Let’s face it. We all love to talk about ourselves when given the opportunity. And when we do, sometimes we may find ourselves overstating our achievements, talents, skills, etc., or perhaps “pumping up” our stories with fancy adjectives and action verbs that make them seem much better than reality. Then before we know it, these exaggerations may even end up on our résumé.
But let’s get real here. Are you doing more harm than good when you write a biography or profile that embellishes your achievements? And what about when you post this information for the public to see? Does this help or possibly harm you in the long run?
When it comes to writing your biography and profile, you need to consider a few things first:
- Who will be reading it?
- Where will it be published?
- What could happen to it once it’s “out there”?
Let’s address each of the questions above.
Who will be reading it?
The people reading your bio will be your audience, which could include your current or future employer, your LinkedIn network, your social media network, book publishers (if you’re writing a book), etc.
Each one of these people might read your professional biography and/or profile because they want to get to know you better. For example, your current employer may want it for a newsletter or article where you are being featured. (This is a great thing, so you want to make it shine!) Or a potential employer will want to know your employment background to see if your skill set really matches their needs.
If you aren’t comfortable with writing, asking someone to write it for you is perfectly okay. Just be honest. Remember: you are the only one responsible for the content of your biography. Don’t include details that aren’t true. That will come back to bite you in the butt.
Where will it be published?
When making your information public, think about the possible places where you want it shown. LinkedIn is a great site to include your profile. It’s very hard to manipulate information from that website. (It can happen, but it’s rare.)
If you have a Facebook account, you might want to seriously consider not putting it there. Employers look at Facebook and its contents to consider whether or not they want to add that person to their organization. It can backfire badly if the employer sees a lot of unsavory stuff on there. (I discuss this topic more in the article “Social Media: Career Booster or Buster?”)
What could happen to it once it’s “out there”?
This is a great question because with today’s technology, your biography and profile could end up in the wrong places without you realizing it! Be careful who you allow to see it and where you post it.
Choose carefully and publish it only to trustworthy locations where it cannot be used in harmful ways. Yes, identity theft is a real deal. Don’t send it out to the world without knowing where it is going!
What to Include
A well-written biography and profile should:
- Be an accurate reflection of you. It’s not just a list of your skills. It ideally gives the reader greater insight into who you are as a person, not just retelling what you’ve done for work.
- Use adjectives and action verbs: capable, driven, self-directed, managed, led, balanced, etc. Don’t be afraid to use descriptive and positive words to describe yourself. This is your chance to shine!
- Be enjoyable to read. Have a little fun with it and try not to make it too dry or dull. Nobody wants to read that! But also don’t go overboard and be flaky or obtuse. That lacks professionalism and people won’t take you seriously. Save that for your personal life.
A good biography and profile can grab the right kind of attention from those who request it. It might even get you that dream job you’re going after!
Just remember this: be as authentic with your written words as you are with your spoken words. Don’t try to fool anyone or lie about who you are. Readers will quickly discover the truth. Authenticity in everything you do is the key.