Okay, let me level with you in a way nobody in your life is doing right now:
Your short bio/about me blurb? Y’know, that one paragraph or more you use to describe yourself on social media, dating profiles, websites, LinkedIn, whatever? It sucks.
But you don’t suck. You just suck at writing about yourself.
It’s okay, I’m here to help you.
Why You Need a Great Bio
Your bio is your first impression. It’s how potential clients, employers, collaborators, (or potential love interests if dating apps are your thing!) get to know you before they even meet you.
A great bio can mean the difference between landing a job, meeting your soulmate, having a cool opportunity come your way — or not.
Every person on the planet can find your profiles on LinkedIn or Google you. If you’ve got a rushed or boring bio, they’re going to keep on scrolling. But if you’ve got an engaging, witty bio — they’re more likely to hire you or want to meet you.
Why Most People Suck at Writing Bios/About Me Blurbs
As a memoir ghostwriter, I’ve helped a lot of insanely talented people share their stories with the world. There’s a reason why people hire professional writers to help with this process: it’s hard to be objective about yourself and your accomplishments.
The number one problem I see when people are writing their personal or professional bios is that they either write something that is “braggy” and oversells things without evidence, or they are underselling themselves and their accomplishments, and trying to dull their shine.
There’s a way to strike a balance where your bio can feel humble but confident, voice-y without being too cutesy, and assured without being an eye-roll.
Your Bio Should Speak to Who You Are, Both in Wording and Tone
What are you best at and what are your superpowers?
Knowing that will help you build your core offerings of your bio, and help construct relevant experiences. Even if you do a lot of different things, your bio should still be unified underneath the umbrella of your strengths.
Voice is another huge part of writing your professional or personal biography: the best bios feel like you’re talking directly to the person. If you can capture your essence in a paragraph, you’ll find a lot more success in the realm of first impressions, which is everything.
The Difference Between Professional Bios and Artist Statements
If you’re a creative (so, writer/photographer/actor/whatever) then your bio is going to feel a lot different than an executive looking for new opportunities on LinkedIn. I’ve written bios for all sorts of people, but when it comes to artists or people looking to take their career in a more creative direction, we get more out-of-the-box.
Here’s an example of a bio I wrote for myself that’s pretty standard, and a blurb I use in my TV writing work:
Amy Suto is a dramatic television writer specializing in thrillers about characters faced with the cost of their ambition. She most recently co-wrote episode 206 of the conspiracy thriller CONDOR (Audience Network/MGM/Skydance). Amy studied screenwriting at USC, where she was nominated for two College Television Emmys for a series she wrote and produced. She also recently wrote a piece for the LA Times about how the pole dancing community helped her come out as bisexual. You can read that and more at AmySuto.com. She also recently released THE LAST STATION (KingdomofPavement.com/TheLastStation), a scripted podcast she wrote and produced about the last radio station on earth after the apocalypse, available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. When she isn’t writing, she collects hobbies like pole dancing, teaching yoga for writers, and ghostwriting memoirs for people all over the world.
I wanted something short I could use everywhere that sums up who I am. It covers what I do, what I’m best at, and some of my hobbies so that in meetings I have touchstones of things I can talk about with other people.
I also have a more voice-y bio I use for things like some of the other publications and blogs I’m a contributor on that’s more fun:
Amy Suto is a writer in Los Angeles specializing in thrillers for the TV space, and most recently co-wrote an episode of the show CONDOR (Audience/MGM/Skydance). When she isn’t writing, she collects hobbies like archery, teaching yoga for writers, and ghostwriting memoirs for people all over the world. She came out as bisexual in the Los Angeles Times with a personal essay about the pole dancing community in LA, and writes for other publications as well. Currently, she’s redesigning her patio and learning how to use power tools for the first time. Her superpowers include hanging perfectly level shelves, evidence of which you can find on her writing blog AmySuto.com or on her Twitter or Instagram (@Sutoscience). She also runs the media company KingdomofPavement.com which produces scripted podcast like Amy’s sci-fi show, THE LAST STATION, about the last radio station on earth after the apocalypse.
I have a few other bios for things like my work as a yoga teacher and whatnot, which goes to show the importance of understanding who you’re writing a bio for. You’ll notice my about me page on my blog is a lot different than my LinkedIn bio or my Upwork page. It’s all about writing for an audience!
Artist statements are a little bit different than short bios/about me blurbs because you’re digging more into what kinds of art you do and why you do them rather than more of a macro view of your accomplishments.
Practical Tips to Write a Bio for Your LinkedIn/Website/Resume/Whatever
Each bio should be tailored to the audience you want to reach. However, if you’re writing just a ~general~ bio that’s going to go wide somewhere, here’s some tips:
- Get specific about relevant experience that sets you apart. This isn’t a CV, this is a bio, so try and pick the things that define you and set you apart.
- Try and imbue your bio with voice and confidence. Voice doesn’t necessarily mean quirky jokes every which way as bios need to be concise, but the way in which you share your accomplishments can convey your personality. Write with confidence: use sentences that hit hard and cut unnecessary words and transitions.
- Think about impact: what is the most important thing for the reader to take away from your bio? What should they know about you after reading? What feeling do you want them to have? Then pressure test each sentence to see if it achieves just that.
- Understand what platform this bio is for: if you’re writing a bio for LinkedIn, you’re also going to want to include the kinds of keywords that help people find you. If you’re writing a bio for social media, it’s going to feel a lot different (and be waaay shorter!) compared to your resume bio. That’s why I always clarify form with my clients: there’s no “manifesting” magic when it comes to keywords. That’s just smart strategy.
It may take a few drafts to get it right, but a great bio is worth the time you invest in it. But if you don’t have the time or the writing skill…
Need Help? Hire a Writer to Help You Write Your Bio
I’m offering a new writing service — I’ll write your bio for you so it doesn’t suck!
My Upwork clients are pretty stoked about it:
Anyways, let’s get crackin’ on your short biography so I can help you attract the opportunities you want in the world. (No vision board required!) My rates start at $300 for a bio that’s 500 words or less. A long, short, and super short version of your bio are included!