You’re not arrogant. You’re not self-centered. You’re not pretentious.
Congratulations, your parents raised you well. However, that excellent upbringing that instilled in your soul important values such as humility, self-awareness, and compassion did little to prepare you to write your own biography.
Most decent people loathe the idea of writing their own professional biography because it feels like bragging and goes against the lessons their parents taught them about flaunting one’s successes in a universe that distributes opportunity so unfairly. Your instincts are right.
Don’t worry. HRFR is here to help.
1. Showcase Your Humanity
The people in your life love you for good reasons. Don’t forget those reasons when writing your professional biography. Sure, where you went to school, what you majored in, and your professional trajectory may be very impressive and promote your years of hard work, talent, and diligence. But there is more to you than your work history, and that part of you is critical to your development as a businessperson.
Include in your job biography the things in your personal life that give you spiritual fulfillment, a meaningful perspective, and a sense of purpose. Don’t simply say you like Motown music in your bio. Briefly explain how Motown music reminds you of how your father – a workaholic who instilled in you the importance of teamwork and never being late for anything – danced, carefree, to Motown music on Sunday evenings after dinner. Those memories are what make people who they are, and those memories belong in your professional biography.
2. Embrace Your Pivot Points
We all have points in our careers that change us forever. Maybe that is being laid off in the Great Recession and having to endure a span of unemployment. Maybe that is having to quit your job because of an unscrupulous boss and unresponsive corporate culture. Maybe that is discovering, after years of studying and preparation, you ended up hating your job and decided to start your professional life all over again.
Most professional biographies lack these integral moments of a person’s career, and yet most successful people achieve success because they were able to endure or make changes to accommodate the inevitable hardships life handed them. These are the moments that build and showcase your character, and character is what truly defines us as human beings. Be proud of the moments when your life changed, or you had to change, to put yourself on a path to success.
3. Demonstrate Your Gratitude
Show appreciation for the people who have helped you be prosperous. Remember, your professional achievement did not begin when you graduated from college or landed that big promotion.
Your success began when your mother cooked dinner and read to you as a child so you could feel loved and protected at night. Your success began when your tenth grade English teacher complimented you on how well you write, inspiring you to want to continue to improve. Your success began when you were twenty years old, and that stranger helped you up the stairs after you broke your ankle.
These are the moments that make not only a person, but a career. And your professional biography should reflect your gratitude to the kindness of others. Do not think your bio has to be only about you. The best job bios give thanks to the people who helped you along the way.
Striking that balance between touting your hard-earned and well-deserved professional achievements and honoring the personal influences that helped propel you to success can be difficult. However, your professional biography is an important tool that goes far beyond your LinkedIn or Twitter profiles or other social media accounts. Your official bio is your chance to tell the world who you are, and advance your career by offering valuable information that resonates with others professionals.
At HRFR, we’ve crafted bios for industry luminaries and thought leaders in a spectrum of businesses, and can do the same for you and your company. All it takes is a few emails and a 20-minute phone call to get a sense of your passions and personality. Then you’ll have a biography of 500 words (or less upon request), that will position you and your career for a future of rewarding opportunities. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be in touch in no time.