If you want a guaranteed recipe for writer’s block, try writing a professional bio—between being taunted by a blinking cursor on a blank, white page and erasing what you’ve written about yourself 900 times—it can be a nightmare.
What accomplishments do you list? What do you say? Do you sound too professional? Boring? Casual? Like a try-hard?
Who knew 250 characters could be so painful?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When you learn how to write a professional bio, this process can be simple and easy (instead of time-consuming and intimidating).
According to a 2022 LinkedIn survey, 85% of recruiters admit that a social media profile is essential and having a strong personal brand and professional bio is more important than ever. With over 900 million users on LinkedIn alone, standing out from the crowd is critical.
- Experts and professionals agree that personal branding, including your headline, is essential in today’s job marketplace.
- The average professional makes judgments speedily; a standout bio is required to capture their attention.
- Candidates who stand out understand what their audience is looking for, and they write a professional bio that highlights their differentiators.
- Professional headlines that convey personal values, not merely skills, align with mission-driven companies.
What is a Professional Bio?
A professional bio briefly describes a person and their career highlights. Bios are commonly used on social media platforms like LinkedIn, X (formally Twitter), Instagram, Facebook, and personal websites.
Because the purpose and platform of a short bio might vary, it’s essential to stay flexible when writing it. No matter the differences, a person should follow a few standard guidelines. The typical elements of a professional bio include:
- Your full name
- Current job title and company
- Overview of relevant experience and credentials
- Notable achievements or awards
- Areas of expertise or specialization
While the length and exact components may vary depending on the platform, the goal remains the same. A professional bio should quickly communicate who you are, what you do, your expertise, and the value you can provide to your target audience.
For instance, LinkedIn bios tend to be more extensive at 2,000 characters, while X bios must be limited to 160 characters. Instagram and Facebook bios are usually 1-2 sentences.
Founder & CEO at SmartFocus Inc.
Driven entrepreneur building growth-stage software companies that empower teams—founded 2 venture-backed startups serving over 50,000 users globally.
- Built SmartFocus from $0 to $5M ARR in 3 years
- Raised $12M in VC funding from top firms like Accel and GGV
- Recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Inc. Rising Star lists
- Passionate about scaling disruptive B2B SaaS companies
San Francisco Bay Area
This LinkedIn bio quickly establishes John as a successful founder and CEO with momentum. It stands out by using metrics, awards, recognizable investors, and interests.
Why a Standout Bio Matters
While understanding the fundamentals of writing a professional bio is essential, it’s just one aspect of the larger picture. To captivate and maintain someone’s attention, you need to know more than simply the basics. To truly stand out, your bio should be like a stop sign—commanding attention and preventing people from passing by without noticing you. The objective is for others to pause what they’re doing, notice who you are, and consider how knowing you could positively impact their business or life.
Leaves a Memorable First Impression
In the digital world, first impressions happen fast. It takes just .2 seconds for people to form an opinion about a website, and 2.6 seconds to find the most critical part of the page they landed on. The same holds true for professional profiles and bios.
With a generic or weak bio, you risk being overlooked or forgotten. People may quickly move on without realizing you could be an excellent fit for a job, partnership, or other opportunities.
Prevents Being Overlooked
With a standout bio that grabs someone’s attention, recruiters may accept your profile and reach out about an exciting role or upcoming interview. New business partners and clients may also need to learn how you can add value.
For example, let’s say a hiring manager is searching LinkedIn for a new marketing specialist. They come across your profile but pass over it because your bio is vague and doesn’t communicate your expertise. As a result, you need to take advantage of the chance to land your dream job.
The right bio helps prevent you from blending into the crowd.
Conveys Your Differentiators
There is an unlimited amount of content online. To stand out, your bio must highlight your differentiators, not just basic credentials and job titles that blend in.
An engaging bio tells a story and quickly conveys why you are the best fit for a job opportunity. This may include details on notable projects, essential skills and experience, awards and achievements, satisfied clients, or measurable results you’ve driven.
- Jane Smith
- Marketing Manager at ABC Company
- San Francisco Bay Area
Award-winning Marketing Manager driven to grow brands through innovative digital campaigns and influencer partnerships.
- Grew organic traffic for 3 brands by over 50% in just 6 months
- Recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Marketing
- Founding team member at 2 successful startups acquired by larger companies
- Passionate about mentoring aspiring marketers and volunteering with local nonprofits
How to Write a Bio That Fosters Connection
Standout bios all have one thing in common—they make those running across your profile or résumé feel more connected and interested in you. For this reason, it is critical for people creating a short bio to write it with the intention of growing that connection. Find out more below about the top ways to use your words to engage people and make them want to build a relationship by hiring, working, or following you online.
1. Know Your Target Audience
As mentioned above, a person might need to write a professional bio for many reasons. Whether you’re job hunting or looking to grow a following, there’s one important thing you need to keep in mind.
Your bio isn’t about you but about “them”—your audience.
Including information about yourself that isn’t relevant or doesn’t build credibility and authority is a waste of words. While you might be proud of specific accomplishments in life, as famed writer William Faulkner once said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
Before you put pen to paper, think about:
- What platform you’re using and its purpose: Social media platforms all serve different purposes. For example, a bio on X should explain to your audience why they should follow you, whereas a bio on LinkedIn is usually focused on working with that person. Not to mention, the amount of words you can use on each platform varies considerably.
- Who you’re trying to target: Write to the people you want to interact with, whether it is future employers, professional contacts, or followers looking for advice or entertainment.
- Why your profile should matter to them: Your bio is a persuasive tool. Explain to your target audience why they should know you.
2. Highlight Your Mission and Values
Starting with your job title and what you do isn’t enough to make others feel connected to you. However, giving people more insight into who you are and why you exist allows others to resonate with you and your work.
To write a bio that connects with people:
- Condense your mission in life down to one sentence: What are you currently doing in life that fulfills this portrait of a better future? For example, you might write, “Machine learning educator teaching free courses on AI, so the good guys outnumber the bad ones.”
- Describe your vision to your audience: This might look like sampling from your company vision statement but make it more personal. For instance, you could say, “My goal is to provide 1 million children with a free, high-quality education by 2025.”
- Talk about your core values: Relationships grow when a person feels like their values align with someone else’s. To start forming a mutual connection, let people know what’s important for you to honor in life.
- Include a call to action (CTA): Indicate how to collaborate further and connect with you to fulfill your vision and mission with a simple CTA like “Learn More.” Then provide a link to your website, which outlines more of what you do and why.
- Be engaging and authentic: You want your audience to feel like you’re a human being, not some carefully crafted guru designed by a marketing team. Mention your interests, unique passions, and why you want to connect with others.
3. Get Feedback on What Works and What Doesn’t
Whatever you do, don’t get married to the idea of keeping one bio for the rest of eternity. One of the keys to writing a professional bio is staying flexible. For instance, you might write a bio and keep it for a month, only to realize it isn’t gaining the kind of traction you want. Don’t be afraid to A/B test different versions of your bio to see what sticks with people.
To get started doing this:
- Reach out to your professional network, mentors, friends, and family to see what they think of your bio.
- Let them know you are looking for constructive feedback on how to improve it.
- After they read through it, listen to their suggestions, give them careful consideration, write a second version, and ask them to review the bio again.
- Keep doing this until you have refined it to attention-grabbing, engaging, and inspiring content.
- Check-in occasionally to ensure your bio still seems relevant and doesn’t need any additional changes.
4. Use Humor… Sometimes
Depending on your personality, it might be on-brand to write a short bio that includes your sense of humor. Throughout the writing process, you want to stay true to who you are as a person. So, if you find yourself more severe and reserved, this tip may not be for you. Yet, if you’ve found humor to be a great tool for you to connect with others, give it a shot.
There are a few guidelines for using humor in a bio, though:
- Always keep humor work-appropriate: Don’t make degrading, hurtful jokes toward yourself or others. This reads as insecure, unconfident, and mean.
- Only use a dash of comedy: You want about an 80/20 ratio, with the 20 percent leaning toward funny. With a professional bio, you still want people to take you seriously and not perceive you as an uncredible jokester. The goal is to show people you have a personality while also demonstrating you know what you’re doing and how to provide value to your audience.
5. Combine Your Two Best Bios
More than likely, you already have multiple bios circulating on various media platforms. Which two have had the most success and why? For instance, do people like your personality-driven bios or the “strictly business” ones more? Is there a line that those in your audience always comment on or ask about? Combine your greatest hits to keep gaining momentum.
When mashing together your bios:
- Remember who you want to target: Strategically pull in the crowd you’re aiming for instead of pressing copy and paste. Craft your bio to fit your platform and the type of people you want to connect with.
- Eliminate what isn’t necessary: Because your two best bios could be for entirely different purposes, make sure they make sense together. Some of the information in both might not be crucial for the person encountering your profile to know. If it isn’t relevant, get rid of it.
- Create bridges: The two bios don’t need to read like they were written at different times and Frankensteined together. Make sure what you write is cohesive. Adding transition words, filling in the blanks, and smoothing over any edges that seem to stick out makes the new bio feel like you specifically developed it for the purpose it’s serving.
Dr. Sarah Chin
Dr. Sarah Chin is a board-certified pediatrician with over 15 years of experience caring for children from birth through adolescence. She graduated top of her class from NYU Medical School before completing a pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s, consistently ranked as one of the best pediatric hospitals in the United States.
Dr. Chin’s special interests include helping parents establish healthy routines, managing ADHD without medication, and addressing all aspects of a child’s well-being.
Dr. Chin enjoys hiking, sailing, and volunteering with low-income schools to provide free immunizations when she’s not in the office. She is passionate about giving back to the Seattle community.
Book an Appointment
This bio highlights Dr. Chin’s education, experience, special expertise, and personal passions. It gives website visitors confidence in her capabilities and provides a clear CTA.
Professional Bio Examples for Building a Personal Brand
A bio isn’t just a bio—it’s a strategic tool and one of the best ways to build a personal brand online. Use the examples below to find out more about how to do this.
- Clearly state your name and job title.
- Give a one-line description of what you do and why.
- Build credibility and authority by tagging any top-tier organizations you work with.
- If you have additional resources that help your audience get to know you, like a website, landing page, or lead magnet, add a link to these assets using a site like Social Tap or Linktree.
- Explain who you are, what you do, and why it should matter to your audience.
- Start off by describing your job title and a little information about your credentials as an expert in your field.
- Make sure to keep building your credibility. Include a specialties section that describes some of your top skills.
- End by driving your “why” home. Let people know why your work is relevant to them and how it can benefit their lives.
- Mention working with recognizable names in your industry to build authority.
- Introduce yourself as if you were at a networking event. Tell people your name, what you do, why you do it, and what makes you unique.
- Continue growing your authority by mentioning some of your top accomplishments and skills.
- Leverage your connections by listing some of the companies and people you’ve worked with that others will recognize.
For Your Website:
- Practice telling a story. Don’t rehash the same short professional bio listed on your social media and networking accounts. Those visiting your website have more than likely already seen one of your online profiles and clicked a link in your bio to learn more about you. For this reason, keep engaging with them by providing more insight into your life. It’s one of the best ways to foster leads and connections early on.
- Elaborate more on why you’re a credible source of information. Let people know about the results you’ve produced in your career and how you did it.
- Position yourself as a problem-solver. If you are a business owner with a personal website, you are likely trying to attract leads rather than an employer. Speak directly to the problem your lead is experiencing and how you can help them solve it immediately.
- Make sure you have a call to action, such as a “Contact Now” or “Schedule a Call” button.
Use a Professional Bio Template
Writing the first few words is usually the most challenging part of crafting a bio. Using a bio template is a great way to start the writing process. If you’re having trouble putting pen to paper, plug and play the sentences below. With that being said, tailor these to be specific to you.
Bio for social media sites:
I help _________ do __________ (X, Y, Z), so they can _______________.
- [What I do], [How I do it]. For example, Dr. Josh Axe’s X bio says, “Transforming health with superfoods.” It tells you exactly what he does and how.
Speaking engagement bio:
- _____________ is a [job title] who has [top accomplishment].
- Write three sentences that discuss your greatest achievements in your career.
- Include one sentence about the relevant speaking experience and why you’d be a good fit to lead a keynote speech.
For a good positioning statement on a résumé, Kyle Weeks, founder of Business Inspo and former marketing analyst at Apple, explains, “The formula is:
- A few adjectives to describe yourself
- What your bread and butter is
- And what value that means to the company”
Watch his whole video about creating an outstanding resume, here.
Before you sit down to write your bio, here’s a quick recap of the most important things to consider before finalizing what you’ve written.
- Know your target audience and tailor your bio to fit their needs.
- Be authentic to who you are.
- Build credibility and authority by positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
- Leverage your connections.
- Invite feedback.
- Revise, revise, revise.
- When in doubt, use a template.
Putting Your Best Face Forward
Writing a professional bio that represents your best self takes time and effort. However, its impact on advancing your career and connecting with the right opportunities is immense. Remember the following:
- Research your target audience and cater to their needs
- Establish your expertise and credibility
- Use an engaging tone and storytelling
- Highlight your differentiators
- Include a clear call to action
- Continuously test and refine based on feedback
Investing time in a compelling bio establishes you as an industry leader, builds your brand, and accelerates your career growth.
Schedule time this week to begin drafting and experimenting with your professional biography. The first sentence is often the most challenging part, so feel free to ask colleagues for constructive feedback. With the right strategy and commitment, you can craft a compelling bio that accurately captures your essence and boosts your chances of success.
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- Thakkar, R. (2022, March 24). Top 100 hiring statistics for 2022. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-100-hiring-statistics-2022-rinku-thakkar/
- LinkedIn. (n.d.). LinkedIn newsroom: About us. https://news.linkedin.com/about-us
- University of Maryland. (2012, February 16). Fear of being laughed at crosses cultural boundaries. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216094726.htm
- LinkedIn Learning. (n.d.). LinkedIn Learning [YouTube Channel]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY4W\_lEFFar8Hlcc9qFqTYA
- LinkedIn Learning. (2021, March 23). How to use LinkedIn to find a job [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XLhiwW0HK0&t=60s