11 Tips On How To Write A Personal Biography + Examples


We’ve all been there: agonizing over how to write a bio that doesn’t sound too self-promotional or fall flat with modesty.

Writing a biography that’s professional and actually sparks interest can be tricky. And optimizing it for greater visibility in search engines can make your job even harder.

In many cases, your personal biography will define your first impression online when you’re Googled by:

  • A potential employer or client before an interview.
  • Someone at a networking event who wants to learn more about you.
  • A potential client or customer looking to get more info before working with you.

And when someone finds your social media profiles, personal website or company bio page, your bio will be there to greet them.

It can make or break whether someone wants to take the next step and work with you.

So it’s important to make it count.

Is your personal bio helping or hurting your career?
Learn how to create a winning bio for any profile with our free tool

1. How to write a bio that checks all the boxes.

When it comes to writing a personal or professional bio, there are a few items that are standard to include. While a bio may not have all of these things, if any of the following apply to you, then they should be included. Use the following bullet points to write out a list of information about you. From there, you can draw info from each line item to start crafting your bio.

  • Your current role
  • Hometown/Current place of residence
  • Work experience
  • Education history
  • Special skills & attributes
  • Professional accomplishments
  • Personal accomplishments
  • High-level personal goals & aspirations
  • High-level professional accomplishments
  • Hobbies & pastimes
  • Personal passions
  • Awards or Accolades
  • Press Mentions
  • Miscellaneous (What makes you unique!)

Starting with a list ensures you won’t leave anything out.

First create a list of info for your bio

 

2. Introduce yourself… like a real person.

This is one of the most important pieces of understanding how to write a personal biography. Always start with your name.

When many people start learning how to write a bio, they skip this important part. People need to know who you are before they learn what you do. Remember that your most important details should go in the very first sentence.

Keep the first sentence short and sweet either by describing what you do at a high level or going into more detail about your specific role. Aim to describe yourself in a way that’s professional…but also, human.

Example of a personal bio introduction

3. Watch your word count.

When you start writing a bio determining the length may seem like an afterthought – something that just happens once you stop typing. However, it is something that you need to think about before you start writing – and your ideal word count may shift depending on your primary focus.

From an SEO perspective, the more words you use in your personal bio, the better. If you are filling in the bio section of a profile, find out the word or character limit – that’s how long your bio should be. If you are writing the bio on your personal website, the longer the better. Plan to write 500 words – minimum. If you have 1,500 to 2,000 words in you, that’s even better.

From a branding perspective, you may have a different take on the length of your bio. Perhaps you would prefer to keep things short and sweet or don’t feel the immediate need for a 1,500 word count. If so, that’s fine too. Cater your personal bio to your goals. Start small. The length suggestion can change based on your situation and ultimate goals.

perosnal bio word count

4. Write your biography in the third person.

This is one of the most common steps that you may struggle with when learning how to write a bio about yourself. While it can feel strange to talk about yourself in the third person at first, there are some very clear benefits from doing so:

From an SEO perspective, writing a bio in the third person allows you to include your full name throughout the bio. This lets search engines know that this lengthy, original, and well-written piece of content is about you. While making it clear that this awesome work is about you is important when it comes to search engine optimization, don’t let speaking in third person become too much of a good thing.

Never overuse your name when writing a bio or include it in a way that seems unnatural. Instead, use your name when it is appropriate. By dropping your name too frequently, search engines may think that the article looks suspicious/spammy – or isn’t written very well.

writing a bio in the third person

5. Write a story, not a list.

When writing a personal bio, it can be easy to fall into the trap of rattling off accomplishments, but that’s what your resume is for. Your bio should go above and beyond your awards and get to the core of who you are and what you’re about.

Now, that may seem like a tall order, but with a bit of planning you can pull it off. You can understand how to write a bio from a technical standpoint, but looking at it through this lens will help be your guideline going forward. Ask yourself questions like, “Who is your audience?”, or,  “What are the main takeaways for your reader?”, and, “What events in your life best illustrate those main points?”. Turn your biography into a story that engages the reader.

Those who have mastered the steps of how to write a bio spend a lot of time doing this. If you approach writing a bio like a story, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to differentiate yourself from others and truly connect with the reader.

write a story not a list

6. Edit ruthlessly, analyze with free tools, and update constantly.

Your online bio is the authoritative source on you. That means that it needs to reflect you in the best light possible. This also means that it should be kept as up to date as possible. The proper action plan for how to write a bio is never truly finished because of this.

A lengthy, well-written and regularly updated piece of content is like search engine gold. So when you complete your initial version of the longer personal bio that you will use on your website, know that you’re not finished.

As you gain more experience, or perhaps shift your professional focus, include these changes in your bios. And keep asking other people that you trust to take a look at your main bios to edit them. Writing a bio is an ongoing process that you should never ignore for too long.

Read your bio aloud to yourself, use free editing tools like the Hemingway app, Slickwrite or any other number of free resources that will help you write a great bio about yourself that keeps readers interested.

edit your personal bio

7. Link to your work.

Regardless of your profession, it’s likely that you have samples of your work that are pertinent to the audience reading about you. In addition to being an introduction to who you are and what you do, let your personal bio act as a marketing tool. Many people want to learn how to write a bio effectively, but they don’t spend enough time learning how to use it as promotion.

You can do this by including links to your product, company or service. Avoid doing this in a heavy-handed way since nobody wants to read a direct sales pitch when they’re trying to learn about a human being. Mention the product, company or service in a way that helps you tell your own story in a natural way.

These links should enhance and illustrate what you’re already describing about yourself. This shouldn’t be a distraction or take anything away from the main thrust of your personal narrative.
If you have a lot of work and accomplishments to choose from, be selective! Highlight work that’s impressive, relevant, tells your story and makes you proud.

If you don’t currently have much to link to within your personal bio, don’t worry. Start by learning more about personal branding. Make a note in your calendar, planner or journal that this is something to work on outside of creating your personal bio. But don’t let this fall by the wayside, set some time aside in the next few weeks to actively work on fixing this.

Whether it’s writing an article on your company’s website, submitting a post to a site that’s related to your industry or finally getting your passion project’s website live… do it! And once that is live, get the most out of it by linking to it in your bios. Look to other professionals in your field who have a well-developed online presence for inspiration.

link to your work

8. Don’t forget to share your contact information.

Even if you have a contact page on your site, or perhaps widgets on your website that link to your social media sites, make a point to include the most direct mode of connection at the end of your personal bio. This could be your email address, a link to your contact page, or a link to your LinkedIn account. When it comes down to it, understanding how to write a biography aids you in creating new and valuable connections.

By including this type of information at the end of your bio, you’re not only letting your audience know how you prefer that they get in touch with you, but directing them to another hub that lets them learn even more information about you (if you so choose). Give some thought about what you want your audience to do after they have just been introduced to you through your personal bio.

Include contact info in the bio

9. Write a bio for all of your different profiles.

As you build your online presence, you will need different versions of your bio. They’ll vary in length depending on where you place them. So to start, don’t feel like you have to fit your entire life story into one bio.

It’s important to have multiple versions of your bio for two main reasons:

  1. From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, unique content helps your profiles and websites rank better in search results. Why? Because search engines like Google want to provide a broad range of information, not content that seems plagiarized (even if you just plagiarized yourself).
  2. From a branding perspective, it’s helpful to have different versions of your bio at the ready for different platforms. For example: your Twitter bio will be very short due to character limitations, but your LinkedIn bio (called your summary) can be longer.

Both of these reasons fit into the bigger picture of managing your online presence. A lot goes into this process, which is why we put together this comprehensive online reputation management guide.

write a bio for each profile

10. Use an online tool to ensure the bios on all your profiles are well-branded and optimized to rank high in search engines.

Understanding how to write a bio is a lot easier when you have a little help. At BrandYourself, we’ve built reputation management software  that walks you through building an impressive online presence.

It includes a useful personal bio analyzer that helps you ensure your bios across all  profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, About.me, your website, etc.) are well-branded and optimized to show up as high as possible in Google. Just submit your profiles, and quickly find out which bios need improvement.

If you want to analyze the bios on your own profiles, create a free account now. Just submit your main profiles, then click “optimize” on each one to see a list of ways you can improve them – including enhancing your personal bio.

Biography tool analyzer

11. Get help from an expert. 

Sometimes you just need a second pair of eyes on your personal bio – or you can have a specialist write it for you. That’s part of the larger reputation management services we provide at BrandYourself.

If you’re interested in working with one of our in-house reputation specialists, we can help: as part of your kickoff strategy session, we’ll help define the most powerful way to talk about yourself, position yourself effectively against others in your industry, and ensure your bios are working for you across all your online profiles and websites. Our reputation specialists understand the ins and outs of how to write a bio that helps you achieve your goals, and it’s one of the first things they go over with you.

To learn more, check out our reputation management services here. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to check out our other blog posts as you continue your journey building your brand. And if you don’t want to miss out on similar tips and tricks in the future, just scroll up and subscribe.

Personal Bio Examples

1. Noah Kagan

Noah Kagan bio

Read Noah’s full bio.

This a good example of a biography that does a lot fo the things we’ve mentioned well. Noah links to his work, writes with a friendly style, and even connects the reader with people he works with.

The reason why we’re highlighting this bio though is that Noah makes it easy to get in touch with him via email. So many biography examples that you might find will include links to social media accounts only, which is fine. However if you want to build up a fast connection with someone who just found you, email is the way to go.

Not only that but because he wrote this bio in a fun and conversational style (the little mention about taco gift cards) it actually encourages people to reach out. Noah is great at building connections with people, and this biography example is no exception.

2. Katerina Jeng

Read Katerina’s full bio.

The biography example from Katerina Jeng illustrates how to introduce yourself like a real person while demonstrating professionalism at the same time. Katerina covers her background, useful traits, current work and hobbies – all while keeping things light and conversational.

The balance in this bio example can be tough to replicate, but it’s worth exploring if it fits your writing style.

Going too casual or stuffy can leave a bad impression professionally, and won’t give you the best possible opportunity to stand out. This is a good example of how to write a bio that does both.

3. Barack & Michelle Obama

Read the full bios

On Barack and Michelle Obama’s about page you can find textbook biography examples that show you how to write your bio in the third person without making it awkward to read. So many people struggle with this, so hopefully these bio examples will make things easier by seeing it in action.

Both of these bios do a great job not going overboard and varying the kind of third person mentions you can include. This makes your biography more natural to read while still ensuring that it has the best chance to be seen when someone looks you up.

4. Darren Rowse

darren rowse bio

Read Darren’s full bio.

Using ProBlogger as a biography example for our tips is a perfect fit. When you check out the page you’ll see that Darren wrote this bio to be comprehensive but also lead viewers right into his offerings (very smart).

He is mindful of his word count and makes sure to expand a bit more after he’s done talking about his background by continuing into what he’s working on now. This biography is a perfect example of how not being too brief can help the bio you wrote rank well in search engines, while also catching the reader up if it’s their first time hearing of you.

5. Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss bio

Read Tim’s full bio.

Tim is a master at promoting his work and when he wrote his bio he took full advantage of the opportunity.

Throughout Tim’s bio he seamlessly links to his work, credentials, social media accounts, and books he’s written. If you had never heard of him before, he makes it quite easy to get up to speed and find out about his work.

One thing we like about this biography example is that he alternates between lists and paragraphs to help break things up. So many times people write their bio as an extremely dense and text-heavy monster that ultimately never gets read fully. If you give the reader a break (especially in this age of skimming) more will be consumed in the long run.

6. Pete Kistler

pete kistler bio

Read Pete’s full bio.

Pete’s bio works in both his personal & professional story. Instead of being just a list of facts, it includes the story of how he was mistaken for a drug dealer in Google — and how it became the turning point in his career that lead to BrandYourself.

Write a winning personal bio in minutes
Learn how with our reputation management tool

38 Comments

Add yours
  1. 1
    Martin Buckland

    Thank you for your post. A bio accompanied with a powerful and enticing resume are your two most important sales tools.

    When presenting these documents you only have on chance, first impressions count. Your blog goes a long way in creating the correct image with a bio.

    Thanks again

  2. 3
    nels1234

    Thanks for the input. One way I was able to create my own personal brand was by using a new website called personavita.com. it was really helpful in bringing all my thoughts ideas and accomplishments together. It builds credibility and others can validate my work. You can also create different Bios based on who you are showing it to. ( Future/existing employers, family, friends etc.) I think it really sets me apart.

  3. 4
    Tim Baker

    Thank you for the tips. Being in the process of publishing my first book I’ve had to generate a bio and despite the fact that I call myself a writer I had a tough time with it. This site has given me a much better feel for the whole thing. Keep an ey on my site for the updated version.

    • 5
      Locksofapoet

      I had the same problem lol I call myself a writer, author but this at first was so freaking difficult to write until I found this web site to break it completly down to like what first grade level for me. lol now it makes so much since. I’m glad we got it. 🙂

  4. 7
    LaKaye Mbah

    Thank you. These tips are easy to follow and I didn’t know about the 3 bio rule! I really enjoyed the breakdown of the other bio and used that to help me get started writing mine.

    Thanks again!

  5. 10
    Sapp

    Thanks for posting this tool to the web. Over and over again, I recreate the wheel college course after college course and more recently for my introduction into the civilian arena. I am more confident now that I have this standardized method of writing bios in hand. Army Strong!

  6. 11
    Pete Kistler

    @Craig: Thanks, glad you loved it!

    @Martin: Absolutely! Your bio is one of the most powerful tools to control first impressions. It’s got to pack a concise and serious punch.

    @EASanders: The principles of bio writing apply to all fields. Think about what you’ve done that is noteworthy, and say it in as few words as possible 🙂

    @Tim: Good luck with your book, Tim!

    @LaKaye: I’m glad both of my bio articles could help. Sometimes it takes inspiration from other people to compellingly talk about ourselves.

    @Rose: Thanks for the kind words!

    @Martie: We’ve got a bunch of other excellent articles on resumes, cover letters, interviews, etc. if you’re looking to work on your entire career toolkit.

    @Sapp: Great! The beauty of your bio is that once you consciously sit down and write it once, then you have a strong foundation that you can tweak for the rest of your life.

    – Pete Kistler
    CEO, Brand-Yourself.com
    @pete_kistler and @brandyourself

  7. 30
    Americas Footprints

    Really good information…especially the getting feedback part. While we may not want to hear it, we NEED it sometimes. Good friends who know what they’re doing can be very valuable in this situation.

  8. 31
    Gothic Gourd GIrl

    So many things I wouldn’t even consider. Thanks for the tips. They are timely, since I am just going through a total rebrand!

  9. 32
    David Pace

    You raise a good point, in fact you are ‘fixing’ something right now. You are adding your unique perspective as an ‘innovator’ in the information age that can assist other unlikely writers to get branded and ranked. Maybe it would be a great idea to answer questions in Quora, Yahoo Answers and the like. That can be your links to your ‘works’.

  10. 35
    Dylan Cornelius

    Surely in your many years of experience there are some good/funny/genius problems/solutions or stories you’ve lived or caused. Share them. 🙂

  11. 36
    Jason

    Thanks! TIps #3, #5, and #6 were especially helpful for me. I also find useful this article on how to write a biography so I recommend reading it as well.
    I also find really helpful suing samples. At least, it’s really helpful for me!

  12. 38
    billy boyles

    For me, the key to this article is section 6. Anymore, I DON’T think the expectation is a list of your accomplishments. I think the people who make the decisions based on biographies are looking for something different, a way to truly distinguish one person from another. A list says one thing about a person–a STORY says something much different. It SHOWS you are creative. A story gives you a lot of flexibility and opportunity to qualify yourself; a list is often reduced to a quantity. Dylan makes an excellent point about ‘sources’ or achievement; in a technician’s role, resolution can be rote, but my experience is solving problems presents lots of opportunities to get creative. David also makes an outstanding point: even if you truly don’t have anything that qualifies as an accomplishment, in this day and age, there are numerous ways to create demonstrable achievement. I believe that’s what the Gig Economy is all about. Dave mentions two specifics; there are dozens more opportunities. This could be an important consideration if you have been stuck for a while in a job that TRULY sucks. I’ve been in those. Then, the story REALLY comes in handy–’cause you don’t have to dwell exclusively on work related stuff. Never hurts to show people you are compassionate, or generous, or kind.

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