Your online bio or profile is your first handshake with potential clients. Whether you’re marketing online for new prospects or looking for a job these days, the Internet is often where your initial introduction takes place. It provides a great opportunity for you to present your credentials—and you don’t even have to dress up to do it.
Clear & Concise
The most effective online bio is relatively short and to the point. This is not War and Peace, nor is it an online version of your printed curriculum vitae. Instead, it is a brief overview of who you are, what you’ve done professionally, and where you were educated. A short bio doesn’t mean you’re forced to omit critical information. In fact, you have the distinct advantage of being able to include keywords that link to other Web pages and reinforce or define the data you’ve presented.
For example, if you’re an estate-planning attorney, you can link to an outside site that defines precisely what an estate-planning attorney does. Whatever your particular skills, you can add them as searchable tags so you don’t need to explain everything you do in painstaking detail. It’s a foolproof way to provide the particulars while keeping your bio clean and streamlined.
If you’re a graphic designer, you can link to online samples of your work. If you’re a professional blogger, you can link to your most recent post. No matter what business you’re in, you can link to your website to provide a more comprehensive picture of your skills and talents.
Touting your own accomplishments can be awkward, so the best way to get around that dilemma is to write your online bio in the third person. It gives the impression that someone else is talking about you, so including high praise won’t seem self-serving. After all, it sounds a lot better to say, “He was awarded the financial industry’s highest honor” than to boast, “I was awarded the financial industry’s highest honor.”
Omit Personal Details
Your online bio is not the story of your life, so stick to the relevant facts. This is not the place to list all the things you love to do in your spare time. This is not the place to share the names and ages of your kids. (That kind of personal information can come out later, in a face-to-face meeting, or when appropriate in a speech introduction if asked.) The bottom line: if the information doesn’t pertain to your professional services, it has no place in your bio.
DIY or Professional Online Bio
If you want to create your own online bio, this Brand Yourself article will give you additional tips. If have neither the time nor the inclination to write your own online bio, let a professional take over the project. All you need to do is provide your CV and set aside a few minutes for a phone interview, and a good writer can handle everything else. You may even be dazzled by how fabulous someone with the right expertise can make you sound.
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