How to Write a Winning Professional Profile
BY: DAVID LEONHARDT ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
If you've ever read an official bio for a conference speaker or for the author of a report, you could be forgiven for snoring. Just listing positions and accomplishments doesn't impress anybody. A list is just a list.
A good bio helps to explain what each phase of a career means for possible clients, partners or employers. It helps to tell a story, which is what I did with my own biography.
My biography is a bare minimum.It is meant simply to give my credentials to potential clients. A more extensive profile would be a more effective sales tool, but I use one-on-one emails to make 100 percent custom pitches, so all I need to supplement those is a an easy-to-read bio.
However, if you want to really sell yourself with your bio, here is how to write an engaging professional profile or biography that people will want to read.
1. Start with a handshake. Just as if you were meeting someone in person, the first thing people want to know is your name. The second thing they want to know is where you fit in the world. The third thing they'll want to know is where you fit in their world. So...
- Your name.
- Your current title or position.
- Anything that links the two of you together.
In a written profile, the first two points are easy. The third point is more challenging. It might depend on who your audience is, which means tweaking it each time you use it. Or you might have to be very general.
2. Now that you are introduced, people will want to know your background, where you came from.
We all have roots. We've all had experiences. The roots are where we started. The experiences steered us in certain directions from that starting point. When you know what might have influenced a person, you get a better idea of who they are and what values they have. So talk about your roots, your experiences and your early motivations.
3. The life you've lived so far has lead you to ... where?
Yes, we know your name. Yes, we know your title or position. But who are you now? What do you mean to me?
If you answer that you really love the yacht you can afford because of your success, you've failed. People only care about the yacht if you are inviting them aboard.
If you point to a series of awards and certificates on the wall, you've failed. People only care about your certificates and credentials if you are writing in a scientific journal.
They want to hear about things that matter:
- How much you like to see a customer's face light up from your top-notch customer service.
- How it fills you with joy to see people using your product.
- How you stand behind every project, because you know how much it means to customers.
- How proud you are of the amazing team that works for you.
- How the best part of running your business is that you can give back to the community.
The things that matter are never about you.The things that matter are always about somebody else.
Like all effective communications, it is always about the people listening, never about the people talking. Yes, your profile is about you. But the readers only care about you to the extent that you mean something to them. A successful professional profile always tells a compelling story...and it always invites the reader to play an unspoken starring role.
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