How many times have you sat in front of a blank screen staring at the pesky cursor, wondering why it’s so hard to write about yourself? I’ll bet it’s more than once. Contemplating who you are as a human being is an exercise in mental (or existential?) gymnastics. And if you’re trying to write a professional bio, you’re trying to distill who you are and what you do in a way that’s compelling to recruiters, hiring managers, colleagues, potential clients, and other contacts all at once—so it can feel ramped up to Simone-Biles-floor-routine-difficulty levels.
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Your professional bio is, arguably, the most important text you’ll ever write about yourself. It’s the first introduction to who you are, what you do, and what you’re interested in—whether it’s for a social media platform, a personal website, or company team page. What you choose to highlight may play a role in others deciding to follow you, call you in for an interview, or invite you to participate in an event. It’s an opportunity for you to—in a few lines—showcase your work, competence, and areas of expertise. So you’d better stick the landing.
But don’t worry too much: You don’t have to be the Simone Biles of LinkedIn to write a professional bio. We’ve gathered the steps, template, examples, and bonus tips you’ll need to write a bio for any occasion.
How to get started on your professional bio
We’ll get to the good stuff shortly (read: the template and examples), but before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, there are a few things you should know—about yourself.
Your bio shouldn’t be a laundry list of accomplishments, but a window into the person behind the accolades. You’re more than your most recent position (especially if you have a trendy startup title; I’m looking at you, ninjas and rock stars), so think about the strengths that make you good at what you do and the qualities that make you unique. These are what you want the person reading your bio to come away knowing.
If you’re drawing a blank, try to answer these questions before you start writing:
- How have you personally helped your company, department, or clients?
- Which of your accomplishments would be most impressive to your entry-level self?
- What makes you most valuable in your role?
- What’s one thing not in your job description that relates to why you’re so successful? Maybe you want to include a line about volunteering, about writing in your free time, or about a previous role.
- Why do you do what you do? What do you believe about your field that drives you to do the work you do each day?
Once you’ve got all that down, you’re ready to get it into your professional bio.
Professional bio template
The template below is designed to help you write a “master” professional bio that you can then tweak for different situations. This template is meant to offer you a general framework only—if you find that you need to add an extra couple of sentences or determine that a section we’ve included doesn’t feel relevant to how you wish to present yourself, feel free to tweak it.
[Name] is a [role] who [how you help clients, customers, or your employer] by [something unique about your process or output]. [First name] [knows/believes] [what you know/believe about the work you do].
[First name] has [landed/secured/garnered/worked at/supported/mastered] [insert your most compelling experiences, accomplishments, and skills]. Currently [he/she/they] is/are [working toward/studying/planning to] [your next professional goal or some way you’re developing as a professional].
[First name] is [trained/certified/awarded] in [relevant trainings, awards, honors, etc]. [First name] holds a [ degree] in [area of study] from [University].
When [he/she/they] is not [brief phrase that describes what you do], [First Name] [can be found/enjoys] [brief description of compelling interests or hobbies you’d like to share].
Here’s an example of how this template could look filled in:
Matthew Chang is a social media manager who excels at creating campaigns and posts for nonprofits that make followers take action by combining strong writing and design with insights about the org’s audience. Matthew believes that the right post, seen at the right time, can inspire people who believe in a nonprofit’s mission to help the causes they care about and ultimately allow that org to make a bigger impact.
Matthew has driven more than 10,000 social-influenced donations to three different nonprofits, with over $200,000 raised for important causes. Currently they’re working with GoodBoyGirl dog rescue to inspire not only donations, but also pet adoptions through Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok posts. (Matthew is always happy to share pictures of dogs they’ve helped find forever homes!)
Matthew holds a HubSpot Social Media Certification, and has taken several graphic design courses through The New School. They hold a bachelor’s degree from UCLA where they double majored in marketing and English.
When they’re not crafting social media campaigns, Matthew can be found biking around the city with their chihuahua Kyra on their back (don’t worry, the pup has a tiny helmet!) or taking in a Broadway show.
How to adapt your bio for different situations
Now that you have your “master professional bio,” you’ll want to tweak it for different situations.
For each iteration of your bio, imagine a specific reader and what they’d want to know about you, and then write for them. For instance, let’s say you’re on an alumni panel for your college. Student attendees will want to know what they should be doing now to get the career you have. In this case, your bio should reflect less of your day-to-day work responsibilities and more of the past campus activities, classes, and early-career internships and jobs that led you to where you are.
We’ve outlined specific advice for some of the most common scenarios where you’ll need to write a professional bio below—along with examples.
1. Your LinkedIn summary
Start by identifying how you use—or would like to use—LinkedIn. Are you content with your job, but looking to expand your network? Are you trying to attract recruiters?
Whatever you’re seeking, your LinkedIn summary should support your activity on the site; a profile focused on networking within the industry will read differently than that of someone aggressively hunting for a new job. Once you’ve identified your purpose, it will be much easier to tweak the above template for your LinkedIn summary. You’ll still want to lead with your position and other info from the first paragraph of the bio template. Then move onto whatever skills or accomplishments are most relevant to your LinkedIn goals. Last, share those goals.
Here’s an example of a LinkedIn summary that follows this strategy:
As a field sales manager with over eight years of experience driving market share growth in designated territories, I have mastered the ins and outs of pharmaceutical sales and territorial prospecting. After honing and executing these specialties to reach numerous company goals, I was honored with an invitation to join the National Marketing Council. Now, I spend the majority of my time brainstorming sales strategies and connecting with other industry professionals who are interested in talking shop.
You can always add supporting content on either side of this skeleton paragraph, such as a personal anecdote, previous positions, or a mission statement. If you need a bit more inspiration, look to your recommendations for outside opinions on what makes you special.
2. Your Twitter bio
Even a snappy, 160-character bio can help set you apart. To write a great bio for social media, grab the first two sentences of the bio we just drafted. We’ve crammed a lot of great info in there: who you are, what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and what you believe about the work you do. Then make sure you’re stating it as succinctly as possible. Finally, squeeze in your pizazz. Key word: squeeze. Don’t focus on unrelated quirks or superfluous details.
Software engineering whiz @Belly spreading nuggets of coding gold related to mobile applications. 8-year member of @IEEEorg, aspiring member of The Avengers.
If you’re looking to create a more serious social presence, though, you may choose to leave out the pizazz while including all the same important info:
Proud 8-year member of @IEEEorg and lead software engineer @Belly. Passionate about innovations in coding and mobile applications.
3. Your company website blurb
A bio for your company website (like on a team or staff page) is where you can opt out of some standard details, such as your title, in favor of things that distinguish you as a pro (or a person). After all, anyone reading this knows where you work and your job title will likely be listed by default. So you can use the second and third paragraph of the template to craft a bio focused on what makes you unique.
Margot has exceeded every Clarabridge sales goal by at least 84%, which landed her in the top CEM-seller spot and prepared her for the challenging position of strategizing sales tactics for the National Association of Sales Professionals. Her keen and innovative insights in the areas of forecasting and sales force development have enabled Clarabridge to emerge as a national leader, with a sharp and qualified team in tow to maintain the standard she helped set.
If that’s too formal for the culture of your office, and all your colleagues mention their favorite food trucks, you can aim for a 50-50 split between the professional and personal—or whatever balance suits the company’s brand.
Margot tops the sales charts at Clarabridge. In fact, she’s beat every goal by at least 84% without ever missing a practice as the coach of her son’s (undefeated) soccer team. Fueled by loaded nachos, she landed the top CEM-seller spot and took on a position brainstorming sales tactics for the National Association of Sales Professionals. Not only is she a pro when it comes to forecasting and sales force development, but she can also advise a team on where to find the best free events in the city on any given weekend.
4. Your personal website or portfolio “About Me” page
Here’s where you want to lay it all on your audience. You can use as much of the bio you wrote from the template above as you see fit and feel free to expand on whatever sections you’d like. Craft your “About Me” page so potential partners or employers understand what you can do for them and why you’re the person they should hire.
Chad Wilborn takes complex technical ideas and distills them into user-friendly visuals to improve digital marketing campaigns for companies along the West Coast. He has an education in traditional advertising and a background loaded with marketing and graphic design projects, centered around modernizing the consumer experience. Chad’s portfolio demonstrates his ability to capitalize on every pixel for the overall benefit of startups or established enterprises trying to reach consumers. His services have won multiple design and branding awards, and he is excited to help add your company to his list of successes.
But don’t forget your brand! If you want to showcase yourself in a more unique or quirky light, opt for a first-person version with more light-hearted language.
I am a modern magician, except I transform complicated technical ideas into user-friendly images before the eyes of your company’s customers. I believe in telling relatable stories through graphics, so I studied the basics of traditional advertising before working my magic on corporate marketing projects for companies along the West Coast. My portfolio showcases a lineup of my most recent tricks, which range from visual startup campaigns to Fortune 500 projects—each of which have won design and branding awards. I’m always ready for new design opportunities and have plenty of room up my sleeve for a few more award-winning performances.
A few more tips
Keep these in mind as you write your professional bio, no matter where it’s going to end up:
- Know your limits: Just as your resume is best when it fits on one or two pages, your bio likely also requires a certain length. Whether it’s two sentences, two paragraphs, or 160 characters, respect the limit or risk it being arbitrarily chopped down.
- Avoid jargon and buzzwords: When you spend nearly a third of your life at work, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world doesn’t speak your industry’s (or company’s) language. Use your bio to share facts and impact in terms everyone will understand.
- Use your own voice: Write about what you know best and write the way that you talk. If your bio readers ever meet you in person, they should feel as if they already know you.
- Write more than one draft: Don’t just throw something together and send it off. Write it, sleep on it, then come back to it and ask: “Would I want to meet me?” Or better yet: “Would I want to hire or work with me?”
- Don’t forget to update your bio: Your bio should evolve as you do. If you start looking for jobs in different industries, have a new and exciting accomplishment to note, or just feel ready for a refresh, go for it. Now that you’ve got this draft down, it’ll be easy to rework your professional bio.