Most people hate writing bios so much that the idea of writing an “awesome bio” seems like an activity for sadists and celebrities.
It feels SUPER weird and icky to write nice things about yourself and to list off all the excellent things you’ve done – mainly because of the global phenomenon that is Tall Poppy Syndrome. That, coupled with the uncontrollable fear most business owners feel when they have to sit down and pull an awesome bio out of thin air, equals a desperate need for a step-by-step guide on just that.
All examples and templates will be written from the perspective of Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. If you don’t know who that is, click here and be enlightened. If you do know who that is, this article will be that much more enjoyable for you. The accuracy of Rory Gilmore’s faux resume will definitely be questionable due to knowledge retention issues and the inability to Google whether or not a fictional character was Editor or Assistant Editor of the fictional Chilton school newspaper, so do feel free to correct any inaccuracies in the comments. Always happy to indulge a Gilmore fan.
Here’s how to write a killer bio.
1. Use third-person… or don’t
It’s really a judgement call as to whether or not you use third person tense. It depends on where the bio will be hosted and if you’re going for a casual or more formal vibe.
Generally speaking, here’s how you should use third- and first-person tense.
- If the bio is going to be used on a third party site/magazine/podcast (i.e. a platform that’s not yours)
- If the bio is for a book
Rory Gilmore is a writer and journalist. She was the editor of her high school newspaper and editor of the Yale Daily News. She now works as a freelance writer.
- If the bio is for a social media profile like Facebook or Instagram
- If your business has a cool, casual vibe to it
Hi! I’m Rory – I edited both my high school and college daily papers. Now I write stuff for a living.
2. Start with your name
There are really only two ways to start a bio, so choose one and go with it.
Rory Gilmore is…
Hi! I’m Rory Gilmore…
Use your own name though, obviously – unless you think it’s funny to pretend your name is Rory Gilmore, in which case, go for it!
3. List all of the very excellent things you’ve done
It might feel weird telling everyone how great you are, but that is LITERALLY the point of a bio, so pop on your big girl tiara and let’s get to it! All the Excellent Things You’ve Done fall into a few different categories.
This includes degrees and diplomas you have that are relevant to your industry. Include any kind of training here including certificates and casual training.
Hot tip: Don’t put your Bachelor of Agriculture in here if you’re trying to re-brand yourself as a make-up artist. If it’s not relevant, don’t include it. A bride who wants vintage make-up at her wedding is not going to care how quickly you can shear a sheep.
Include relevant employment only. Unless you’re mentioning it in a humorous/ironic way, no one needs to hear about that summer you worked at an ice cream stand at the local train station. Or that year you spent temping in a call centre.
Writing a book, releasing a course, speaking at industry events.
Hot tip: Achievements aren’t awards, they’re usually things you’ve worked hard for but you haven’t received public acknowledgment for. This includes building your business, selling your previous business, volunteer work, and anything else that made your mum teary with pride.
Hot tip: Make sure these awards are real and that you’ve actually won them. You’d be surprised how many people have won awards that don’t exist according to their bios. Also, don’t lie about who presented the award. Most people are going to know that J-lo doesn’t present awards at small business ceremonies based in rural Canada.
Mentions in media, public praise, newspaper, and magazine features.
It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have many (or any!) awards or accolades (yet!)– just make sure you fill out your bio with lots of other impressive things in the other categories.
4. Don’t be afraid to show some personality
Bios don’t have to be boring – in fact, it’s better if they aren’t boring. Be bold and do something different with your bio, especially if bold and different are on-brand for you. Here are a few examples of bios that are a bit left of centre:
– Jessica and Heather from Go Fug Yourself have written bios for themselves based on Alexis Carrington from Dynasty and Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210. It’s weird and hilarious. Obviously, this approach wouldn’t work for everyone but it’s very on-brand for these two veteran humour bloggers.
– This bio is visual, with a timeline of her life ten years ago vs now. It’s precise, it’s to the point, easy to read, and entertaining – basically the perfect bio. Definitely do one like this.
– If humour isn’t really your bag, Emma Kate from Emma Kate Co has a beautiful bio/about page that is whimsical and beautiful and not at all funny, because that’s not what her brand is about.
or go home?’. Yeah well Hillary went BIG! If that’s on-brand for you, don’t feel like you need to shrink into a cookie-cutter mold like everyone else. Be yourself! Let your freak flag fly. You’ve got a much better chance of attracting the right kind of customers/opportunities/clients if you show everyone who you truly are.– Ever heard the saying ‘Go big
5. Don’t lie
People can Google whatever you write, so make sure that when they do, they don’t find out that you’ve been bending reality (as in lying, not playing around in the matrix). It can be SUPER tempting, but it’s not worth it. Even if you don’t think anyone has a copy of the Cosmopolitan magazine from Feb 2009 you said you were featured in, lying is a seriously dangerous game.
6. Have a short version and a long version of your bio
Have a 50-word bio ready to send to editors and to attach to things like interviews or podcasts you’ve been featured on. Shorter bios are also useful for social media profiles like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
You also need a longer bio for your website. This one should go into more detail and can include things like your history, how you came to start your company/career and more personal/fun anecdotes to entice your future customers/followers.
7. Include contact info
Always include a way for people to contact you. It could be an email address, Instagram or Twitter handle or your website. Whatever feels the most appropriate for you.
So now you understand the makings of an excellent bio, here’s a short and long template for writing your own killer bio. Do it today. No excuses.
Here’s a template for your own short bio – just fill in your own information!
NAME is WHAT YOU DO at WHERE YOUR WORK who enjoys HOBBY 1 and HOBBY 2.
If you were Rory Gilmore, here’s what your short bio would look like.
Rory Gilmore is a freelance writer and political journalist who enjoys coffee and speaking really fast.
Here’s a template for your own long bio – you know the drill, fill in your own info and you’re good to go.
NAME is a WHAT YOU DO at WHERE YOU WORK where we WHAT THE COMPANY DOES (e.g. create content, develop ad campaigns), including EXTRA BITS THE COMPANY DOES.
NAME helps to THING YOU DO for TYPE OF PERSON/COMPANY and has worked with INSERT BRANDS/exhibited at INSERT GALLERY/won INSERT AWARD.
She enjoys HOBBY 1 and HOBBY 2 and lives in CITY YOU LIVE IN. For more information please get in contact YOUR CONTACT DETAILS.
Here’s what our girl Rory’s long bio would look like.
Rory Gilmore is a freelance journalist and writer. She focusses on political biographies and writing opinion pieces for national publishers. Rory has worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a junior editor and has written regularly for Conde Nast since 2011. Rory is an internationally renowned public speaker, presenting on the topics of political journalism and modern freelance writing. She doesn’t sugarcoat: you’ll get a straight-up, no bullshit piece from Gilmore every time. Rory is a coffee and junk food lover from Stars Hollow. When she’s not hanging out with her mom watching old movies you can find her reading a book. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once your bio is ready to go, you’ll be ready to make it big on social media – starting with Instagram, of course! Grab our guide to ‘Gramming in 2021 right here or check out a few of our other copy offers over here.
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