What is a Bio?
A bio is a detailed description of someone’s life, professional background, education history, achievements, and skill set. Unlike a curriculum vitae, a bio presents a person’s life by highlighting important aspects such as their unique skill set, details of their professional experience, notable projects they are involved in, and an analysis of their personality.
The bio should be authoritative, and it should reflect a person’s level of professional experience and achievements. The information should be written in the third person instead of the first person so that it is useful to the intended audience.
A bio can range from a few words to a page, depending on the intended purpose. For example, when you are scheduled to speak at a professional conference, the event organizer may request a short bio that can range from a few words to a paragraph. It acts as a reference when you are being introduced to the audience.
A bio can also range from a single paragraph to a page – especially in professional social networking sites, such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows professionals to include as much information in their bio so that it captures all of their professional attributes, such as an introduction of who they are, professional credentials, work experience, list of projects they’ve been involved in, and their professional goals.
- A bio is a summary of a person’s professional background, competency, and expertise in their specific fields.
- A bio is used to show a person’s level of professional experience, accomplishments, and skill set.
- It is used on social media profiles, college applications, job applications, company team pages, or on personal websites.
How to Write a Professional Bio
A professional bio serves as an opportunity for a person to showcase their professional background, competencies, aspirations, and areas of expertise. Professional bios are more detailed than social media bios, which allow users to write a short description of who they are and what they do in one to two lines.
Follow the steps below to write an impactful professional bio:
1. Know your audience
Before writing your bio, you should identify the target audience and the purpose of the bio. The bio serves as the first point of contact with your audience, and you should use it to let the audience know who you are, your competencies, and what you do.
Depending on the target audience, the bio can be formal, personalized, or funny. For example, a bio for a college application should be formal since the intended audience is formal. In contrast, a social media bio can be funny and personal.
2. Write in the third person
When written in the third person, the bio appears objective since it is written from a third-person point of view. The third person is required in a formal setting when you do not need to use a personal tone.
For example, a bio written in the third person should be written as “Smith is a credit analyst in New York” rather than “I am a credit analyst in New York.” Personal bios for an online profile can be written in the first person to create a more personalized tone.
3. Mention your first and last name
When writing a bio, you should assume that the audience does not know anything about you. Your first and last name should be the first two words of the bio to allow your audience to easily identify and associate with you. Mention your preferred official names but avoid nicknames and unofficial names. For example, the names should be indicated as follows:
John Smith – John Smith is a senior credit analyst at ABC Bank in New York.
4. State your current position
The bio should provide information about your current position, whether you are employed or if you are the CEO of your company. You should mention the primary responsibilities associated with your current position.
Also, mention your current employer to help paint a picture of your industry experience. If you are currently out of work, list your previous position with your former employer or your current area of expertise.
5. State at least one professional accomplishment
If you’ve earned awards or professional achievements that are relevant to your field, indicate them in the bio. It lets your audience know your achievements and your impact on other people in the industry. An example of a professional accomplishment can be indicated in the bio as follows:
Smith won the prestigious award for innovation for his monthly column in the Insider Times Magazine.
6. Decide whether to include personal details
When writing a professional bio, it is not mandatory to include personal details, such as hobbies, personal history, favorite TV shows, and unique interests. However, including personal details can help paint you as a well-rounded person and will more likely allow your audience to establish a more personal connection with you. Don’t include personal details that are potentially embarrassing to you or your audience. An example of personal details is as follows:
During the weekends, Smith spends his time tending to his garden or hiking with his wife and two daughters.
John Smith is a senior credit analyst at ABC Bank with over a decade of experience in risk analysis for banks and other lending institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the State University of California. Smith is credited with creating a unit in ABC Bank to counteract cyber fraud in the credit department.
He is the organizer of the Annual Credit Risk Trends conference in New York, which brings together professionals from across the United States to discuss credit risk analysis, using technology to manage risk, and how banks can better position themselves to deal with emerging credit risk issues.
At work, Smith developed an internal stress management guide to help employees manage stress and work pressure effectively. During the weekend, he likes to go hunting with his dog Bingo or preparing grilled delicacies in his backyard.
CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional CFI resources below will be useful: