How many times have you sat in front of a blank screen staring at the pesky cursor, wondering why it’s so hard to write about yourself? I’ll bet it’s been more than once.
Not to mention that the shift to online portfolios, tweets, and character-limited bios makes the process of branding yourself much more complicated. But it’s no less important: 93% of employers are checking you out online.
No, people probably aren’t screening your Twitter bio the same way they scrutinize your LinkedIn summary, but they are looking at both. And while typing up a few solid lines to use repeatedly may seem like a winning strategy, it’s not your best bet.
I’ve come up with templates to combat your page fright—and help you write a killer blurb—across four of the most important online platforms.
1. The LinkedIn Summary
Start by identifying how you use—or would like to use—LinkedIn. Are you content with your job, but looking to expand your network? Or are you aiming to get your foot in the door of your dream company? Are you trying to attract recruiters?
Whatever you’re seeking, your summary should support your activity on the site; a profile focused on networking within the industry will read differently than that of someone aggressively hunting for a new job. Once you’ve identified your purpose, it will be much easier to select which style is best for you.
Now, for the tricky part: interjecting your personal details. I suggest starting with a basic list of must-haves without worrying about how they fit together.
First, write out your title or a general explanation of your position’s purpose: “Field Sales Manager” or “drive market share growth in designated territories.”
Second, move to your most relevant specialities or a few accomplishments. Think: “pharmaceutical sales and territorial prospecting” or “selected as member of National Marketing Council.”
Third, share your goal. For example, “I’m aiming to meet and collaborate with other professionals in the pharmaceutical sales industry.”
After writing your key pieces of information, you can weave them into the following template:
As a Field Sales Manager with over 8 years of experience driving market
share growth in designated territories, I have mastered the ins and outs of pharmaceutical sales and territorial prospecting. After honing and executing these specialties to reach numerous company goals, I was honored with an invitation to join the National Marketing Council. Now, I spend the majority of my time brainstorming sales strategies and connecting with other industry professionals who are interested in talking shop.
You can add supporting content on either side of this skeleton paragraph, such as a personal anecdote, previous positions, or a mission statement. If you need a bit more inspiration, look to your referrals for objective opinions on what makes you special.
2. The Twitter Bio
Now that Twitter is fair game for colleagues and potential employers, a snappy, 160-character bio can help set you apart. I suggest thinking of yourself as an ambassador for your industry—but one with a punch line.
Start by succinctly writing what you do, who it’s for, and why your tweets could matter to followers. Then squeeze in your pizazz. Key word: squeeze. You shouldn’t focus on unrelated quirks or superfluous details.
Software engineering whiz @Belly spreading nuggets of coding gold related to mobile applications. 8-year member of IEEE, aspiring member of The Avengers.
This bio can use the same concrete details from your other personal sites without regurgitating them word for word. However, you could still incorporate the same information without trying to get your followers to crack a smile, which may appeal to more serious tweeters.
Proud 8-year member of IEEE and lead Software Engineer @Belly. Passionate about innovations in coding and mobile applications.
3. The Company Website Blurb
So, you’re part of a team and you all do exactly the same thing, yet you need to come up with a company profile that details your work. This is where you can opt out of some standard details, such as your title, in favor of things that distinguish you as a pro (or a person). If you’re drawing a blank or feel too modest to throw all of your accomplishments up in lights, try to answer these four questions before you start writing:
- How have you personally helped your company or brand? Do phrases like “forecasting insights” or “sales force development/representative training” come to mind?
- Which of your accomplishments would be most impressive to your entry-level self? Maybe you “exceeded all sales goals by 84%,” were “selected as member of National Association of Sales Professionals,” or were “named top CEM-seller?”
- What makes you most valuable in this particular environment? Let’s say you’re most proud of your “ability to set new or improve existing standards to optimize performance.”
- What’s one thing not in your job description that relates to why you’re so successful? Maybe you want to include a line about volunteering, about writing in your free time, or about a previous role.
The answers almost always include good meat for professional bios. Since you’ll likely be limited, try to keep it to a single, tight paragraph.
Margot has exceeded every Clarabridge sales goal by at least 84%, which landed her in the top CEM-seller spot and prepared her for the challenging position of strategizing sales tactics for the National Association of Sales Professionals. Her keen and innovative insights in the areas of forecasting and sales force development have enabled Clarabridge to emerge as a national leader, with a sharp and qualified team in tow to maintain the standard she helped set.
If that’s too formal for the culture of your office, and all your colleagues mention their favorite food trucks, aim for a 50-50 split that suits the company’s branding.
Margot tops the sales charts at Clarabridge. In fact, she’s beat every goal by at least 84% without sacrificing any of her daily trips to the local taco stand. Fueled by loaded nachos, she landed the top CEM-seller spot and took on a position brainstorming sales tactics for the National Association of Sales Professionals. Not only is she a pro when it comes to forecasting and sales force development, but she can also advise a team on where to find the best tamales in town.
4. The Personal Website or Portfolio
This digital persona is where you want to lay it all on your audience in the “About Me” section. It can be tricky to produce personal content beyond the basics, so it’s helpful to remember that you’re aiming to sell your experience and skills as they apply to one industry or environment, not necessarily what defines your self-worth as a person.
If you’re struggling to communicate your value, ask yourself this question: Why do you do [whatever you do] and what is your impact?
Take the answer and work it into your “About Me” page so potential partners or employers understand what you can do for them and why you’re the person they should hire.
Chad Wilborn takes complex technical ideas and distills them into user-friendly visuals to improve digital marketing campaigns for companies along the West Coast. He has an education in traditional advertising and a background loaded with marketing and graphic design projects, centered around modernizing consumer experience. Chad’s portfolio demonstrates his ability to capitalize on every pixel for the overall benefit of startups or established enterprises trying to reach consumers. His award-winning services have won multiple design and branding awards, and he is excited to help add your company to his list of successes.
When you want to showcase yourself in a more unique or quirky light, opt for a first-person version with more light-hearted language.
I am a modern magician, except I transform complicated technical ideas into user-friendly images before the eyes of your company’s customers. I believe in telling relatable stories through graphics, so I’ve studied the basics of traditional advertising before working my magic on corporate marketing projects for companies along the West Coast. My portfolio showcases a lineup of my most recent tricks, which range from visual startup campaigns to Fortune 500 projects—each of which have won design and branding awards. I’m always ready for new design opportunities and have plenty of room up my sleeve for a few more award-winning performances.