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#FridayFact: The Best Bio Isn’t About You

#FridayFact: The Best Bio Isn’t About You published on 21 Comments on #FridayFact: The Best Bio Isn’t About You

You? by Shawn Rossi on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 licenseToday’s #FridayFact may seem contradictory. How can your professional bio NOT be about you? The answer is that it’s all about perspective—or to be more specific, about your reader’s perspective.

The goal for your professional bio (just like the goal for a resume or job application cover letter) is not simply to present all the facts of your life. Instead, it’s to present information about your life in such a way that convinces your readers something about yourself. You might be trying to convince

  • Coworkers that you will collaborate well with them.
  • Upper management that you are a great asset for the company.
  • Potential clients that you have what it takes to meet their needs.
  • The public that you care about something (like the environment or human rights).

In other words, you are telling your readers about yourself, but you are presenting the information in such a way that shows you care about what your readers think.

The Copyblogger article “How to Write an About Page” explains this point well, advising writers to try the following:

  • Talk about the problems you solve.
  • Talk about how you can help.
  • Talk about what they’re interested in.

As they conclude, “Yes, it’s a spot for you to talk about yourself—but only in the context of how you serve your readers.”

As you think about your professional bio, consider how you can present details about yoursle in ways that will persuade your readers something about yourself. You can even suggest some strategies you can try in the comments here to get some feedback from your classmates.

 

Photo credit: You? by Shawn Rossi on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license


 

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Tyler Schaal
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Tyler Schaal

Personally, when I think of professional bios, it is a tool to learn more about a person you work with or may be your leader. When I joined the VTCC and the Army program, we were expected to read all of the professional bios and retain the important information. In doing so, we received information in a nut shell about each of the staff members leading and training us in our leadership development program. In my professional bio, I hope to provide who I am as a human, where I come from, what I have done thus far in my life, and ultimately, how I can be an asset to any team.

Katie
Guest
Katie

The phrase “how you serve your readers” brings an interested idea to my mind. This makes me think of explicitly saying in your professional bio that you are trustworthy, hardworking, responsible, etc. Similar to a resume, I think it is important that you get these personality and work traits to come across, but you do so through sharing the experiences that gave you these traits. Your experiences, education, and jobs have shaped how you act as a person so including those in your professional bio should be sufficient to show yourself off.

Danielle Lehman
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Danielle Lehman

I find the topic of this daily post to be interesting. Usually when I think of a professional bio, I think it is going to be all about the person. However, this post and article show that you have to convey your points in the bio to make the company, client, or whoever is reading it to believe in the points you are trying to make. It makes sense though that you will want to allow the people see who you are as a person, but also how you might contribute the the team. For my professional bio, I might mention times at my internship when I have been a team player and helped someone out, even if it wasn’t my task to work on.

Katya
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Katya

This article kind of made me feel bad/self-conscious about my bio rough draft, but I think that may have been the point? If you feel the same way, you shouldn’t have to change the facts that you wrote about, just change the tone in which you present them. Instead of simply stating that you accomplished something, maybe describe a little about what it took to learn a topic or why you chose to pursue an internship.

Alex Ford
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Alex Ford

In a way, this article presents professional bio building in the same way you would build a resume – tailored specifically to your audience. In much the same way as you would create or revise a resume for a specific company or purpose, so too can a professional bio be created with a specific goal in mind. Just like your resume is a very important tool for landing a job, your professional bio can also be used to solidify your position or prove to your employer that you are a good fit for the job. I believe it is important to keep this in mind as we go about creating our professional bios.

Ben White
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Ben White

I also find this to be an interesting concept. The more I think about it, the more I realize how true it is. Many times, I have looked up my professors or my interviewers to learn a little bit about them. If I know about their interests and skills, I will be able to understand about how they will run a class or how I can connect with them. Looking at my rough draft, I need to make a few changes to my draft. I think if I look at it through the lens of someone else, I will be able to make some changes and improve it.

Abigail Wasson
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Abigail Wasson

Before reading this article, I never thought a Bio wouldn’t be about me. Talking about how you work well with others will show more about you than bragging about yourself the whole time. Also, I like how the article mentioned mistake 3. Having a professional photo included in your bio is an important aspect. Reading about who you are is great, however, when one can connect a face to a name, it is more memorable.

Jeremy C.
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Jeremy C.

I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I believe it is crucial to think in terms of your audience even on pieces of writing that showcase yourself. It is of utmost importance to empathize with your reader because the goal is for your professional bio to be *read*. The key is to deliver relatable information to the reader instead of regurgitating content about yourself. This will ensure a lasting impact on the reader’s mind.

Mackenzie Knox
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Mackenzie Knox

This post did not come as a surprise to me. As I wrote my initial draft of my professional bio, I kept my audience in mind. I am writing to convince them of how I can be beneficial to them. You can list a bunch of skills and accomplishments but if you don’t effectively communicate how you utilize them, it’s almost meaningless. Many people claim to be organized but how does your special variety of organization benefit the reader and convince them that yours is more meaningful than a competitor.

Faizal Zulkifli
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Faizal Zulkifli

What I actually plan for my professional bio is to put it in a way that somehow helps me to know how I can make the reader have interest in me but not being too vain about it. It is just simply the matter on how I organize my experiences and achievements to be just sufficient enough as what I want to offer to the reader which may be the management of a company or clients. However, satisfying all these people or capturing their attention may actually be quite stressful to be thinking about so just like the article suggested is that I just use my own writing voice instead which means not trying too hard and be comfortable in presenting about myself to the readers.

Mark Marut
Guest
Mark Marut

After reading the external link, it’s interesting because it seems like there needs to be a balance between how much information you share. Even though you want the reader to get a good idea of who you are as a person, I think it is important to limit how much detail you put into the bio. You want the reader to feel connected to you, but sharing every life detail may give away too much, or you may say something that the reader does not like because you were being too detailed. Having a bio is essentially like a first impression, it usually will have a photo of who you are, and the information in it should be information that you would tell a recruiter if it was the first time you were meeting them, and you were trying to get an interview.

Matt
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Matt

I think that this is an interesting perspective on the Bio that I hadn’t really considered before, but it makes perfect sense once you think about it. If a Bio was just for the person writing it then most people wouldn’t bother having bios about themselves, but of course the real purpose is to sell yourself in some way. The opinion of the person reading it could be important, because it’s likely the first way outsiders would familiarize themselves with you or your company, and creating a favorable first impression is obviously very important. Reading the post makes me think that a bio in real life is more important than I previously thought.

Josh Detwiler
Guest
Josh Detwiler

I definitely think about Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” from reading this. It’s about audience, even when we’re pitching ourselves. Nobody wants to hear a stream of personal facts if they’re irrelevant to what that person is wanting to hear. Even when pitching ourselves, it’s about finding what the other person wants to know about us. Employers are seeking a certain employee, and clients are seeking a certain service or business. Like the recruiter analyzing resumes, “we only move toward what moves us” (Carnegie 36).

Khang Lieu
Guest
Khang Lieu

I’ve always thought that an about me page, or a personal bio, was just for telling others who you are. But I’ve never thought about how important it is to also have a direction in your personal bio, to convince them something about yourself or just in general. Most professional bios I’ve seen were straight forward and plain, and pretty boring now that I think about it. In the article linked, the writer recommended writing your bio in your own voice, and to be yourself. I’ve never seen the importance of having a bio until now, and the article has some great tips to help me fix up my professional bio.

Christian Arroz
Guest
Christian Arroz

I believe a huge part of connecting with others through a professional bio should be the traits and activities you choose to disclose. I agree with Jeremy that this piece of literature should impose a lasting impression on the reader. The perfect level of vagueness can cause a connection. For example, stating interest in a particular genre of shows on Netflix can spark a conversation and expose knowledge on a subject not many others may know about. Relatable, but, unique is the impression that sticks to me as a reader the most.

Mariel Jastrebsky
Guest
Mariel Jastrebsky

I agree with the statement about having something unique and vague because I’ve never thought of that before. If you’re saying that you like outdoor activities that opens a gateway for more discussion on the types of things you do outside, and it’s also memorable because the information you’re presenting isn’t boring.

Mariel Jastrebsky
Guest
Mariel Jastrebsky

I liked the article because it made me re-think my professional bio page. When they talked about how a professional bio is not all about you, it’s about marketing the skills you have to show what you can do for the company. I didn’t realize that part, and it made me think about how to make my writing less boring and more interesting so that people will be inclined to read it. Also potential employers will be looking at your bio to see what you can offer them.

Cassie Bienert
Guest
Cassie Bienert

I have never written a professional Bio before but I did use this article to revise my first draft. I specifically edited it to add more personal details so that my readers would be able to get to know me and so that my bio has a more personable tone. In one of the articles in the class page about how to write a professional bio, it says to include extracurriculars, events, and background stories in your bio. This is a great way to add a “personality” to your bio but I think you should stick to a theme. You should include activities and events that are relevant to your audience – similar to how you would highlight skills and experience relevant to a specific job on a resume.

Regarding the picture. I know it should be professional but what do you think about adding a little creativity to it? I know in veterinarians’ bios, they are usually posing with a cute animal. How do you balance professionalism and personality? The picture is a good way to draw in readers and make them remember you.

Katie
Guest
Katie

I liked this article–a lot of ideas that swirled around in my head that I wanted to convey in my professional bio where written down in explainable terms. I think that the suggestion that you’re writing to an audience it extremely important. The language you use helps convey personality traits that would otherwise be indescribable on paper. I personally find that the voice of the person writing is what draws me in way more often than the content of what they’re saying does. In selling who you are to a person reading a computer screen, this is crucial.

Zachary Cohen
Guest
Zachary Cohen

I thought this article was pretty interesting. I very much agree with the premise that your about page isn’t about you, but that it’s about the person reading your about page. Any time that a person writes anything about themself, it’s important that they make what they’re saying about themself relevant to the person reading it. My biggest disagreement with the article was their viewpoint on adding a picture of yourself. It varies from scenario to scenario, but I think typically, adding a picture of yourself on to anything that is going to people who haven’t met you yet is a risky move. The article says the a photo gives the reader a sense of who you are, but it could just as easily give them the wrong sense of who you really are.

Kimberly
Guest
Kimberly

The title of this post initially threw me off, but after reading it began to make sense. While reading, I immediately began to recall all of the times throughout the process of planning my wedding that I have left a vendor’s website because I couldn’t find any information about what their business could offer me as a customer. Plenty of them talk about their previous experiences and highlight their comments from their previous customers, but they do not explain what they have to offer to potential customers. Then, I began to think about how I would apply this to myself and my personal bio, especially since I have never had to write something like this before. I generally have a hard time writing and talking about myself, but I feel that with the help of these tips this process will be made easier.

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