios includes:

An interview style chat

Let’s talk about you! What have you done in your career and what are you doing now? What do you love about your job and what does an average day involve? You might wonder where I am going by asking so many questions but I like to read between the lines and get a feel for you and your career. Quite often, you will make my job easy, throwing out phrases which I can weave through your profile. An example recently was a client who described how he used to go into his Dad’s office and imagine himself one day doing the same thing. It summed up perfectly what I wanted to convey in his profile.

Not too much, not too little

You may have started your career as an assistant to Brad Pitt, but if its not relevant to what you do now, chances are we’ll leave that out of your bio. A good bio can be as few as 100 words or up to 300, however I would be reluctant to write something longer. This is because people tend to skim-read. If there is too much text they get bored or overwhelmed. A bio that is too short seems like it is hiding something. One that is long-winded seems boastful. It is all about finding a happy medium.

It’s all about you (but not really)

Yes, you are the star of you bio. The thing is, the person reading it is only thinking of themselves and what you can offer them. Particularly for a B2C bio, I focus on what the professional can offer the reader. For example, a real estate agent may be the best in her area (and this is important to mention), but the potential client is also looking for customer care and exemplary service. This should be conveyed in the bio as well as her achievements. For example, instead of saying “I have won lots of awards”, I look to add specifics like “I have sold five properties for over $2 million in my local area. As a result, I received the Best Sales Agent award for 2015 and 2016”. When writing for someone who is seeking work, I try to pick out information about what they have helped their company achieve in terms of growth and successful projects.

Avoid the ‘P’ word

Sometimes it works, but generally speaking I try really hard not to write that so-and-so is “passionate” about his career. Passionate is a great word, but it is done to death and it doesn’t go far enough to explain how you will make a difference to your clients or your employer. I prefer to use adjectives which describe your approach, such as ‘thoughtful’, ‘energetic’ or ‘process driven’.

Call to action

On LinkedIn and your website, your bio is another form of marketing. It should serve a purpose to direct business or jobs your way. Unless it is not appropriate, I like to work in a call to action which describes how the customer will benefit e.g. “Get in touch today for an accurate quote on your home renovation”.

Professional Bio Writer – worth the investment

No matter what you do, a professionally written biography is important. You never know when you will be called on to supply one, or when a recruiter or potential customer may be scouting out your profile. Along with a smiling photo, a professional biography is an effective way to build your career. Contact me to talk about an affordable professional profile today.   Clea Sherman is a professional bio writer and freelance copywriter. Her other services include website copy, business blogs, editing and e-books. Photo via  VisualHunt

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