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In 2022, every business leader has a personal brand. It is the story of who you are and what you do that is written across social media platforms, news outlets, and the reviews that are offered on your business’s products and services. For potential clients and customers, your personal brand is often the gauge they use to determine whether or not you and your business can be trusted.
So, who controls your personal brand? Who is telling the story? Who decides what gets to be highlighted and what is left out?
It would be wonderful if you were granted sole authority to tell your story. Unfortunately, that is rarely — if ever — the case. Thanks to social media, anyone can tell stories about you and your business practices to a global audience, but where does that leave the business leader intent on crafting an attractive narrative?
Your best strategy is to pay close attention to the areas that you can control. At the top of that list is your bio. Having a strong bio, and making sure it is accessible in every possible location, is critical in establishing a good personal brand.
A bio is a carefully crafted summary that provides a snapshot of your life and work. Visit any profile page on social media and you will find some form of the owner’s bio. On some platforms, bios are very brief. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook bio simply says, “Bringing the world closer together.” Selena Gomez’s Instagram profile says, “By grace, through faith.” You might think of these as social bios.
Professional bios go beyond a tagline to outline your professional journey, including what you have accomplished, the skills you have obtained, and the areas in which you excel. Its goal is to establish credibility and further certify the subject’s expertise. The bios that you find in a LinkedIn profile provide better examples of what a professional bio should include. These often tell a story about what inspires you, how your passions have served you, and the victories that you have achieved for yourself and others.
If you intend to establish a personal brand, you need a professional bio. Crafting a bio is not something that is only important for those in the upper echelons of business, nor is it something that is reserved for those who have the most experience in their own careers. In fact, most college graduates just beginning their careers have a professional bio on their LinkedIn page or personal website. The bottom line is that anyone who hopes to connect in the business world needs a professional bio to share as part of their online persona.
Decades ago, a first impression was often made in person. In our digital age, your online presence provides your first impression. A good bio is important for any business professional or entrepreneur who wants to extend his or her network. The connections that will grow your business may begin with someone viewing your bio. Building a strong bio, in turn, means building a connection that grows your business.
A good bio can also be the tool that helps you to stand out from your competition. The globalization of business means that your merits are being compared to a global talent pool. As a result, your qualifications, certifications, and experience may not be enough to differentiate you. The best bios go beyond listing what you can do to explain why you do something better or are more knowledgeable than others who offer a similar product, service, or value proposition.
The basics of a professional bio include your name, the company you work for, your position within it, as well as your strengths and past achievements. To establish credibility as an expert in your field, you can share links to media coverage that you have achieved or metrics that support your expertise. You will also want to include information on any advisory roles you may have held, such as serving on a company’s Board of Directors.
A standout bio will present these elements in a way that communicates your personality. Remember that your bio will likely be the first impression that you make with a potential client, customer, or even future employees, partners, and investors. How do you want to come across? A sterile, mechanically-written bio will make a certain type of impression to some, whereas a bio that shares some passion and vision will leave a different type of impression with others. Those who read your bio should know more than what you have done; they should get a feel for what it would be like to engage with you.
There are certain things to avoid when writing your bio. Keep in mind that it is not a resume in which you need to include every milestone throughout your career. Focus on what is relevant for your current season and the goals you want to achieve. Additionally, your professional bio should focus on your professional achievements and experiences, and should avoid talking about your personal life as much as possible.
It is also helpful to zoom out when writing your bio. Make it appeal to those inside and outside of your industry by avoiding jargon or technical terms. For example, instead of sharing that you serve as an advisor to the IEEE, you can write that you are an advisor to one of the world’s top IT organizations.
Once you have crafted a bio that shares your qualifications and accomplishments clearly, concisely, and in a voice that represents you well, it will be time to share it. You can include it after your signature on your text and email communications, on the “About Me” page of your company’s website, and set it as your bio on your LinkedIn or Twitter profile.
With that said, however, it’s important to remember that your bio is not written in stone. Review it regularly to make sure it is fresh and up to date, tweaking it when necessary to better fit a particular use or audience. If you are submitting a guest post to a blog, adjust your bio to speak more clearly to the blog’s readership. You can then borrow pieces of it to include in shorter social media profiles and leverage it to build your personal brand whenever you have the opportunity.
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