A professional biography is a must for you and every other client-facing employee in your firm. But a compelling bio can be surprisingly difficult to write. How can you distill a lifetime of personal and professional accomplishments into a few paragraphs that are engaging, without falling into the trap of being either braggy or boring? The following tips can help.
Why You Need a Bio
Prospective clients, centers of influence and potential employees are Googling you, often before they ever meet you in person. Your bio is one way to ensure that what they find gives them a positive impression. As a rule, advisors shouldn’t spend too much time talking about themselves, but your professional bio is an exception. This is the place where you should share your story and trumpet your professional credentials. A well-crafted bio also helps you build a strong personal brand and ensures that your professional image is consistent no matter what type of marketing you are doing, whether you are writing a guest blog post, being interviewed by a reporter, speaking at an event or posting on social media.
9 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Bio Statement
- Tell them who you are: State your name and title right away, usually in the first sentence of the bio. It may sound obvious, but some people skip this essential step.
- Tell them what you do: Explain briefly and clearly what you do. Don’t just say you’re a financial advisor. Say you’re a financial advisor who helps entrepreneurs build personal financial security, for example, or who helps doctors prepare for retirement.
- Write in the third person—usually: A good rule of thumb is to write your professional bio in the third person. But a first-person perspective may be OK in certain situations, especially if you are trying to build a personal connection with your audience.
- Start in the middle: Novelists often begin a story in the middle of the action since such an approach tends to draw people into the story right away. Embrace a similar strategy when writing your bio. Begin in the present by explaining what you are doing today. Then, if it’s relevant, you can go back and talk about things you did in the past.
- Tout your accomplishments: Did you start your first business at 20? Win a prestigious award? Earn an impressive professional credential? Let people know. Just don’t make the mistake of puffing up your bio with irrelevant details or inflated accomplishments.
- Make it personal: Don’t be afraid to include a few personal details in your bio. Doing so will make you seem more relatable. But be sure to keep it professional. Most people include personal information in the last sentence or paragraph of their bio.
- Leave stuff out: Unless you are just getting started in your career, you are going to have to make decisions about what to include in your bio and what to leave out. Think of it this way: Your bio should tell a story about who you are and why you’re a great advisor. It doesn’t need to include the same level of detail as your resume.
- Use keywords: Use words in your bio that you think people might search for if they are looking for a financial advisor like you. Include words that relate to both your expertise and your location since many people include a specific city in their Google searches (e.g., San Diego financial advisor).
- Create a few versions: You should have three versions of your bio: a longer, multiple-paragraph version for your firm’s website and print collateral; a paragraph-length bio that you use when pitching yourself to media outlets as an expert, for example, or for your LinkedIn summary; and a single-sentence bio, which can be used for social media accounts, like Twitter, as well as your personal elevator pitch.
Your professional bio is your opportunity to sell yourself and your experience. Take advantage of it!