So, you’re writing a new bio. Congratulations!
If you’re putting your story into written form, it must mean you’re onto something good.
Maybe you’re gearing up for a new work opportunity, or expanding how you already contribute to the lives of others. Maybe your old bio needs updating to reflect the personal or professional growth you’ve been experiencing lately. No matter the reason, it’s all great news!
And yet, when it comes to the actual writing of your new professional bio, you may be feeling a little less than thrilled.
Writing your own bio is tough.
You have limited space to try to summarize the totality of who you are, what you do, and why your work is so valuable to others:
- Where do you begin? What do you leave out?
- How do you put appropriate titles on who you are (especially because you’re so much more than labels)?
- How do you accurately describe what you do and who your work is for?
If that’s the practical constraint of writing your own bio, the personal side is even more challenging:
Talking about yourself is strange and uncomfortable — it can feel conflated, even arrogant. As if, “Who am I to boast about what I do?”
As a professional story guide who’s written the bios, LinkedIn profiles, About Me pages and narratives for dozens of professionals, creatives and thought leaders since 2014, I’ve seen firsthand how shaping your story can help you live (and work) from a place of deeper confidence and ability.
Today, I’m going to help you write your new professional bio in 4 simple steps.
A good written story in bio form means that you’re allowing for efficiency, ease and clarity for new people to understand who you are, what you offer and why it’s valuable to them. Your bio can turn into new business, new connections, and help you do more of the work you love.
You’ll finish with a 4-sentence bio (around 100 words) that you can use for a short-form profile, author or (guest blog posting) blurb, and more.
Remember: it’s not only practical to update your professional bio — it’s also very powerful on a personal level:
The story you tell becomes the story you live.
When your written bio is clear, concise and honest, it can help you feel more deeply seen for who you are: witnessed for your whole truth, not just for your titles, but also what you’ve overcome and what you aspire for your future.
So, let’s get started and get yours written!
Step 1: Who Are You Right Now?
☐ First Sentence: Introduce Yourself Clearly
The opening sentence of your professional bio is crucial real estate. Attention spans are short and time is limited when you’re telling your story, so don’t waste time or squander the attention of your reader.
Imagine someone will only read the first few words of your bio: what’s absolutely crucial to share?
(Think of it like this: How would you introduce yourself to someone when meeting them in person for the first time?)
The first line of your bio should clearly state (1) who you are, (2) what do you, and (3) whom you serve to articulate a helpful summary of your professional prowess.
1) Who You Are:
- Use your full name to properly introduce yourself.
- Choose 2-3 distinguishing titles or labels that capture your work clearly.
- Prioritize the labels in order, from first to second/third.
Here’s an example: “Dave Ursillo is a writer, 11-time author and registered yoga teacher (ERYT200)…”
Even if you stopped reading now, you’ve already met me and been given multiple perspectives on my work.
2) What You Do: The nature of your work already starts to emerge in the titles you chose above. But now, it’s time to further share how you work in practical, clear, relatable terms.
A simple example: “…who writes, leads workshops and teaches classes…”
We’re creating deeper context now – you can understand more of what I do through these offerings.
3) Whom You Serve: This is a chance to articulate your ideal audience, client avatar, customers or group whom you already do or desire to help, specifically. If I was a yoga teacher for a niche like kids or people in recovery, I’d want to mention it up front here to bring specificity.
An example: “…for self-starters and conscientious creatives who want to live well while making the world a better place.”
By the end of this first sentence, a reader can already understand if my work is “for them” or intended for another audience, which is good, because it honors their time and attention.
Here’s a simple template:
- [Your Name] is a [Primary Title], [Secondary Title], and [Complementary Title] who [Primary Offering] for/with/to [Primary Customers] who [Outcome/Experience You Help Provide].
See how that first sentence came together? Here it is in full:
“Dave Ursillo is a writer, 11-time author and registered yoga teacher (ERYT200) who writes, leads workshops and teaches classes to help self-starters and conscientious creatives live well while making the world a better place.”
Notice how the opening sentence summarizes everything — who I am, what I do, who I work with — pretty concisely!
Okay, onto the next step!
Step 2: What’s Brought You Here?
☐ Second Sentence: Share Your Old Self (Or Alter Ego)
Everyone’s past has somehow shaped or influenced their present. How has yours?
Your second line should dip backward into your personal or professional history — your origins — as a reference point for how you’ve “evolved” into this “current incarnation” of what you’re doing. You might think of your “Old Self” (an old, outdated version of You whom you’ve outgrown).
But, you also have permission to leave the past behind and select a more current Alter Ego (your “real life” or “side hustle” part of your persona).
It’s just a matter of personal preference.
Now, it doesn’t so much matter that your Old Self or Alter Ego is perfectly relatable to what you’re doing today. What we’re doing is sharing a unique side of yourself to create a richer, more unique profile of the depths of who you are.
We’re striving to build emotional resonance and understanding with your reader.
Here’s how to pull from your Old Self or Alter Ego to create context:
- Formerly a ___________
- ___________ in his/her past life,
- Coming from a background in ___________,
- Once a ___________,
- Moonlighting as a ___________,
- ___________ by day, ___________ by night
- Moonlighting as a barista on the weekends,
- Side-hustling as a Lyft driver by day,
- Full-time mom to 3 amazing kids,
For my bios, I will often use one version of the following:
- Coming from a background in politics and public service,
- Once an aspiring presidential speechwriter,
My “Old Self” references allude to my personal-professional history and builds into the richness of my story — enough of a hint to make the reader curious, without being a distraction.
Now that you have the start of your second sentence, close the sentence by sharing how your Old Self or Alter Ego led you closer toward the present moment and who you are now (the titles you selected in the first sentence). For example:
“Once an aspiring presidential speechwriter, Dave abandoned the world of politics believing that he could do more to teach personal leadership to others through his love of written words.”
Ready for Step 3?
Step 3: Where Are You Going?
☐ Third Sentence: Tie in Your ‘Why’ / Future Vision
Okay. Now it’s time to bridge your “past” story orientation back into the present. To do this, we’ll tie your Old Self / Alter Ego (from Step 2) back into what you’re doing today. Since we’ve already stated what you do (in Step 1), this time, we’ll say it again — in a new way, from a slightly different angle.
The angle we’ll take is through the lens of why you do what you do. Take a stand and articulate a sense of mission that’s driving the work that you do.
- So, how is your inner belief guiding you to do the work that you’re doing?
- What vision for the future are you trying to make real?
- What experience, life, feeling or outcome are you working to create (especially for your ideal customer, client, or audience)?
Here’s the script I use:
- Today, [Your First Name] does [New Angle on What You Offer] to [Fulfill Your Vision / Goal / “Why”].
An an example from my bio:
- “Today, Dave travels to lead writing and yoga workshops that help students better live the stories they want to be telling, inside and out.”
Your “Why” should explicitly or implicitly reaffirm what you do today. This is a chance to say what you already said in your first line, only in a slightly different way. It gives a new angle on your work to create a deeper understanding of your work.
So where does that leave us so far? Let’s take a look at the bio we’ve written:
“Dave Ursillo is a writer, 11-time author and registered yoga teacher (ERYT200) who writes, leads workshops and teaches classes to help self-starters and conscientious creatives live well while making the world a better place. Once an aspiring presidential speechwriter, Dave abandoned the world of politics believing that he could do more to teach personal leadership to others through his love of written words. Today, Dave travels to lead writing and yoga workshops that help students better live the stories they want to be telling, inside and out.”
Step 4: What Do You Want Them to Do?
☐ Final Sentence: Set an Inviting Action
The final sentence of your bio is an inviting action. Because — and this is important — you only ever share your story to invite someone to care:
Your bio exists to invite someone to care about you, or care about your work, or care about how you’re offering help them.
So if you do your job right in your bio, the reader will care about something by the end of it. The final sentence of your bio is asking or prompting the reader to do something. Now that they care, the emotion of caring facilitates action. Give them the chance to make their new emotional connection to you real (and thus, matter).
Give them an action to perform: a way of connecting with you, deepening their new relationship to you, or continuing the conversation.
The action may be as indirect as asking them to visit your website, or as direct as calling your cell phone or emailing you.
- Learn more at ___________.
- To hire/work with ___________, call ___________ or email ___________.
- To read ___________’s words, visit his/her blog at ___________.
- Take one of ___________’s weekly yoga classes at ___________.
I’ll wrap up my 100-word bio with this line:
- “Read Dave’s words and see his teaching schedule now at DaveUrsillo.com.”
Got it? Simple, right?
Let’s Review and See How You Did!
I want to give you a few questions to ask yourself and check how your bio turned out.
But first, here’s the final draft of my 100-word bio — you can use this for yourself, and maybe tell me if I followed my own advice (how meta!):
“Dave Ursillo is a writer, 11-time author and registered yoga teacher (ERYT200) who writes, leads workshops and teaches classes to help self-starters and conscientious creatives live well while making the world a better place. Once an aspiring presidential speechwriter, Dave abandoned the world of politics believing that he could do more to teach personal leadership to others through his love of written words. Today, Dave travels to lead writing and yoga workshops that help students better live the stories they want to be telling, inside and out. Read Dave’s words and see his teaching schedule now at DaveUrsillo.com.”
By my count, that’s exactly 100 words.
It’s concise, but rich, and not only shares who I am and what I do (Step 1), but creates a deeper sense of where I’ve been (Step 2) and why I do what I do (Step 3). I also invite people into relationship to me (Step 4), so I can hopefully deepen a connection to the new reader.
Here is a 6-point quiz to check if your bio gets all of this accomplished:
- “Did I clearly introduce myself in the first sentence of my bio?”
- “Did I convey whom I serve, support, or help?”
- “Does my Alter Ego uniquely highlight something about my personal past, origin story or ‘side hustle’?”
- “Do I convey ‘why’ I do what I do (through a clear vision of what I hope to create or share in the world)?”
- “Does the tone or voice of my bio match the job I aspire to have?”
(Think: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”)
- “Did I give a clear call-to-action where the reader can continue building a relationship with me?”
I hope your new bio really shines, my friend.
Best of luck in your new ventures. And, thanks for reading!