“Please send through your professional bio.”
If that panic-inducing sentence has you furiously Googling “how to write a bio,” “professional bio examples,” or even “what is a professional bio,” then you’re not alone.
Your professional bio is easily the most important piece of copy you’ll ever write about yourself. How you’ve chosen to present yourself on professional social networks like LinkedIn can be the deciding factor in whether you get your dream job.
Every week across the globe, more than 40 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs. In 2021, 3 people were hired every single minute through the platform.
This pressure is why we find it easy to procrastinate when writing a professional bio—competition is fierce, and you need to bring your A-game to stand out from the crowd.
The good news is that anyone can write a stellar professional bio regardless of their experience or accomplishments. To prove it, we’ve turned to some of LinkedIn’s Top Voices—everyday professionals who have built a community of hundreds of thousands of followers on LinkedIn—to learn how to craft a professional bio that pops.
Give your profile the finishing touches it needs to stand out from the cookie-cutter noise and get people excited about what you have to say with a perfectly crafted professional bio.
How to Write a Bio: Perfecting Your Professional Bio Is an Artform
What’s the Purpose of a Professional Bio?
Before we begin looking at how to write a bio, let’s first get one thing clear: a professional bio should do more than showcase your professional expertise. It is an opportunity for people to get to know you, regardless of your experience level.
Typically, a professional bio will sit on the “About Us” page of your website, in the bio section of your social media platforms, and in the “Summary” section of your LinkedIn profile.
Brand and marketing strategist (and a LinkedIn Top Voice for marketing) Kristin Gallucci defines the ideal professional bio as “an introduction to who you are, what you do, and what interests you…it can draw your audience closer or turn someone away.”
No pressure, right?
Don’t stress—writing a professional bio is a lot easier than you think. Let’s discover how to write a professional bio using Foundr’s professional bio template.
A Fail-Proof 5-Step Professional Bio Template
When it comes to writing a professional bio, we all know that feeling of sitting down at your desk, fingers at the ready above your keyboard, and suddenly you can’t remember a single thing you’ve done in your life.
The secret to writing a professional bio without tearing out your hair is to use a simple template. A template will help you properly structure your bio, which will help you write faster and prompt you to include all of your important information.
- Your Name: Nice and simple, first and last name.
- Your Company/Brand Name: Who do you work for/with? If you’re a freelancer or running a side hustle, you can leave this section blank and jump to step 3.
- What You Currently Do For Work: List what you do: freelance copywriter, marketing specialist, makeup artist, etc. You can add a little flair to this section but only if it’s directly related to your expertise. For example, “award-winning dog groomer” is perfect, whereas “dog groomer for cute poodles” would not be.
- Your North Star: Now is your chance to let the reader know a little more about how your interests and passions intersect with your work. To avoid getting caught up on this one, write 10 words or fewer detailing:
- Your career goals (“To write for a global sports publication”)
- A cause you are passionate about (“Inclusivity in sports and sports broadcasting”)
- Professional Accomplishments: A bio is the perfect place to list a few accomplishments you’re keen to show off. List out no more than 2–3 career milestones, awards, or certifications.
Now that you’ve set the groundwork, it’s time to add a little polish and personality to your bio.
Wait, What About My LinkedIn Headline?
While we’re in the process of showing you how to write a LinkedIn bio, let’s not ignore your LinkedIn headline.
Your LinkedIn headline sits at the top section of your profile and is where you can describe what you do in 120 characters or less. This brief description appears next to your name in search results.
You only have 120 characters, so write something that is reader-friendly and search-friendly. Foundr’s pro-tip for writing a LinkedIn headline is to simply use your answers from the template above.
For example, let’s see what Snacks With Bite CEO Natasha Giannetti has used in her headline:
Natasha has listed her current role (CEO/Co-Founder), company (Snacks With Bite), and top achievement (2020 Women in Leadership Award Finalist).
Lead with the name of your company and your position, and then follow up with an accolade or your North Star. If it’s appropriate, include an emoji that relates to your profession.
Remember, you can go more in-depth in the Summary section with your professional bio.
The Key Elements of a Kickass Professional Bio (With Examples)
Now that you have the bare bones laid out, it’s time to take your professional bio to the next level.
Let’s get out our magnifying glass and examine the professional bios of some of LinkedIn’s Top Voices of 2020 and 2021 to uncover their secrets for writing eye-catching introductions.
Let Your Personality Shine Through
LinkedIn Top Voice Paul Carrick Brunson’s profile is a fantastic example of a professionally presented bio with just enough personality shining through to make it engaging.
In his LinkedIn headline, he clearly lists his accolades, where he works, and his previous experience in entrepreneurship.
His professional bio, however, is where his personality starts to shine through:
Paul managed to list his credentials along with a shoutout from Oprah using a tone of voice that is friendly, conversational, and lightly humorous.
If it’s on-brand for you, you can add even more personality and humor. After all, this is your chance to pitch yourself professionally and personally.
“Showcase your brains and personality,” says 4x LinkedIn Top Voice String Nguyen. “Don’t be boring AF and become a professional sheeple. Own your expertise, and stand out.” If you follow String on LinkedIn, you can see she’s bursting with personality. Her headline alone showcases her unique style of digital marketing.
Check out String’s LinkedIn bio:
String’s profile is a great example of a bio that screams expertise and personality (including her love of fried chicken). It’s no wonder she has more than 47K followers on LinkedIn—who wouldn’t want to follow such a bubbly personality?
Add some life and soul to your professional bio. Don’t be afraid to let your quirks shine through if it complements your professional brand.
What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning?
There might be millions of other people with the same skill set as you, but there’s no one with your same passions and interests. Think of this as your USP (unique selling proposition).
Check to see what you’ve written under “North Star” in your template. What are your driving passions? What core values do you bring to your role?
“People often overlook answering some important questions in their bio: What inspires you? Why do you do what you do? What are you passionate about?” says LinkedIn Top Voice of Marketing Kristin Gallucci. “You need to consider your ‘why.’ If you do not include your ‘why,’ then your professional bio is simply a resume in paragraph form.”
Check out our very own Foundr CEO Nathan Chan’s LinkedIn bio:
Now, have a look at Foundr’s About Us section:
Democratizing education and building a brand that impacts millions of entrepreneurs is a core mission for Foundr, and you can see how Nathan’s professional bio reflects this mission. It’s something he is passionate about.
Use your professional bio to show how your passions align with the work you’re doing. It shows your dedication to something outside of a paycheck and allows you to connect with a reader who may share the same core mission.
Show Your Credibility Badge
Even if you’re a relative newbie compared to other folks on a speaking panel or a blog, you need to communicate your expertise and knowledge on the topic you’re addressing.
Many writers struggle with providing credibility in their professional bio. How can you list your achievements in your professional bio without feeling like you’re bragging?
According to LinkedIn instructor Tatiana Kolovou, some humble bragging sprinkled through your professional bio is an essential part of building credibility and strengthening your brand. “Think through your latest wins and projects and be attuned to opportunities where you can talk about it. There’s nothing bad about bragging—but if you don’t take the initiative to do it, no one will do it for you,” she says.
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO & cofounder at Affectiva and author of Girl Decoded, has a brilliant professional bio that showcases her credibility in her niche. You can immediately get a feel for her life’s passion. Her experience shines through in her work credentials, her personal experiences, and most importantly, achievements such as raising an impressive $50M+ capital:
If you find yourself stuck for inspiration, answer the following questions: What makes you a trustworthy person in your field? What are the outcomes of successful projects you’ve been involved with? How have you been recognized for these outcomes?
Don’t be shy—let the reader know that you’re dependable, trustworthy, and above all, that you’ve got the numbers and receipts to back it up.
Always Think of Your Target Audience
That’s right, LinkedIn bios and professional bios are actually marketing tools. And as with all marketing, you need to lead with your target audience in mind. Your professional bio should target the right people and not just people in general.
For example, if you’re a freelancer or a consultant, your target audience is not other freelancers—it’s prospective clients. On the other hand, if you’re a professional looking to climb the ladder in your niche, your target audience is other professionals and brands working in the same industry.
According to career coach Kerri Twigg, mindful audience targeting is one of the most overlooked aspects of a bio. “Think of the reader…think about what the audience will care about, and share that side of your work,” she says. “We all have diverse skills and experiences, but less is more.”
As a consultant and coach, Kerri is known on LinkedIn for creating spontaneous, lively videos infused with stories and advice for job seekers considering a career change. And it’s clear from her bio that these videos are just a part of what she does as a career coach:
Kerri uses her LinkedIn bio to acquire new consulting clients. She addresses the reader directly and letting them know how she can personally help their brand.
Another example of mindful audience targeting comes from Janis Sne, 3D Sportswear designer for Adidas. Appealing to artists and designers alike, Janis communicates his expertise through a more narrative style:
Consider what you’re trying to achieve through LinkedIn. Are you looking to acquire more clients as a freelancer or to establish yourself as an industry leader within your niche?
Define your target audience, and you’ll find your professional bio will write itself.
Call to Action
So someone has read your professional bio or LinkedIn summary—what now?
You need to guide them further by giving them a call to action, or CTA. Ask yourself what you want your audience to do after learning a bit about your background.
Melonie Dodaro, the author of LinkedIn Unlocked, says that you should always make it easy for your “ideal clients and potential connections to take the next step” by including a clear CTA.
“Tell them what you want them to do next,” she advises. “This can be the same call to action that you have used in your summary and current experience sections.”
LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to create links in your bio, but this bio from Lex Sokolin shows a way to include them. Plain URLs aren’t the most attractive to the eye, but they give the reader a clear CTA:
Always finish your bio with a clear CTA, whether that be a link to your social media platforms, your YouTube channel, your podcast, or just your email address.
How Long Should a Professional Bio Be?
After reading so many professional bio examples, you may feel like you need to write a novel. But LinkedIn has a 2,000 character limit, which is enough room to communicate the important stuff.
“It should be a concise demonstration of your personal brand,” says Steve Blakeman, managing director of Global Accounts at OMD.
As a 4x LinkedIn Top Voice, Steve is a big fan of cutting the BS from professional bios and all business communications. So much so that he’s written a comedic book about business jargon called Billy Bullsh!t Talks Business.
Steve warns against turning your bio into a lengthy list of companies you’ve worked with. “Focus on the experience you have gained rather than jobs you have had,” he says.
Don’t Just Write Your Bio—Live It
Fear and procrastination around writing your professional bio, be gone! Breathe a sigh of relief, and know that the next time a prospective client reads your professional bio, they’ll be blown away by how well you’ve articulated your work and values.
Not only do you have a 5-step professional bio template to help you structure your writing, but you also have insight into how some of the best of the best write their LinkedIn bios.
Remember to let your personality shine through—it’s what sets you apart. Also, reflect on your core values and what gets you out of bed in the morning. Back up your expertise and boost your credibility, and always keep your target audience in mind.
Above all, make sure your bio is a true expression of your unique self, and leverage it to start winning over the people you want to work with.