Editor’s note: I updated this post on March 23, 2021 to include up-to-date examples and wording.
Hiring managers are checking you out online, and you need to know how to write a professional bio you want them to see.
Nearly 70 percent of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates. About half report using Google searches to learn about potential employees and say they wouldn’t hire an employee if they couldn’t find them online.
You want them to find a consistent message about you—your qualifications, professionalism and personality.
As you continue making a professional brand for yourself, all of your online communication platforms will have one thing in common — a version of a professional bio. The bio is 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 while simultaneously 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 like on social media or running with guest blog posts.
Your professional bio should be written in third person and include the following. Here’s how to write a professional bio.
State who you are
Put your name in the first sentence of your bio so the reader knows immediately that they are reading about the correct person. It’s your virtual introduction. If you have a common name that may be confused with others, consider using a middle name or initial in all of your professional communication.
Outline what you do
Provide a general idea of what you do, establishing your industry without necessarily being organization specific.
Kenna Griffin is a content marketer, journalism professor and collegiate media adviser. She studies the link between journalism and emotional trauma.
Describe where you work or have worked
Describe your current job, business or professional experience.
Kenna is a freelance content marketer, the remote media training specialist for The Shield student media at the University of Southern Indiana and an adjunct professor in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.
Explain 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.
Kenna is the author of profkrg.com, a site that serves as a practical resource for student journalists.
Kenna has a Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She researches the relationship between emotional trauma, journalism professionalism and organizational support. She is a two-time Dart Foundation educator fellow with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. She published a book in 2020 about her research on journalists’ emotions regarding witnessing executions.
Tell them how to find you
Include all of your relevant contact information — email address, telephone number, professional social media accounts, and website and/or blog URLS.
Provide some 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. This part of the bio is sort of like the “fun fact,” only career-relevant and not as annoying to create.
In her “off” time, Kenna likes to read, swim, or just be outdoors in the sunshine and spend time with her family and their four dogs. She reads more than 100 books a year and admits she’s a personal and professional development junkie. She’s also a self-proclaimed word nerd.
Adjusting your professional bio
Once you draft this foundational bio of about five to eight paragraphs, it will be much easier to alter it for all of your various online platforms. You also should update the bio regularly so it stays current.
Remember that the important thing is to present a consistent professional message about yourself for potential employers and partners to see.