The Ultimate Bio and Why It Is Important
You've heard things come in three's and bios are no different. The average writer will need three bios for uses in different areas - and while I'm thinking of it - a byline is not your bio. We'll talk about that in a few minutes.
WHY THREE BIOs?
Well, because you will have various places you need to place a bio, and depending on the use, your bio must fit. A blog will require a more relaxed bio whereas a proposal will insist on more credentials and experience. A website will require short and simple. In any of these items, the goal of your bio is to allow the reader to meet you and get to know you. Just as you should have several bios, you also need photos that match. Now that you have an idea of what a bio is, then let's get started.
THE PROFESSIONAL BIO
A professional bio is used on a proposal or on anything business-related in your writing. It should list your credentials such as your schooling (BA, BS, Ph.D., MD) whatever that may be. If you only have a high school diploma, that's fine, you simply list the school and graduation year.
It is important that you understand, that schooling is not always the highest form of credentialing. Sometimes it's clubs or groups that you may lead, ministries, or even life experiences (for example you are a parent of a disabled child - this qualifies you as a life professional). The thing is, you don't sell yourself short. Your credentials vary depending on your experience and ability.
In your professional bio, you will list those things that give you experience, be it raising a disabled child or a college or post-college degree. Your professional bio describes you and the qualities and abilities you can and do bring to the table, so when you write this, include those accomplishments and work that you represent well. Keep in mind, that a professional bio is not where you tell the reader you have 4 granddogs, Muffin, Stuffin, Rowdy, and Moudy. Strictly professional. You might say,
Cindy is married and the mother of four adult sons.
The readers don't care how many grand-whatevers you have or what your hobbies are unless the hobbies pertain to your professional stance. A professional bio is not the place to list every award you have won or publication you've been published in either. Simply stating that you have received numerous writing awards or that you are published in numerous websites or magazines is sufficient.
This bio should accompany a professional headshot not you in the garden, sweaty, and playing ball with the dog.
THE WORKING BIO
These bios are called by numerous names but think of them as the bio you use when you're working on your blog. It's a relaxed bio. Keep it 100 words or less. Anything more just becomes redundant. Here you list your qualifications, one or two recent publications or books, and awards, and finally, you can relax a bit by sharing a hobby or a little about your family. Just don't get carried away and list every grandchild, and pet. It's boring. Working bios allow you the opportunity to show a little of your fun side. Also here, you'll want a more relaxed photo. Outside shots are nice but again, avoid the sweating dog playing photos.
THE SHORT BIO
A short bio is just that. Short. Maybe thirty words or less. When you guest blog you'll want something simple that doesn't eat up bandwidth. Add your blog URL or website, even your email where you can be contacted. A short bio, generally states what you do or write, i.e.
Cindy is a writer, speaker, and conference teacher. She is an award-winning, best-selling author of four novels and she lives in the mountains of east Tennessee.
Short. Simple. Your photo here can be relaxed but poised. Many times these are used on those articles or guest posts and space is an issue.
Not to be confused with your bio, a byline is one short line that identifies you.
Cindy K. Sproles, is an author, speaker, and conference teacher.
Sometimes you will be asked to attach a photo, if so, use your professional look photo.
It takes time to pen the perfect bio and regardless of the use, it should be concise and not silly. Think it through. Be choosy with your words and give the reader a view of who you are in a snapshot. I know you can do this. Yes, you can.
Photos courtesy of www.pixaby.com and photo 1 - whitesession. Photo 2 - StartupStockPhotoshoto and Photo 3 - KRiemer