How to Write a Short Professional Bio
In today's high-paced, cyber-fueled job market, a professional bio is a useful networking tool that provides a snapshot of your career goals, field of study, and interests in a brief readable narrative, generally about one to two paragraphs long. Written in an objective third person point of view, your bio gives potential employers a sense of who you are and what you've accomplished in a professional tone with just a hint of personality.
Pinpoint Your Professional Passion
Introduce yourself, using your full name in the first sentence, with a succinct overview of your professional focus and educational studies. Enrich your story by selecting relevant background information that illustrates how a particular event, role model or experience sparked your interest in your field. Establish why your chosen career matters to you.
For example, "Lisa Brady is a senior at the University of New Hampshire where she is majoring in English with a focus on education. One day her favorite high school English teacher unlocked the magic of Shakespeare with a hilarious one-person spontaneous performance of a scene from As You Like It. He taught her how great stories can help people to better understand each other. Ever since, she has wanted to engage young people in the joy of literature."
Toot Your Horn
In the body, highlight one or two significant experiences that demonstrate your expertise and ability to succeed. If you have already worked in your field, you can describe an impressive workplace contribution. Detail how you improved a procedure or took initiative to learn something new or create a positive change.
If you are just entering your field, perhaps you have applied your skills as a member of an organization to make a difference on campus, completed an important project that added to a class experience or traveled and gained insight about a different culture. The goal is to show how you will contribute value to a potential employer. Quantify your achievements with measurable data if possible.
Wrap It Up With Flair
The best professional bios inspire your reader to connect with you. Handpick a couple of hobbies that relate to your field -- activities you may have in common with your audience. If you are in solar technology, mention that you have hiked all of New England's 4,000-foot peaks. Humor can also work well, for example: "Though Laura is happily learning to play the fiddle, her cat rapidly exits the room when she removes it from the case." Don't forget to include volunteer or community service experience. A great way to wind up is to note an interesting upcoming project, and the last sentence should identify your city and state of residence.
Keep It Current
Since you will gain more expertise as you spend time in your career, take time to review and update your bio regularly, as your career focus may shift. Ensure that your overview accurately reflects your current passions and goals. Replace outdated experiences with recent accomplishments. You may also wish to create different versions of your bio, from an extremely short one-sentence description to a detailed full page.
A resident of Vermont, Kyle Cushman has been an educator for more than 17 years and has written education articles for the Learning Center Newsletter, The Master Teacher and Education Update. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an Master of Arts in writing from the University of New Hampshire.