Oct
21
Do's and Don'ts for Writing a Professional Bio
By Anne Danahy MS RDN

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Your professional bio is a written version of your elevator pitch – that 30 second summary of who you are, what you do, and how your services can benefit others. Because it often appears on a website (yours or your employers), your professional bio can reach quite a wide audience.



It’s important to make your bio shine, because it’s a great way to market yourself and your unique expertise. It’s also free advertising, so it’s worthwhile to make the most of it. Here are a few tips to help you write a professional bio that piques your audience’s interest and leaves them wanting to know more about you.



  1. DO Stick to third person. In most cases, your bio is an introduction from your company (even if that company is your own), to a potential client, or to a professional audience, so using pronouns like “she, he, his or her” always sounds more formal and professional. If it feels strange to write about yourself in the third person, just pretend you’re writing about a work colleague you know and admire.

  2. DO Focus on what makes you unique. As dietitians, most of us do the same thing, which is help people make better food choices, in one way or another. Instead of focusing on the details of your job or profession, highlight what makes you. Do you have a unique niche or audience that you work with? Do you run a successful program that patients seek you out for? Have you published a book, or do you contribute to a newspaper column? Make sure you highlight your special skills, superpowers, or the thing that sets you apart from other RDs and tell readers how you can help solve their problem.

  3. DON’T write a book! Save that for one of your accomplishments. Instead, keep your bio short, sweet and to the point because most readers have a short attention span. There’s also always a risk that your content could be cut if it appears on a website, so keep the important points front and center. Aim for a sentence or two to introduce yourself and any areas of expertise; another few sentences about your accomplishments; and finally, wrap it up with your educational background or any professional affiliations that support your career goals.

  4. DON’T worry if you’re just starting out. It can be intimidating to write about yourself if you don’t have much (or any) professional experience. It’s OK to highlight volunteer work, or any major awards you won in college. When your professional experience is lacking, draw on your passions instead. What are your areas of interest? Do you have a personal tie to them that your readers might relate to?

  5. DO use your professional bio as a motivational tool to improve and add on to your list of skills and accomplishments. If it’s not quite as full and interesting as you’d like it to be, make a list of things you’d like to add, and start chipping away at them. Don’t forget to add to and update your bio from time to time – especially if you’ve been at the same job for a while. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll grow personally and professionally within a few years.

It can be a challenge to sum up your personality and professional accomplishments in a few sentences, so allow your bio to be a work-in-progress. Add to it over time or start fresh and write a brand new one if the first version isn’t “you.” The important thing is to highlight the things you enjoy doing, and the reasons people are attracted to you, so more of those opportunities will come your way.