6 components every professional bio must have

Your online profile should be engaging and informative. Here’s help in capturing the ‘real you’ for potential clients, employers, and other audiences.

They’re totally checking you out.

Nearly 40 percent of hiring managers use social media to research job candidates, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. About the same percentage report using Google searches to learn about potential employees.

What you want them to find is a consistent message about you—your qualifications, professionalism, and personality.

As you continue making a professional brand for yourself, all your online communication platforms will have one thing in common: They will include a version of your professional bio.

Your social media accounts and professional website all should include your bio. It’s a method of creating a controlled and consistent message about your brand.

Writing your professional bio can be an intimidating task. It’s difficult to write about yourself. You’re uncertain what to include and how to write it in a way that is professional yet creative.

My advice is to first create a long-form professional bio—the type of thing you would use on a resume website. From there you can edit and alter it into smaller bits as needed for other uses such as LinkedIn and Twitter, or for running with guest blog posts.

Your bio should be written in the third person and should include:

Who you are

Put your name in the first sentence of your bio so the reader knows immediately that he or she is reading about the correct person. It’s your virtual introduction.

What you do

Provide a general idea of what you do, establishing your industry without being specific to an organization.

For example:

Kenna Griffin is an assistant professor of mass communications and a collegiate media adviser. Her primary areas of teaching are journalism, online media, public relations, media law, and media ethics.

Where you’ve worked

Describe your current job, business or professional experience.

For example:

Kenna joined the Department of Mass Communications at Oklahoma City University in 2003. She advises Oklahoma City University’s student newspaper, The Campus, as well as the publication’s online version, MediaOCU.com. She also oversees operations of the student yearbook, The Constellation.

Her professional experience includes working as a staff writer at The Oklahoman and managing editor for the Guthrie News Leader.

Why you’re worth considering

Explain why you are worth considering as a resource or employee. This is the place to include publications, presentations, professional memberships, or awards.

For example:

Kenna is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, College Media Advisers, Oklahoma Press Association, and Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association, Women in Communications, and the Public Relations Society of America. She regularly speaks on journalism best practices and media advising at annual national and local collegiate journalism conferences. She also serves as a resource on these topics via her media blog, www.profkrg.com.

Kenna has a master’s degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a journalism Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma. Her academic research explores the conflict between journalists’ professional identities and their emotional responses to covering traumatic events. She is a two-time Dart Foundation educator fellow with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. She also presented her research on journalists’ emotions regarding witnessing executions at three national academic conferences.

How to find you

Include all your relevant contact information: email address, telephone number, professional social media accounts, and website and/or blog URLS.

Extras

You can personalize your bio even more by including elements such as a photo of yourself, a video introduction, or links to your work. You also can provide details about hobbies or outside interests that make you marketable or establish your professional brand.

Once you draft this foundational bio of about five to eight paragraphs, it will be much easier to alter it for your various online platforms. You also should update your bio regularly.

Remember that the important thing is to present a consistent professional message about yourself for potential employers and partners to see.

A version of this article originally appeared on Prof Krg.

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This article first appeared on Ragan.com in June 2014.

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