5 things not to include in your online bio

Stop saying you’re innovative—and/or unique!

When I read online biographies about communicators, I start banging my head against the wall.

Here’s an example:

FaBio Madeup is the senior financially concentrated marketing professional assistant to the assistant vice president in the public relations department for Long Name Company Incorporated in Big Town, IL. She also serves as governing co-director of the social media rules foundation. Her innovative and unique leadership in the field has revolutionized the world of health care communications. She graduated with Very High Honors from Random University. She has won awards from Who Cares.com and I’m The Best Committee. In other words, she is just the most amazing, most talented, perfect health care communicator in the western hemisphere (if not the world).

Sound familiar?

Here are five things not to include in your professional online biography:

A job title longer than two words

Are two or more words really necessary in describing your job? I’m overwhelmed by the amount of superlative descriptions from communicators to describe their title. They make me feel as if I’m in the presence of royalty. However, instead of “Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of the House of Windsor, Duke of Cambridge,” I bow down to “senior financially concentrated marketing professional assistant to the vice president in the public relations department for…”

The words “innovative” or “unique”

Many communicators describe themselves as “innovative” or “unique.” But this is meaningless. Just like a snow flake, every communicator is “unique” because no two people are the same. All communicators are “innovative” because their jobs constantly involve thinking up new ideas. A really “unique” and “innovative” communicator wouldn’t write a bio.

Stop the revolution

Many communicators “revolutionize” their niches in communications. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “revolutionize” means to “change fundamentally or completely.” Unless a communicator has suddenly trained real birds to deliver tweets, “revolutionize” isn’t the right verb to describe what communicators do.

Listing accomplishments

Communicators shouldn’t list all of their awards, especially if most of them are unknown. Even though most bios are written in the third person, we all know you wrote it yourself—so don’t be arrogant. Unless, of course, you were recently voted as the “Empress of the Communication Kingdom,” we don’t really care about your accolades.

Being awkward, professionally and personally

Little snippets of personal information can add humor and personality to an online bio. But, be careful when you transition from your professional to personal life. Don’t go straight from “FaBio leads thought-provoking and challenging seminars on the use of social media in contemporary communication departments” to “FaBio enjoys watching turtles swim through the river. She loves eating red licorice and roller skating (especially at the same time).” One minute, she’s a great leader, but then she turns into a normal (?) human being, with likes and dislikes. Cue the head banging.


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