How to Write a Short Bio
By Bel Kelly
Everyone will have to write a short professional bio at some point in their lives. They can be expected of you in classes, at jobs or internships, or by galleries or publications if your work is ever published or shown. It’s a key skill to have in your portfolio, and once you’ve got it down, you’ll be able to introduce yourself in a way that sticks in people’s minds.
So what makes a killer bio? The key elements are:
- Your name. Bios are traditionally written in third person, and start with your name, ex. Bel Kelly is a student at Champlain College…
- Your education credits. Whether you’re currently in school or have already graduated, list the school you attend(ed) and the degree you’re working towards or have completed. If you have multiple degrees, it’s your choice whether you want to list them all or just list the most recent/advanced. Different situations benefit from different levels of detail, but keep length in mind; you only want to include the most important information.
- Your professional work. This would be any positions you are currently employed in, and where. If you have impressive industry experience beyond your current employment, you should mention that as well, ex. She has ten years of experience as a column writer for the New York Times, and is currently writing for the Boston Globe on their advice section. If you don’t have that extra experience, though, don’t sweat it.
- Your location. This can be as simple and personal as, He lives in South Burlington with his lovely wife and two cats. This is a great way to humanize yourself to the people reading your bio.
Beyond this bare bones structure, you want to find a way to make it as standout and unique as possible while still keeping it professionally appropriate. Whether that means mentioning some of your personal hobbies or throwing a bit of humour into your bio, make sure your personality is coming across, not just your accomplishments.
And, as always, know your audience. Your bio won’t be the same across the board, and different occasions require different presentations of yourself, so don’t be scared to rewrite your bio each time one is required of you, keeping the base information consistent but adjusting how you present it, and the ‘flavor’ of your writing.
Below is an example of a short professional bio written with a target audience of future coworkers and collaborators in mind:
Bel Kelly is a sophomore at Champlain College studying Editing and Publishing and working towards a Bachelor’s in Professional Writing. She is currently employed as a profile writer for the Weathervane publication, and as a writing tutor at Champlain’s SMARTSpace. You can read her work in the Crossover. Bel is also a musician, and she has done gigs in theater and at events. She lives by the water in Belfast, Maine, with a houseful of beloved plants.