Let us be clear at the start. When we speak about biography examples, we are not talking about books that tell a life story, but about brief biography clips that we can use for our daily needs. Usually, those have a purpose in our business, personal promotion, like an excerpt from a more detailed curriculum vitae (CV). As such, they represent a form of a writing specialty.
Essentially, such a bio, biography example, has to be a brief paragraph or a few sentences that will grab the attention of persons reading it. And it should not take too much of their time. But, also it has to present the key points in a punchy, interesting way. Most of these biographies serve professional purposes and they in many aspects represent a form of business professional writing.
These short bios, as employment experts Indeed point out, “are concise, biographical paragraphs that professionals use to introduce themselves. You can often find short bios on social media profiles, personal websites, and company team directories. Short bios are typically used to provide a summary of an individual’s accomplishments, an overview of their career history, and a description of their professional goals.”
As Lindsay Kolowich Cox notes, many people ask themselves, “how many people read professional bios, anyway?” Her answer is quite simple – a lot of people. “There’s no way to tell exactly who is reading it — and you always want it to be ready for when the right people come across it. And when they do, you want it to catch their eye.”
“While your resume is only useful for when you’re actively applying for specific positions, your professional bio is much more visible. It can live on your LinkedIn profile, your company’s website, … and many other places.”
Biography examples – the question you need to answer beforehand
As with any writing, there are a number of approaches to writing a short bio, as numerous biography examples online show. You can go at it from scratch, use one or more of the numerous biography templates available, or you can decide to engage the services of a professional, specialized writer. A ghostwriter of sorts, if you will.
If you decide to go all the way on your own, the first thing you should do is gather information and inspiration. To do that, you would need to pose yourself, you should ask yourself the questions Charlie Mendoza at Envato Tuts Plus does:
- Who will read your bio? “A bio for a freelance designer’s website should be different than the one used in your employer’s website, even if you’ve got the same job function in both cases.”
- What does your audience need to know? If you are reaching out to recruiters, you will need to list your professional experience, skills, and academic background. If you are an entrepreneur, then it is your services and how they will benefit potential customers.
- The information your audience needs is? The answer to this question is more about “the underlying feelings you evoke in the people working with you.” This could be traits like trustworthiness in accountants or patience and creativity in trainers.
- What do the bio readers get? The answer should specify “the problem or goal your audience can accomplish with your help.”
- My story is…? Here, you should point out what sets you apart and/or what are your core values.
- How should the readers react to your bio? You always have to include the means on how those who are interested in your bio should contact you.
How to write a short bio with biography examples
HubSpot (above) gives an example of a short bio from one of its professionals to show how they think it should be done:
“Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads and close customers. Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.”
Why do they think this short biography example works? Because, in their opinion, it captures the author’s brand and what he has to offer to his audience that can make any individual within it “grow better.”
The above example is essentially a formal show bio. It presents the person in a light that presents the most important information. At the same time, it doesn’t list accomplishments like a robot and doesn’t cram as much professional-sounding jargon as possible.
At the same time, a personal bio, even a professional one could have an informal, even humorous tone. Here are two examples presented by Enchanting Marketing:
“The relentlessly helpful technical copywriter. B2B copywriting for websites & blogs. Free blogging guide: http://espirian.co.uk/business-blogging/ … #UnclogYourBlog”
“Delicate as a hand grenade. Learn how to write a ridiculously good blog for your business: https://deblogacademie.nl”
As you may have noticed, the above two examples are specifically tailored for use on social media, like Twitter. While they might seem too brief and deceptively simple, they get to the point and can easily grab the attention of practically any reader. Also, it is obvious that these examples were handled by persons who have experience as professional writers and copywriters.
The process of writing a short bio
Both HubSpot and Indeed essentially agree on the steps that you need to take when you write a short bio, a biography example.
- First step: choose a voice. This means that you have to decide whether you want to present your bio in a first (“I” and ‘me”) or third (“she” and “he”) voice. Bios with a more formal tone use the third voice.
- Second step: stating the name and job title. This is the information that you need to include in your first sentence. HubSpot example: “Sarah Hayes is the Senior Marketing Director for Blooming Street Creative”
- Third step: State your philosophy. Essentially, here you should answer the question, ‘why I do what I do?’ It can be your personal philosophy, your professional philosophy (motto), or even both.
- Fourth step: Present your accomplishments. In a resume, you would probably present these in a form of a list understandable to professionals in the know. But in a short bio, you will need to “describe them in a way that any reader can understand. Instead of describing yourself as a “Carthage award-winning graphic artist,” you might write that you are a “multi-talented graphic artist who won the 2019 Carthage Award for artistic excellence and innovation.” Be careful to pick and chose your accomplishments according to the purpose the show bio needs to serve.
Other elements and specific biography examples
But how should you approach the methodology of writing a short bio? Here are the three tips HubSpot points to:
- Conciseness – Most short bios don’t go beyond four to eight sentences. So, the author has quite a limited space to present personal information.
- Being human – You need to present yourself as a human being, as your readers are. “A well-written short bio will give your reader an accurate impression of who you are, both professionally and personally.”
- Authenticity – “Authenticity and sincerity is the best option when writing a short bio.” When highlighting your strengths, you need to avoid any possible exaggeration. After all, you’ll have to live up to your promises at some point or other.
So what would specific biography examples look like in the first and third person?
- First-person (HubSpot): “My name is Alex Drysdale and I am a Junior Web Developer for Oswald Technologies. I am an accomplished coder and programmer, and I enjoy using my skills to contribute to the exciting technological advances that happen every day at Oswald Tech. I graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development. While in school, I earned the 2015 Edmund Gains Award for my exemplary academic performance and leadership skills.”
- Third-person (Indeed): “John Sullivan is a Human Resources specialist with a decade of successful experience in hiring and employee management. John specializes in Human Resource technologies and regularly attends national training sessions to showcase new HR tech trends, such as self-service, wellness apps, and people analytics tools. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in the workplace, John regularly develops internal wellness campaigns to assist employees with effective mental health techniques. John enjoys a good Netflix binge but can also be found on long bike rides on hilly country roads.”
Should you do it your way, or should you hire a professional?
Sure, it may sound easy and as something that shouldn’t take too much of your time. But is that so? After all, don’t prominent artists, musicians, and chefs always point out that it is those seemingly simple things that are the hardest to do? If you take a closer look at the examples in the above text, you will probably come to the same conclusion.
This may indicate the reason why there are so many short bio templates available online. They are all more or less ready-made and easy to use. In most cases, all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
But there, you have to ask yourself a question. How many people will use the same template that you like? And then another – how many of the absolutely same templates has your target readership read so far?
As with any other professional writing, there are specialists that concentrate on CVs resumes, short bios, biography examples in general. Taking a look at all of the above information, you might come to the decision that engaging a professional writer for this purpose is the right way to go. If so, here at BunnyStudio, we can surely connect you with a freelancer or freelancers that will suit your needs in this respect.