The short stuff is hard to write, which is why I found myself spending the better part of an hour on Monday trying to write the single perfect sentence to cap-off a two-to-three-line bio requested by a website to which I’m contributing. If I’m struggling with the short bio, then I imagine other people out there might be, too. So I decided to investigate, dissect, and come back with a report.
Here is what I’ve developed as a formula for writing that elusive short bio.
Who are you in the context of what you’re writing about or who you are writing for?
Simply, straightforward. You are basically answering the question: why should the reader trust the advice you are espousing? Feel free to add some passion to this sentence. Talk about what you’re devoted to or what you really and truly believe.
What’s your favorite professional accomplishment or most memorable professional dalliance?
In this question, I’m gunning for you to think about the most exciting thing you’ve done or something you tried that makes you interesting. If, before you became a professional fashion designer, you made Halloween costumes for your dog, that might be a something fun to share, provided it’s consistent with the tone of the publication. If you’re going for something a bit more professional, you might say that you are the creator of the online course How to Style Your Puppy or author of the e-book Hey, Where’s My Tie: Advice on Closet Organization.
What are you passionate about outside work that bolsters your credibility in your work?
This is the one I struggle with the most. (My struggle inspired this post!) I’m going to tell you to do something here that I am going to have to spend some time doing myself: think about something that’s relevant to the outlet you’re writing for, or relevant to the article you’ve written, that makes you seem like a real person with a life outside the internet. I am working on a piece for an outlet that offers career advice to millennials. My first attempt at this sentence had something to do with the fact that I have a one-year-old. Not only didn’t I feel particularly connected to the sentence and sentiment, it’s not right for the audience. So I continue to plug away.
When I get there, I’ll let you know in the comments below. Please do the same. Share your three-sentence bio with us. Let us know what you love most about it and what you struggled with.