I was just helping a few people rewrite and beef up their LinkedIn pages this week… and thought… maybe yours may need a little reworking. When was the last time you updated your profile? Or posted an article to attract more eyeballs? Added a link to recent work of yours?
With so much information out there… we’re on overload.
Newsfeeds. Overposting. White noise. Buzz words. It can be difficult to stand out. As you grow your personal brand and market yourself, one key part (and often a forgotten step) is developing a bio that reflects your worth.
Your bio is your story.
On your resume… sometimes there isn’t enough room for all the rich detail that’s important.
Online – you can add the details.
“As it is a story, you can throw in interesting snippets about yourself and thus injecting some personality into your bio,” according to TheUndercoverRecruiter.com.
It’s your way to tell your story and show potential customers, colleagues and recruiters what makes you an expert in your field. Stay away from just creating a task list. Make it your professional narrative.
The thought of writing about yourself may make you very uncomfortable. That’s natural and the reason many people hire help. It’s usually easier to write about someone else. You may not realize how interesting you are or that what you consider as just “part of your job” or a basic skill is actually something very sellable on your online bio.
The goal is to be clear, concise, unique – not cute – and get noticed. Consider drafting a long bio, a short bio and a two-line bio so you have them ready and you can easily tweak for your audience.
Here are some tips to follow as you develop your bio:
If it’s difficult to get to know you quickly you’re going to lose your audience. What if you’re riding the elevator at work and the CEO steps on? You have 10 seconds to describe yourself, what would you say? Don’t get caught up in the latest corporate buzzword. Shoot for something insightful and memorable.
Meredith Fineman, founder of Finepoint, wrote about this topic for Harvard Business Review.
“Every six months you should be revisiting your bio to see what has changed and what other experience you have accrued,’’ she wrote. “Set a recurring calendar remind to do it. Have someone else read over it too — it’s hard to write about yourself, and you might be leaving a few things out.”
If you’re taking the time to write about yourself, take the time to make sure your grammar, tone and message are consistent. Audit and button up everything that has been written about you online. Make sure anywhere your name appears online that the information is updated, correct and matches your other profiles. This could include LinkedIn, a company website or charitable organizations where you give back.
This is your one chance to be proud and promote yourself. Using passive words makes you appear unsure in your skills, which may lead your audience to believe you aren’t capable or knowledgeable. Don’t feel like you must list typical skills or software you know, look to add unique skills that are beneficial.
Along with your active voice, experts suggest writing your bio in third-person. It can feel awkward to write about yourself that way but its beneficial for search.
“From an SEO perspective, writing a bio in the third person allows you to include your full name throughout the bio,’’ wrote Pete Kitsler, co-founder and head of product for BrandYourself. “This lets search engines know that this lengthy, original, and well-written piece of content is about you. While making it clear that this awesome work is about you is important when it comes to search engine optimization, don’t let speaking in third person become too much of a good thing.”
Finally, stay away from using “trying,” “attempting” and “hoping” and instead come right out and state your accomplishments!
Just like any online marketing, the more you are connected, the better it is for you. If you’ve written anything that’s published online, link it. If you’re on the board of a reputable charity, link to it. If you’ve earned any special certifications, awards – link away. Increase your web presence and build your audience. And make sure you’re easy to contact with your contact information clearly posted. Don’t make potential business work to find you.
As you sit down to write your own story, remember that if you don’t take the time to endorse yourself, no one will. Don’t hesitate to ask a trusted friend to review your bio before you post it, and make sure you choose someone who will be honest.