Whether you’re conscious of it or not, everywhere you make your mark on the web matters. If it can come up in a search, no matter how old or bad it is, people will see it and they will use it to understand you and form decisions.
Me for instance. I’m always looking through our directory for people to approach for projects, collaborations and commissions. It frustrates me no end that there are half-hearted or incomplete profiles in there because all I can see is missed opportunities. Chances to meet new people and chances to find new business opportunities – missed.
But worse than those who can’t be bothered, are those who present themselves poorly. Whether for lack of time, lack of interest or lack of skill to do it better, presenting yourself poorly doesn’t just lead to missed opportunities, it leaves a memorable impression for all the wrong reasons.
Few people find it easy to capture their essence and write succinctly and intelligently about themselves, but it’s a skill worth developing because it really matters. It’s the stuff of ‘About Us’ pages on websites, the essential information on applications and the crux of a pitch. Communicating who you are and what you do differently well is everything.
It takes work and constant tweaking and updating over time or for different purposes, but if you put the time in and get a white-hot basic para done, then it becomes your source material for all future uses.
Here are some quick tips for setting to work on your new improved professional bio:
- Start collecting bios of people you relate to or like
- Identify what it is about them you like – message, tone, terminology, etc.
- Make a list of all the key info you think are essential to include
- Before you start, take a moment to think about who the audience of this bio is likely to be and make sure you get the tone right for them
- Then use the previous points to shape a draft attempt
- Leave it for a few days and come back to it and do another draft
- Then ask a friend you trust to be brutally honest or a mentor to have a go at it
- Rework it (yes, I know it’s tedious but important)
- Give the most up to date version to someone you don’t know that well and ask them to communicate back to you what their takeaways were. If they match with the key info you wanted to get across from point 3, then you’ve nailed it and have your bio. If not, keep going. (Ugh, I know!)
- Do this process regularly. It’s easier to keep this bad boy updated as you have awards or accomplishment to add to it than it is to start again.