How to Write a Bio
- Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.
- Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.
- Mention any associated brand name you might use.
- State your current position and what you do.
- Include at least one professional accomplishment.
- Describe your values and how they inform your career.
- Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.
- Consider adding humor or a personal story as an extended version of your professional bio.
Is your professional bio as good as it can be?
In this article, we have seven real bio examples you should definitely compare yours to -- and a series of free bio templates you can use to perfect it.
Most people don't think about their professional bio until they're suddenly asked to "shoot one over via email," and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it. That's when we scramble, and our bio ends up reading like this:Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing."
Woof, that was dull. Are you still with me? I swear, not even adding a tidbit about his cats would liven that bio up.
To be fair, in certain contexts, your professional bio does need to be more formal, like Mr. Erickson's up there. But in many cases, writing a bio that's readable -- even conversational -- is actually a really good thing. That means dropping that traditional format of listing your accomplishments like a robot and cramming as much professional-sounding jargon in there as you can.
Remember: The people reading your bio are suffering from information fatigue. If you don't hook 'em in the first line, you'll lose them quickly.
Alright, I know what you may be thinking ... So what? It's just a bio.
(P.S. Want to give your professional brand a boost? Take one of HubSpot Academy's free certification courses. In just one weekend, you can add a line to your resume and bio that's coveted by over 60,000 marketers.)
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Why Good Bios Are Important for a Professional
I mean, how many people actually read professional bios, anyway?
The answer: A lot of people. More importantly, though, there's no way to tell exactly who is reading it -- and you always want it to be ready for when the right people to come across it. And when they do, you want it to catch their eye. In a good way.
You see, while your resume is only useful for when you're actively applying for specific positions, your professional bio is much more visible. It can live on your LinkedIn profile, your company's website, your guest blog posts, your speaker profiles, your Twitter bio, and many other places.
And, most importantly, it's the tool that you can leverage most when you're networking.
Bottom line? People will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it, and whether it makes them actually care about you, is a matter of how well you present yourself to your intended audience.
So, what does a top-notch professional bio look like?
Below, we've curated some of the best real professional bio examples we've ever seen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the various websites where you might describe yourself.
Check 'em out, and use them as inspiration when crafting your own.
Best Bio Examples:
- Ann Handley
- Rebecca Bollwitt
- Mark Gallion
- DJ Nexus
- Lena Axelsson
- Mark Levy
- Corey Wainwright
7 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We've Ever Seen
1. Ann Handley
Bio Platform: Personal Website
If you're a marketer, you've likely heard of Ann Handley. Her list of credentials is lengthy, and if she really wanted to, she could go on and on and on about her accomplishments.
But when people list out all their accomplishments in their bios, they risk sounding a little egotistical. Sure, you might impress a handful of people with all those laurels, but many people who read your bio will end up feeling either intimidated or annoyed. Think about it: Is that how you want the majority of your readers to feel when they read your bio?
To minimize the egoism that comes with talking about yourself, think about how you can list out your accomplishments without sounding like you're bragging. Ann does this really well, choosing a tone in her bio that's more approachable.
It starts with the excerpt in the footer of her personal website. Give it a quick read, paying close attention to the opening and closing lines:
"This is Ann Handley's website, and this is a bit of copy about her ... That's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So read more here." This is the kind of simple, friendly language that invites the reader in rather than shutting them out.
Follow the link and you'll be led to a page dedicated to a fuller bio, which she's divided into two parts: a "short version" (literally a bulleted list of key facts) and a "long version," which includes traditional paragraphs. There's something in there for everyone.
Bio platform: Instagram
Instagram is a notoriously difficult platform on which to write a good bio. Similar to Twitter, you simply don't have room for a professional bio that includes everything about you. And because Instagram is primarily a mobile app, many viewers are reading about you passively on their mobile device.
Instagram's limited bio space requires you to highlight just your most important qualities, and blogging icon Rebecca Bollwitt does so in her own Instagram bio in an excellent way.
Rebecca's brand name is Miss604, and cleverly uses emojis in her Instagram bio to tell visitors exactly what makes her a valuable content creator. Take a look in the screenshot below.
Starting with a trophy emoji, Miss604 says she's won more than 30 awards for her blogging services. I haven't even looked at her pictures yet and the introduction of her bio has already sucked me in.
The rest of her bio follows suit, breaking up the text with an appropriate emoji and a perfect collection of nouns to tell me who she is as a person. She even links out to her husband's Instagram account after the heart emoji (an adorable addition), and assures her followers that all of her pictures are authentically hers.
Take a lesson from Miss604, and show your personal side. Just because you're branding yourself as a professional doesn't mean you have to take your human being hat off. Often your most personal attributes make for the best professional bio content.
3. Mark Gallion
Bio Platform: Twitter
As a venture capitalist and an executive at several start-ups, Mark Gallion has different versions of his bio all over the internet. You can imagine some are more formal than others. But when it comes to his Twitter bio, he carefully phrased his information in a way that helps him connect with his audience -- specifically, through the use of humor.
Why would he choose humor when he runs four start-ups and constantly seeks funding for them? Well, Mark's tactic is totally intentional: it's a lever he pulls to refresh his brand while maintaining his already impressive and established identity as an entrepreneur.
Mark leverages his Twitter bio because it’s place where he can be human. And it helps him relate to his followers and potential investors.
When crafting your own Twitter bio, consider your audience and the personal brand you're trying to create for yourself. Use it as an opportunity to be relatable. (And check out this list of amusing Twitter bios for inspiration.)
4. DJ Nexus
Bio Platform: Facebook
This New England-based DJ has single-handedly captured the Likes of more than 2,000 people in and beyond Boston, MA. And even if you don't listen to the type of music he produces, it's hard not to listen to his compelling Facebook bio.
Stage-named DJ Nexus, Jamerson's professional bio makes use of nearly every Page field inside the About tab. Right away, his audience knows which genres he plays in, where he's from, and who else he's worked with. The latter -- under "Affiliation," as shown in the screenshot below -- is unique and seldom mentioned in professional bios today.
Our favorite part about DJ Nexus's bio? His tagline, under "About" -- "Quiet during the day. QUITE LOUD at night!" DJ Nexus tells you when he works in an awesome way. I got goosebumps just imagining a dance club he might play his music in.
DJ Nexus's bio brilliance doesn't stop there.
The great thing about Facebook Business Pages is that you can write as much as you want without overwhelming your Page visitors. For those who just want Jamerson's basic info, they have the four categories shown above. For those who want to learn more about him, he tells an excellent story of his career. Here's just a preview of his story, below:
In this story, DJ Nexus describes both when he "became known as DJ Nexus" and a company he founded shortly afterward -- all before going to college. This is a terrific lesson for Facebook Businesses today: customers want to learn about you, and as Facebook increasingly becomes a place for meaningful interactions, there's no better place to tell your story than on your Facebook Business Page.
Bio Platform: Industry Website
When it all comes down to it, your professional bio is no different than any other piece of persuasive copy -- no matter where it lives. One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking of it as its own beast, separate from other pieces of writing. If you think about it that way, you're far more likely to write something painfully uninteresting.
When you sit down to write your professional bio and you're watching that cursor blinking on the screen, think about how you would introduce a blog post. You don't just dive right into the meat of the thing, now, do you? No. You start with an introduction.
The best bios are often concise (around 200–300 words), so you don't have a lot of room to play around. But a single sentence that tees your reader up and provides context for the accomplishments that follow could make the rest of your bio that much more persuasive.
Take Lena Axelsson's bio, for instance. She's a marriage and family therapist -- a job where empathy and compassion are a big part of the job description. That's why she chooses to open her bio with a great introductory sentence: "When human beings experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel."
Then, she goes into why she's passionate about her job, how she helps her clients, and how she caters her approach to each individual patient. The necessary educational information is left for the end, after the reader has been hooked.
Your bio doesn't have to be super serious, nor does it have to start with a joke. This bio shows how you can capture your reader's attention by being empathetic and showing how that empathy shapes a valuable professional.
6. Mark Levy
Bio Platform: Personal Website
Mark Levy is a small business owner who's taken a more traditional approach to the professional bio on his website -- but in a way that takes care to speak to his intended audience.
What we love about his bio is the way he's set it up: On his business' "About" page, he's listed two biographies, which he's labeled "Mark Levy's Biography #1" and "Mark Levy's Biography #2."
Like Ann, Mark's given his readers two different options. The first biography is a "short version," which includes a combination of bullet points listing his credentials and a few short paragraphs.
The second is the "long version," which is actually even more interesting than the first one. Why? Because it reads like a story -- a compelling one, at that. In fact, it gets really funny at parts.
The second sentence of the bio reads: "He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books."
Here's another excerpt from the middle:
Of course, the fantastic copywriting isn't a surprise, given that this guy wrote several books. But the conversational tone and entertaining copy let his quirky personality (and great writing skills) shine.
Bio Platform: Blog Byline
Finally, we have Corey Wainwright, who's the director of content here at HubSpot. She's written content for HubSpot's Marketing Blog for years, and her blog author bio has caught my eye since before I ever started working for HubSpot. (Back then, it started with, "Corey just took a cool vacation.")
What I love most about Corey's bio is that it's a great example of how to deliver information about yourself without taking things too seriously. And in this context, that's totally appropriate.
Despite having a number of impressive accomplishments under her belt, she simply doesn't like displaying them publicly. So, she prefers making her author bio a little more "light."
Her bio (pictured below) reads, "Corey is a Bruce Springsteen fan who does content marketing, in that order."
It works in this particular context because, at HubSpot, our blog authors often prefer to make themselves as friendly and approachable as possible -- while letting the content speak for itself.
It helps that authors' social media accounts are located right below our names and above our pictures. For folks who really do want a list of Corey's credentials, they can click the LinkedIn button to go to her LinkedIn page. (You can read this blog post to learn how to create social media buttons and add them to your website.)