As a startup founder or a team member, you are often asked to send your biography for this or that event, this or that competition, or this or that conference. We ask for these all the time at Berytech, and what we’ve noticed is that this is a painful exercise for most.
From a full history to a couple of sentences, or even a few words, learning how to write your biography plays a crucial role in the value of the information you share about yourself.
So, we’re going to give you tips and tricks on how best to introduce yourself. A biography or bio, depending on the length, can be used on your website, on your LinkedIn and other social media profiles, and of course allows someone else to introduce you in the best way possible. This is your story, so learn how to tell it well.
Who are you writing it for? Where is it being used?
Before you start writing, you need to think about your audience. Who will be reading this and where? In this hyper information era, you need to tell people who you are and what you do quickly and simply.
The tone you use in writing your bio, whether funny, formal or personal, depends on who will be reading it. You will need different versions of your bio and a great way to start is to research those written by people in your field or those you admire. It should give you some insight on how to formulate yours.
Keep it relevant and informative
Use the third person to write about yourself even if it feels awkward. It will allow you to include your name throughout the bio and it will make it easier for others to talk about you using information straight from your text.
Introduce yourself. Always start with your name followed by what you do. The most important details should go in the first sentence. Include essentials such as your job title, the industry you work in and where you are based – if it is relevant.
Talk about your experience and your expertise. Mention your accomplishments but remember that your bio is not your resume. Don’t just list what you have done, describe them in a way that is clear to your audience. Cover your background, useful traits and hobbies. Keep it simple and conversational.
Include some personal details, enough to bring your personality across and paint a clearer picture of who you are and what you value. Think of this as conversation-starters, nothing too intimate or embarrassing. Just enough to grab people’s attention. The aim is to describe yourself in a way that is professional but also human.
Finish it with projects you might be currently working on.
Count, proofread, update
Write the long version first, aim for 250-300 words and avoid anything longer than 500 words. Keep in mind that if the bio is going on your website, search engines value lengthier content.
Then write the short version, a couple of sentences that best describe you. This is the version you can use on your social media channels, when you’re asked for a bio that will help someone else introduce you, and you can also use this version to introduce yourself in an email to a potential investor or partner or employer.
We often see requests for 100-word bios so it’s always a good idea to have several versions ready for your use. Your bio needs to reflect you in the best way possible, so make sure it is well-written and constantly updated. There are plenty of free editing tools online to help you avoid any mistakes. Yes, this means making sure the grammar is correct and there are no typos.
Make me look good
You will often be asked to send in an official picture of yourself along with the bio. Your cropped wedding picture where you last wore a suit or the selfie you took that one time your hair looked good, do not make for proper bio pictures.
High resolution and reflective of your personality, those are the main criteria to follow. Keep in mind that this is another way to connect with your audience, so taking the picture professionally is advised, or at least have it done by someone who has an eye for it. This picture should be used on your website, on your professional social media channels like LinkedIn, and sent to anyone who asks for it. Make sure you have versions that are portrait, landscape and square.
Also… please make sure you name your files properly. ‘Picture 1’ and ‘final bio’ are not appropriate. Use your name clearly, and the word ‘biography’ or ‘official’ after.
Lastly, think about your bio as a work in progress. You need to go back to it often and update it with recent experiences, milestones and career shifts. This is not a one-time job.
About the author
Reina Dib Angoujard joined Berytech in August 2017 as the head of communications and outreach. Her two-decade experience is in the planning, development and implementation of communications and public relations strategies across multiple sectors in Lebanon and the UAE.
She last served as the head of Marketing Communications at the American University in Dubai. In this role, she interfaced with CEOs, heads of state, and leading international political and business figures, worked on strategic plans, developed policies and procedures, as well as consulted with the senior administration and governing board on communication and outreach.
Previously, as an Account Director in one of the leading Public Relations agencies in the Middle East, she consulted, advised and managed several client portfolios from different sectors. She gained broad experience in advertising and branding, crisis management, event management and media relations. Reina actually started her career in media, where she worked with leaders in the market including Arab Ad, The Daily Star and Lebanon Opportunities.
A global citizen at heart, fluently speaking English, Arabic and French, she was born in Lebanon and raised between France and Saudi Arabia. She is a graduate of the Lebanese American University in Business Marketing. She spent a decade in the UAE before returning to her native Lebanon in 2017.
Living and working in different countries has allowed her to gain a certain openness and understanding of how communities function as a whole within their diversities. She is a firm believer that employees are the best advocates of any company and is now working on making sure Lebanese entrepreneurs have their shot in the spotlight.
Reina is a passionate baker of all things sweet. You can taste her desserts first hand if you pass by the Berytech offices on Mondays.