What do you do when you’re looking for more information about someone you met through work or a networking event? If you’re like us, chances are you Google them and read their bio. So what does your professional bio tell people who are looking for information about you? It’s a daunting prospect, but creating a strong bio for work ensures you make the right impression in a professional context and position yourself in a way that’s aligned with your company and your career goals.
What is a personal bio?
A professional bio is a condensed version of your biography meant to convey your skills, background, and other relevant career-related details. You’ll find bios on company websites, social media profiles, industry directories, and more.
A professional bio is typically pretty concise, about one to three paragraphs, and should serve as a quick read rather than a lengthy discourse on your entire history.
Why it’s important to write a bio for work
A well-written bio helps you put your best foot forward in your professional life. It can help you land a job, inspire confidence in clients, and make a positive impression on new acquaintances and coworkers.
If someone’s looking for information about you or your employer, there’s a good chance they’ll read your bio before ever meeting you. Thus, it can be the deciding factor in whether someone decides to hire you, contract with you, or patronize your company. It’s a smart idea to make sure your bio is polished and memorable.
When to use a work bio
Joining a new company
When you start a new job, part of your onboarding may be creating a bio for the company website. Consider the company’s voice and mission when writing a work bio for a new job. Incorporate these things into your writing as you outline your background and achievements.
Introducing yourself to professional contacts
You’ll need a bio when meeting prospective clients, vendors, or partners for the first time. This is your opportunity to lead with your most impressive credentials and convince them why working with you/your company is a good idea.
Building your personal brand
You also need a professional bio for your own assets, like your website and LinkedIn profile. Your bio can be used to reveal a common thread between your previous positions and convey what you’re hoping to achieve in your career.
What to include in a professional bio
Some people who have a common name also prefer to use a middle initial to differentiate from other professionals with the same name (i.e., John C. Matthews).
Your job title
State the position you currently hold and briefly describe your job duties.
Your mission statement
This goes beyond your job title. What is it about your career that’s meaningful to you? Think of it almost like a tagline, like ‘working to make higher education opportunities more accessible’ or ‘helping alleviate the stress of planning a wedding.’
Where you went to school
Share your alma mater, major, and degree(s).
Your previous jobs
Describing your earlier roles demonstrates your qualifications and helps the reader understand your career trajectory.
Highlight some of your career wins that you’re most proud of, like important projects you’ve contributed to, recognizable clients you’ve worked with, or performance goals you achieved.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to go beyond professional details and give a little more information about yourself. Share your hobbies and interests, as long as they’re work-appropriate.
Every bio, just like every person, is different, so there are no definitive rules on what must be included. It’s up to you and what makes the most sense for your role and the context. Here are a few details that typically fit well in a professional bio.
What you should omit
Too many personal details
Keep the focus on your work. Don’t distract from your qualifications by oversharing about your family, hobbies, church, social life, etc. Remember, this is a summary, not your autobiography.
Work bios are written in either first-person (“I’m a pharmaceutical sales rep…”) or third-person (“Taylor is a pharmaceutical sales rep…”) perspective. It’s a common mistake to get tripped up and switch between them, which can make you look like an amateur. Pick either first-person or third-person voice, and make sure you’re consistent throughout.
Sample formal bio for work
Kendrick Palmer is a commercial insurance broker specializing in science and technology. He helps companies select the coverage that secures their investments, protects their intellectual property, and mitigates risk while growing their revenue. With more than a decade of experience in the field, it’s Kendrick’s mission to help simplify the complex world of commercial insurance and help his clients find the perfect coverage that addresses their needs while fitting their budgets.
Sample informal bio for work
I’m a media relations specialist at Progress First, a PR firm that works with nonprofits. I love helping my clients land media coverage that builds credibility and gets the word out about their amazing work. I grew up in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), where I double majored in public relations and English. When I don’t have my nose buried in The New York Times or The Washington Post, you can find me on the tennis court where I’m perpetually working on my backswing.
When writing your work bio, use a voice that’s appropriate for the setting. A bio that’s used in an email to new coworkers will be different from one that’s going into the program for a prestigious awards ceremony. If other existing bios of your peers are available, it’s a great idea to reference those for guidance on the tone and language to use in your bio.