AbleStable®
go to Reviewsgo to Servicesgo to Registered Usersgo to Resource Centrego to AbleStable: Helpgo to About Us
go to AbleStable: Home Articles
go to Search

go to Exhibitions Centre
  Writing: exploring the world of creative professionals
go to Help
go to Resource Centre
go to Library
go to Articles
go to E-Books
go to Glossary
go to Reviews
go to Web Link
Library > Articles > Writing > 003

E-mail this web page address to a friend or colleague
Enter their email address below (no record is kept of this action)

     
Writing About Yourself: The Best Brief Bio
Contributor: Mike de Sousa

Like most people, I find it difficult to write effectively about myself. The act of summarising a life in a few well chosen words is far more difficult than it might at first appear.

Creative professionals are asked for a brief history of their achievements on a regular basis. Potential clients like to know who they're dealing with and a well written biographical entry is often the first and most influential means to encourage further contact. Here are my thoughts and guide to best representing yourself through a short bio summary.

About Us
You might ask yourself 'who ever reads a bio entry in the first place?'. The answer lies in the fact that people are curious animals. If we're making a judgement about a product, a service or an individual, one of our first ports of call will be the biographical statement. This takes a different form depending on the context.

In a conversation, the request for biographical information is expressed as 'tell me a little about yourself'. Websites generally use an 'About Us' page that sets out a company vision with some practical information about location, personnel, and company background, and in business the focus of evaluating an individual's history and skills mutates into the more formal CV. This article limits is focus to a fourth and equally challenging biographical statement, the short written bio.

Why bother?
As a creative professional a short bio is an essential plank in your efforts to promote your skills to your potential clients. A well written short bio doesn't only inform the reader, but galvanises them into action. It is the bio entry in a directory or publication that often encourages a potential client to make that all important first contact.

Simple and honest
It surprises me how little time and attention is given over to ensure biographical entries are well written. Time and again I'll be reading an article or viewing a website and I'll click on the 'About Us' link to find myself in a world of hyperbole and unwelcome marketing speak that tells me little or nothing about the author or service.

The two most important principles I feel you should keep to at all times when writing a short bio is to make your statement simple and honest. Any hook line or 'call to action' that you might use in your opening must be carefully chosen to represent you without exaggerated claims about your background, skill base, or service.

A good biographical statement is about building trust in the mind of the reader. If the reader senses you are inflating your bio, the fragile link between them and you will be broken and the reader, gone forever.

Tone and style
This and the following four sections outline a plan of action for writing your short bio. Your first task is to ensure you are clear about who your intended audience is, and to keep this audience in mind with every word you write.

Stick to what you know and who you are. The reader wants straightforward information about you and doesn't need or want every detail of your professional and personal life. Ensure the personal shines through but beware of treating your reader as a friend, they're not, they have no idea who you are and will become suspicious of an overly friendly tone. It's a little like someone standing too close on first meeting. An invasion of personal space you might say.

People are generally social animals and want to connect, so adopt a personal tone that invites the reader in. The trick here is to find a tone and style that treads a middle path. It is equally advisable not to write in an overly objective, distant style. This may convey the facts of your life and skills, but is unlikely to evoke an emotional response in the reader, and it's a positive emotional response above all that will encourage the reader to investigate you more.

Write in a style you are comfortable and experienced in. Don't try to crack jokes and make it fun unless you've got a track record of writing in an amusing way. Be honest with yourself and the reader, and stick to a simple format that presents information straightforwardly.

The Opening
Get the opening statement wrong and you've lost the reader after the first five seconds. Get it right and they'll skip the body of your bio, go straight to the contact info and give you a call.

Ensure your opening statement carries the following:

Your name
A summary of what you do
A reference to your skills and experience
A call to action

Example:


Jumbo Jim writes on a broad range of subjects for national newspapers, magazines and journals, and continues to ensure his business clients are advantaged by his copy and marketing writing skills.

The Main Body
Here's your chance to present an outline of your work and achievements. Don't present a detailed employment history, and confine any specific employment references to your last five years experience unless you've radically changed your career direction.

Example:


Jumbo Jim's first professional post was to work as a copywriter for a major newspaper. After two years Jumbo moved on to lead the editorial team of the new media magazine The Zone. After winning the London Writers Best Article Award in 1998, Jumbo Jim set himself up as a freelance writer and consultant.


The Closing

The closing statement is a short reminder of who you are and a call to action.

Example:


Jumbo Jim continues to progress his passion for writing and his enthusiasm for getting a job well done. Jumbo Jim: for new writing commissions and consultancy work.


E
ssential information
The final and most important task is to ensure your contact details are correct.

Example:

Contact Details:
Jumbo Jim
Postal Address: 101 My Street, My Town, My City, My Country,
My Post/Zip Code
Email: me@my-web-site.com
Website: www.my-web-site.com/
Phone: 0101 (0) 10101 010101


Example bio

Piece this all together and you've got yourself a short bio that should engage and ensure a positive response from the reader. Here's the bio I've been developing for this article in its entirety:


Example:

Jumbo Jim: Bio
Jumbo Jim writes on a broad range of subjects for national newspapers, magazines and journals, and continues to ensure his business clients are advantaged by his copy and marketing writing skills.

Jumbo Jim's first professional post was to work as a copywriter for a major newspaper. After two years Jumbo moved on to lead the editorial team of the new media magazine The Zone. After winning the London Writers Best Article Award in 1998, Jumbo Jim set himself up as a freelance writer and consultant.

Jumbo Jim continues to progress his passion for writing and his enthusiasm for getting a job well done. Jumbo Jim: for new writing commissions and consultancy work.

Contact Details:

Jumbo Jim
Postal Address: 101 My Street, My Town, My City, My Country,
My Post/Zip Code
Email: me@my-web-site.com
Website: www.my-web-site.com/
Phone: 0101 (0) 10101 010101


Conclusion

Writing a short and effective bio can be one of the most important strategies you adopt in encouraging new people to contact you. A bio is used by magazines, websites, newspapers, brochures, the list goes on and on. Go write yours and make it sing...

     
       
 
Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

If you observe inaccuracies in our in-house contributions or wish to contribute an article or review to be included at AbleStable® visit Feedback.
 

Copyright Notice
Although our contents are free to browse, copyright resides with the originators of all works accessed at AbleStable®, and unauthorised copying or publication of our site contents is strictly prohibited.
 

AbleStable © 2002-2007
 
     
       

 All Material: AbleStable © 2002-2007
go to Frequently Asked Questionsgo to Feedbackgo to Press Centrego to Privacy Statement