Last week, I was asked to write a bio for myself that would appear underneath every byline I have on a corporate blog. I panicked. I don’t know what to say about myself! About a year ago, I had a short bio written for me for my bylines in iMedia Connection. I decided to recycle that bio — update my job title, added a link to my Twitter account and call it a day.
That didn’t fly.
I receive an email back asking for the bio to be a bit more personal, to include a few anecdotes, some funny things about myself, some hobbies. I froze.
Let me clarify: I don’t have trouble talking, in person, to people about who I am or what I do. But that’s a conversation and it leaves room for questions and answers. I feel safe because I know that when I talk, my personality shines through. People can get to know me because they hear my voice, listen to my intonation, can detect passion and excitement and knowledge. Conveying all of that in a bio? No way.
This bio is where I have to show my very best to potential and existing professional relationships so they can resonate with who I am and where I have come from.
There’s no way I can summarize who I am in a paragraph.
Of course, I scoured the Internet. I Googled, “How to write a professional bio” and was terrified by the results. I tried the templates, the drag and drop, the fill in the blanks. I tried to copy the style of other professional bios I read. I searched LinkedIn to see if I could scrounge a template of sorts. Nothing sounded like me.
I figured if someone else could tell me who I am in a paragraph and in third person, then maybe I had a chance at piecing them all together and forming a bio.
That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone.
What is it about bios or “About” pages that has everyone in a tizzy? Why are they so damn hard to write?
Common misconception: “You’re a blogger! You’re always writing about yourself!”
No. Not me at least. I’m writing about experiences, feelings, emotions, but I very rarely literally write about myself. What I’m doing, who I am. Summarizing my life to this point (and including hopes and dreams for the future) seems nearly impossible. There are too many details, too many intricacies that, unless I include all of them, the story doesn’t fit or make sense. There are reasons, decisions, and choices that have played major roles in where I am and what I’m doing, that are just too personal to attempt to accurately summarize.
We’re all unique, and bios or “About” pages are supposed to embrace that uniqueness and share it. Holy pressure Batman, now I have to attempt to piece together who I am without using all of the details that make up my life, and sound interesting and unique?
I visited the “About” pages of some of my favorite bloggers to see if I could get some ideas.
The first two paragraphs of Jamie’s About Page:
For someone who has a personal blog and, clearly, enjoys talking about her life, I am horrifically bad at writing my own about pages. There’s too much pressure. Do I write in the third person? Am I witty enough? Am I explaining myself accurately? It’s just too much thinking for an about page. It’s too much thinking for basically anything, but that’s besides the point.
Because I actually feel like I’m going to get hives while I’m currently writing this, I’m just going to make this easy on myself. Here are ten random facts about me, which I may or may not change out depending on if I remember that I have an about page.
I looked at Nicole’s, Becca’s, Casi’s, and a few others. I got some good ideas, but nothing that made me jump in my seat. And then I finally came to Doni’s. Her “About” page is incredible. It’s full of fun facts, professional and personal interests, photos, links, everything — and it’s all written in third person which didn’t at all sound awkward.
But I still can’t write mine.
What do you do when you need to write about yourself? What steps do you take to make sure you include everything that’s important but not revealing too much (isn’t that the ultimate question)?