In today's fast-paced, social media-driven world, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Whether you're trying to land a new job or get noticed by a potential employer, one way to make sure you're remembered is to have a short professional bio on hand.
Why? Because in just a few sentences, you can give a potential employer or client a snapshot of who you are and what you do. And if you're carefully thoughtful about what you include, your professional bio can also be an effective marketing tool, helping you to attract new clients and business opportunities.
So if you're looking for a way to make sure you're always remembered, consider crafting a short professional bio. It just might be the secret weapon you've been missing.
What is a short bio?
A short professional bio is a brief introduction to your work history, skills, and qualifications. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your career. Unlike a resume – which is a dry recitation of facts – or a personal biography about your personal life, a short professional bio is an opportunity to show off your personality and give potential employers a sense of what you're like to work with.
So don't be afraid to be creative, and don't be afraid to let your voice shine through – you can even think of it as a personal professional bio. After all, this is your chance to make a great first impression.
Where do you use a short bio?
A short bio can be used anywhere you need to present your professional accomplishments succinctly. That could be your professional webpage, LinkedIn summary, a resume, a presentation, your personal website, or a submission for a conference. You’ll probably have to tweak it slightly for each purpose, but having a standard short bio worked out is super helpful when you’re ready to do that.
How to write a short bio
The key to writing a short bio is to Keep It Short and Simple (KISS). In other words, don't try to cram your life story into a few sentences — just hit the highlights. Write in the third person and use active language to describe your accomplishments.
And don't be afraid to show some personality. After all, people want to know what makes you unique.
At the minimum, makes sure your bio includes:
- Your name
- Professional statement
- What you do
- Your accomplishments
- Your goals
- A personal fact (if appropriate)
- Contact info (if appropriate)
- Call to action (if appropriate)
Now here’s what writing a personable professional bio looks like in greater detail:
- Introduce yourself. State your name, occupation, and any notable achievements. For example, "My name is Lashawn Evans. I am a freelance writer with 10 years of experience and bylines in major publications."
- Describe your motivations. Why do you do what you do? What drives you to succeed? For example, "I love writing and helping others communicate their ideas. I am motivated by the challenge of learning new things and by the satisfaction of a job well done."
- Describe accomplishments. What have you achieved in your field? For example, "I have written for several major publications, been quoted in The New York Times, and given speeches at national conferences.”
- Highlight some goals. What are you hoping to achieve? For example, “My ultimate goal is to run my own content marketing agency that helps underserved communities thrive in the digital world.
- Include contact information. Include your website, blog, Twitter handle, or other contact information. But only add it if it’s something the reader will need, like an email signature. A lot of people choose not to add it in places where people they wouldn’t like to have it can get their hands on it, like a website bio. This is also where you can include your call to action, by asking people to reach out via email or DM.
Tips for writing a great short bio
Now that you know what the meat of your short bio is, let’s throw in a little bit of sauce to spice it up. Keep these tips in mind for writing a truly stand-out short bio.
- Keep the length appropriate. Keep it concise: A professional bio should be no more than a few sentences long. Aim for around 100-200 words.
- Make it relevant to the audience. Who is reading this bio? Is it a professional community? A reader on a website? A recruiter? A marketing manager? Tweak each version to fit the target audience.
- Proofread for typos and errors. A few typos can quickly turn an otherwise great bio into an embarrassment. Make sure to read over your bio several times before hitting send. Or, better yet, ask a trusted friend or colleague to take a look as well.
- Make it true to you. If your working style is kind of irreverent, it’s okay to make your bio kind of irreverent, too. The goal of your bio is open up new professional opportunities for you, so show them who you really are. (While still staying professional, of course.
- Link to your professional sites. Be sure to include any portfolio sites, professional websites, or networking profiles, like LinkedIn, that might be relevant.
- Make it memorable. No one wants to read a boring bio, so make sure yours is full of personality and intrigue. Share an interesting story or funny anecdote that will capture your reader's attention.
Short bio templates
You can also use a short bio template to help you get started. Here’s a first person and a third person one for you to fill in the blanks. (Note: Although we generally recommend third person bios, for search engine reasons, there are instances where you’ll need a first person one, like on some freelance marketplaces.)
Third person bio template
[Name] is a [insert profession] with [number of years] of experience. [Pronoun] has a strong interest in [insert passion] and has [insert accomplishments]. Outside of work, [name] enjoys spending time [insert hobby] with [person or pet].
First person bio template
I am a [insert profession] and have been working in the field for [number of years]. I am passionate about [insert passion] and enjoy [insert hobby]. I am excited to [insert goal and I am also an [insert additional skill(s)].
Examples of great short bios of freelancers
Sometimes the best way to learn is to imitate the greats. Check out these three great short bio from successful freelancers as models for how to craft your own.
"Ashley C. Ford is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, published by Flatiron Books. Ford is the former co-host of The HBO companion podcast Lovecraft Country Radio, and the current host of Ben & Jerry’s Into The Mix. She currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, poet and fiction writer Kelly Stacy, and their chocolate lab Astro Renegade Ford-Stacy.”
Designer in New York, NY, United States
“Matthew is a 30-times, award-winning, lead-product UX/UI designer, advisor, and creative director with more than twelve years of hands-on experience. He's worked with leading Fortune 500 brands and startups, including Disney, Samsung, Sony, Adidas, BMW, Lufthansa, to bring impact via innovation. Matthew's mission is to deliver the most efficient, engaging, innovative, and high-quality experience with an emphasis on user experience.”
Software Developer in Oslo, Norway
"With over a decade in the software industry, Tadej has helped startups launch their first product, assisted FTSE 100 enterprises with digital transformation, been a part of the fintech boom, and helped particle accelerators cool down. He loves creating scalable back ends and is an expert in crafting modern and performant mobile, web, and desktop apps.”
A short bio is a great way to introduce yourself to potential clients and colleagues. It's a snapshot of your professional experience and accomplishments that can be used on your website, LinkedIn profile, or in email signatures.
When writing your bio, keep it brief and focus on the most important information. Start by stating your name and what you do. Then list your education and professional experience. Be sure to highlight any awards or accomplishments that you're proud of. Finally, end with a brief statement about what you're looking for in a new opportunity.
A short bio can be one or two short paragraphs, but it's important to make every word count. Think about the most important things you want people to know about you and focus on those points. Keep it updated as your career progresses so that potential clients and employers have the most up-to-date information.