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Please visit How to Write a Bio where I provide fill-in-the-blank bio templates for over 150 different types of jobs.

The standard advice for writing a bio is to write in the third person (as though someone else is writing about you). However, there are a few exceptions to the “third person rule”.

Here are four situations when you should write your bio in first person instead of third-person:

1) when you are writing a mini-bio for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networking sites. Social networks are informal gathering places, so a less formal bio is appropriate (seeexamples here).

2) when you are applying for a program or scholarship. Applications work best when they are written in a personal voice, e.g. “I would like to attend X school because…” rather than “John would like to attend X school because…”

3) when the person or agency requesting your bio has specified that they want it in first person

4) if you simply feel more comfortable writing your bio in first person (it’s your choice!)

Don’t get too hung up on the “third person” or “first person” issue. There’s no absolute right or wrong, just conventions. Third person tends to sound formal and professional, whereas first person sounds more informal and friendly.

If you do decide to write your bio in first person, you will also need a version of it in third person for occasions such as speaking engagements when someone else is introducing you.


Writing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) bio is a great way to advertise your services and connect with new clients. To stand out from the competition, you need a bio that gets your message across clearly. The key is to focus on what you can do for your potential clients, and what makes you uniquely qualified to handle their accounting business.

Here are seven key tips to help you write an effective CPA, CA or other accounting professional biography.

1. Draw the client in

Grab your client’s attention by bringing their interests into it right from the beginning. They want to know what you can do for them, so begin by answering that question. What makes you uniquely qualified to help them? There’s no one formula for this, but open with your name and then jump right into a short, engaging sentence that sums up why you stand out from the crowd.

Example of how to begin an Accountant or CPA professional biography:

_____________ (your name) is a/an ____________ (your professional designation, e.g. Certified Public Accountant; Chartered Accountant; Certified Internal Auditor; Controller; Chief Financial Officer) and a/an/the ____________ (your position title, if different from your professional designation e.g. owner; founder; President; Principal; Staff Tax Preparer; Taxation Department Head) at __________ (name of company or organization), a/an ___________ (description of your company or organization, e.g. full-service accounting firm; tax practice; accounting consultancy; private equity audit firm) in _____________ (location).

2. Write in third person

Traditionally, professional biographies are written in third person (as though someone else is talking about you). With the advent of social media there is a trend toward shorter, less formal bios, especially on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. However, for an professional accountant or company bio third person is more appropriate because it conveys a more professional impression.

If you’ve forgotten the difference between first-person and third-person voice, here’s a short refresher: Instead of writing “I am” and “I graduated”, write “Jane Smith is” and “She graduated”. Use your full name (first and last) the first time. After that, it’s up to you whether to refer to yourself by your full name, just your first name, or just your last name.

3. Focus on client needs

When listing your expertise and education, focus on how your credentials can benefit your client. Don’t assume your credentials will speak for themselves: your potential clients don’t necessarily understand everything about your job or what you can do for them, so it’s your job to inform them in terms they will understand.

Focus on specific client needs, and then tie in your skills. For example, if you have specialized experience in auditing, you might focus on how you can help the company implement internal control systems and procedures. Don’t be afraid to address the client directly as “you” or “your company.”

For example: ______(your name) can help your company ______(accomplish an important goal, such as make decisions about allocating resources) by _________ (using relevant skills or experience, such as providing assurance about financial information).

4. Make it memorable

There are lots of accountants out there, but only one of them has your unique set of experiences, skills, and qualifications. Think about what sets you apart, and focus on your strongest, most relevant, and most unique skills. Chances are, your client is skimming a lot of bios, so make sure you stand out by using memorable details.

For example, you might focus on your area(s) of specialization, your many years of experience, or your exceptional education, depending on what is most relevant and impressive to the clients you are trying to attract.


_______________ (your name) earned his/her __________ degree from the University of __________ and his/her ___________ (name of professional designation, e.g. CPA, CA, CGA) from ____________ (designating body, e.g. the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario). He/She is also a/an __________ (additional designations, e.g. Civil and Criminal court-appointed accounting expert).

5. Make it easy to read

When you write your accountancy bio, break the information into short paragraphs (no more than three sentences in each paragraph). Studies show that when people are faced with a large block of text (especially on a computer screen), they just skim over it quickly. By making your paragraphs nice and short, you’ll increase the likelihood that people will actually read your bio.

6. Eliminate passive voice

Whenever possible, use action verbs that focus directly on what you have done or can do. Avoid passive voice, which not only makes your writing wordier but often means you’re taking your customer out of the action. If that happens, they’ll quickly drift away.

A trick that I use is to scan my document for the word “of”. Often when you find “of” you’ll find the passive voice, and you can easily change it to active voice. For example:

Passive voice: Our accounting company was involved in the conducting of major audits.

Active voice: Our accounting acompany conducted major audits.

7. End with a call to action

In your conclusion, speak directly to your potential clients. Make sure they walk away with a clear message about what makes you uniquely suited to help them.

For example: Contact _______ (your name) today to get started ________ (accomplishing an important goal) at _______ (phone number and/or other contact info).

Again, the key to writing a strong bio is staying focused on what you can do for your client. Remember, although your accountant biography is written about you, it’s written for your client. Include your skills and qualifications, but always link it back to the client’s needs and interests.

There are some special considerations to keep in mind when writing a work biography for a police officer, trooper or other law enforcement professional.

For one thing, police officers must be able to present themselves in different ways for different constituencies. While their primary role is obviously to prevent, stop, or solve crimes, they must also be able to serve the community at large, protect vulnerable populations, and maintain a relationship of mutual respect and understanding with their community.

One tool that helps in all of these tasks is a well-written professional biography, letting the reader know who this person is besides a badge and a uniform.

Here are six key things to include in a police officer autobiography, along with sample wording and fill-in-the-blank examples for crafting an effective law enforcement biography.

1. Identify your audience

The first thing you should ask is “who is the audience for this bio?” In most cases, the biography is being written for a PR handout or a website, so the main audience will be the community at large.

For that reason, the tone needs to be warm and respectful without seeming too casual. “Hi, my name is_______________” is appropriate for many profiles, even professional bios, but it is not the right tone to set when trying to establish a professional rapport between an officer and the community (it’s too casual).

A better way to introduce yourself would be to use your title and name: “(Title: Patrolman, Office, Deputy, Sergeant, etc.)_______________ is a two-year veteran of the _______________ Police Force. Formerly working in__________________ division, he/she now serves in the __________________ department as ______________________.

2. Avoid jargon and acronyms

The text should be straightforward, and informational without a great deal of jargon or acronyms that are understood only by the police. On the other hand, if the bio is being written for other law enforcement professionals, it may use more of the terms and vocabulary commonly used by those on the job. Again, think about your audience and their needs.

3. Leave out the boring stuff

One of the hardest things about writing any professional bio is deciding what merits inclusion and what can be left out. Considering that the most common mistake in writing a professional bio is including too much boring information, my rule of thumb is “when in doubt, leave it out.” Think back to “who is the audience?”and ask yourself what information is relevant to them.

4. List your credentials

Just like that of a doctor or lawyer, the bio of a police officer should include specific information about his or her background, including education, experience, and other relevant work experience that demonstrates qualifications and suitability for the job.

For example: _____________ is a __________ graduate of the ____________________ Police Academy, where he/she graduated in the top __________% of the class.

Alternately, if the individual in question studied law enforcement in college, the bio might read:  ____________ (name) majored in _________________ at ____________ College/University.

5. Include awards, memberships, and other positive information

One of the key goals of a good police officer bio is to establish trust as well as competence. This can be achieved by including mention of any awards or citations the officer has received, as well as any benevolent or professional organizations he or she may be a member of.

Other worthy mentions are membership in any organization that may not be directly related to police work but shows concern for the community, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, a food bank, or a group that distributes Thanksgiving dinners to the needy. These can be included in this manner:

_________________ has been decorated _____(number of times) for outstanding performance in the line of duty. In _________ he/she received the__________________ for his/her work in/with ____________________.

If you do public speaking on behalf of your department, include that as well. Give a brief mention of work history and experience that is relevant to your speaking topic and audience.

6. What NOT to include

Under normal circumstances, many professional bios feature personal information such as whether the individual is married, the spouse’s name and occupation, and whether the person has children.

While commonplace in many professions, this is not necessarily a good idea for a police officer biography. Law enforcement can be a dangerous occupation, not just for the officer but also for his or her family. In a small town police department where everyone already knows about everyone else’s family, that might be acceptable, but even then, the information might well be kept private on general principle. Never include any information about your family unless you’re comfortable with it and you know the department’s policy regarding it.

Part Two: Bio writing for those in command positions

When writing a bio for a police captain, department head, chief of police, or other high-ranking law enforcement officer, all of the rules above apply. In addition, since this individual will be commanding others and may quite possibly by the “public face” of the department, it’s important to balance their past experience in the field, which speaks of their understanding of the challenges faced by their officers as well as their own experience in what makes for effective police work, with information that reassures those on the force, those in local government, community and business leaders, and the public at large that this individual can:

  1. lead others
  2. deal with crises from a position of strength
  3. use his or her authority and position as a force for good
  4. ensure justice will be done, no matter what the situation

Therefore, begin the senior police officer bio with the basics: current position in the department or on the force, background, education, and experience, and any awards or citations. Then continue with specifics about the individual’s leadership skills.

For example:

Before becoming the _________(current position) of _______________ Police Department, __________ worked as a ___________________, overseeing ___________ cases and _______________ of officers.

In addition to his/her current position, _____________ frequently speaks on the topic of ______at law enforcement seminars (and/or) has been published in ____________ journal.

He/She has spearheaded a campaign to obtain ______________ in order to better equip the department and enable it to_________________.

All of this will vary depending on the individual’s specific education, experience, and expertise, but the important fact to remember is that a professional autobiography bio for someone in command should be more detailed and offer more bona fides than that of his/her subordinate. Any other presentation will undermine the leader in the eyes of his/her own department and probably in the eyes of the community as well.

More help needed? A detailed police office bio template that is professionally written in the correct style and format for law enforcement professionals is available here.



Photo credit: carlwwycoff

Craftsperson colored paperIf you’re a craftsperson, you have great talent and love to share your abilities, with weaving, creating pottery or jewelry, woodworking, sewing, and so much more. When you work on a project, you’re comfortable and confident of the result.

However, that may not be true when you have to write about yourself in order to market your wares. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task. Let’s break it down.

1. Who’s your audience?

Are you writing for repeat customers, trying to attract new fans, or addressing other craftspeople? Most bios are designed simply to introduce the artisan to an audience; they don’t have to be too technical.

2. KISS—Keep it simple, silly.

Again, unless you’re creating a bio for a juried show and need to impress the judges with your knowledge of greenware and batik, keep your bio simple. Let the audience know who you are, what you love to make, and how long you’ve been making it.

3. Start with the basics.

There’s nothing wrong with a bio that begins with, “Hi. My name is____________ and I love to make and sell____________________.” Be sure to add the “sell” part, because if you’re like most craftspeople, you do love to make your wares, but you also enjoy paying the bills.

4. Strut your stuff.

This could also be called establishing your bona-fides. How long have you been doing this? Were you formally trained in your craft? Have you won awards? Were your pieces chosen for prestigious craft shows? How many pieces do you make in a week, a month, or a year? You can put all of that in just a few sentences, like this:

“Ever since I took my first pottery class in __________, I have loved making painted and glazed water jugs. One of my cobalt-blue jugs won Best in Show at ______________. My work has been featured in_____________ magazine and on the _______________ Web site. Each month, I make twenty-five unique jugs, all hand-decorated and triple-fired.”

5. When in doubt, cut it out.

You don’t have to tell your readers about every single craft fair you ever attended or list all the online courses that you’ve ever taken. You want to keep readers interested, not give them a laundry list of minutiae.

6. Start plump, end lean.

By that I mean write down everything that you think might be important or interesting to your audience. Once you have six pages, read through everything and start pruning. See if you can get six pages down to three, and then go through again and see if three pages can become two—or one.

7. Always link up.

Be sure you provide links to your gallery page, your blog, your Facebook page, your Etsy store—wherever you advertise or sell your wares. It’s a big digital universe; you want to make as many connections as possible. Think of your bio as another of your finely-crafted items.

A good bio will help you sell more, reach more potential customers, and grow your business. If you need help, ask a professional writer or use one of the craftsperson bio templates that are available. All you’ll need to do is add the decorative touches.

100 Word Bio Examples

by Barbra Sundquist

100 word bio examples It’s just 100 words (or fewer) so why is it so friggin’ difficult? You know what I’m talking about…the short bio that you need for social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the others. I always find it so much easier to have bio examples to follow, so here are some fill-in-the-blank templates for you to customize for your own short social media profiles. Pick and choose the parts that work for you.

How many words exactly?

Twitter: 160 characters, which means only 20 – 25 words. Make each word count!

Pinterest: 200 characters, which translates into approximately 30 words.

Instagram: 150 characters, or about 20 words.

First-Person or Third-Person Format?

Before you get started though, you’re probably wondering if you should write in first-person (I am a …)  or third-person (your name, such as “Barbra is a …”).

In the past, experts would tell you that bios should always be written in third person. These days, particularly with informal social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, first person is common. On  the other hand, on professional networks such as LinkedIn you’ll normally see bios written in the more formal third-person voice. It all depends on whether you want to project a formal, business-like feeling (third-person), or an informal social feeling (first-person).

Choose whatever works best for you

In the example templates below, I used both first-person and third-person formats. Choose whichever works best for your needs, but keep it consistent throughout your bio. In other words, don’t switch back and forth from first-person to third-person.

 Fill-in-the-blank templates

_______ (your name) is a _________, __________, and _________. He/She helps _______ (who you help, i.e. your clients or customers) to _________ (what you help them with, usually a problem you solve). __________

(your name) has always enjoyed starting and running businesses. In fact, by the time she/he was ________ (age), she/he had already ____________ . Soon afterwards, ___________ (your name) began a _________ and a ___________. Now she/he is the ________ (your title) of _________ (your business name), which __________ (short description of your business).

I’m the owner/operator of ________________ (your business name, linked to your website). ___________ (your business name) provides ___________ (your service or product) to ____________ (your customers) so they can ____________ (what your customers do with your service or product).

I got into this line of business in ______ (year) when _________ (tell how you got started).

My favorite part of having a ___________ (type of business) business is ____________, because it allows me to ____________ (why you enjoy it). Also, _________________ (a part of your job) can be a lot of fun!

When I’m not working on ___________ (your business name, linked to your website), I like to _________ (your hobbies).

I’m a _________, ________ and _________ (list three things that describe you, e.g. small business owner, writer, cat lover, devoted father) from __________ (list the general area you live in, e.g. country, state or city, but obviously: don’t ever give your address).

I think of myself as a _______ (your temperament e.g. quiet, bubbly, shy, outgoing) person, although I’ve also been known to __________ when __________ .

The things I love most in life are ______, _________ and ________ (list your favorite things, e.g. hanging with friends, my relationship with God, photography, cycling, family, my kids).

I’ve been ___________ (your profession or hobby) for ____ years, and I really love it.

My idea of the perfect day would start with _________. And then I’d _______ and finish off by ________. The kinds of people I’d like to meet are ones who are ________ and ________. That’s important to me because __________.

The secret to writing a bio

Thinking about writing your small business or entrepreneur bio?  Great idea, because it’s an important document that shapes first impressions of you and your company. A strong entrepreneur biography written in the correct style and format will positively reflect who you are and what you have accomplished in your career.

Here are  9 important points to consider when writing your entrepreneur bio.

1. Define your audience

The first step when writing an entrepreneur bio requires a bit of analysis. You need to ask yourself what you want your bio to accomplish. Is it to get investors? If so, you’ll want to emphasize your financial track record and and profit potential. On the other hand, if the purpose of your bio is to introduce you as a keynote speaker at an industry conference, you may choose to put more emphasis on your status as an expert in your field.

2. Begin with a clear statement

After you’ve determined the purpose of your professional bio, you can start to write. The first sentence of your bio should state WHO you are and WHAT you do.

Here’s an example: _________ (your name) has been an entrepreneur and a __________ (another role, normally describing your professional expertise, e.g. plastics consultant) since ____ (year).

Or you could start with something like this: _________ (your name) started __________ (company name) in ______ (year).

Notice both these opening sentences quickly and concisely give your basic information and let the reader know WHO and WHAT the bio is about.

3. Establish your credibility

For best results, waste no time establishing your credibility. Quite often, people will only read the first one or two sentences so you want to make a strong impression right away.

Your second sentence can establish your credibility as someone worth listening to simply by writing something like this:

He/She has over ___ (number) years of experience in ________, _________,  and ________ (the fields or disciplines that you have worked in).

4. Keep it short

It’s easy to fill up a personal bio with so many facts and numbers that you leave your readers glassy-eyed. Your bio should not be a boring list of certifications and former positions. It should state in simple language what you have to offer potential investors, clients or audiences.

5. Avoid jargon

The most effective professional bios use clear, simple language. Think about really excellent print advertisements: the best ones get their message across with simple but punchy language. It is possible to describe your background without requiring your readers to get out a dictionary!

6. Get it all down and then edit

The first draft of your entrepreneur biography will likely be quite long. That’s OK. It’s better to get all your ideas down and then edit out the unnecessary parts, than to sit in front of a blank screen paralyzed by trying to get it perfect right off the bat.

After you’ve listed everything you have done and what you have to offer, it’s time for the red pen. Trim the fat – all of it. Of each piece of information ask, “Do they really need to know this?” Readers, especially online readers, get distracted quickly. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of keeping your bio short and concise.

7. Choose the most flattering bits

What should be cut during the edit? What you decide to include may be different depending upon which audience your bio is intended for, but the bottom line is: Leave out anything that does not present you at your best.

Remember, a bio is not a resume. You are under no obligation to include your entire work history. That’s what resumes are for. In contrast, a bio is a document meant to present you in the most advantageous way.

For example, if you are an on-the-job learner who bypassed college, leave out a discussion of education. Anyone who really wants to know can contact you. Likewise, did you win an award that is recognized within your industry but not heard of outside of it? Leave it out unless your intended audience is industry-specific.

8. Use numbers

Provide data to validate your successes. Do you have any hard numbers on percentage of growth? Market share? Dollar volume? Put this data in context by contrasting it against previous results or larger industry trends. For example:

Under ______’s (your name) leadership, __________ (company or division name) grew from/achieved/improved (choose one of the foregoing) ___________ (quantifiable business result you achieved).

9. Provide links for more information

If you are writing an online bio, include links to your company’s website,  relevant publications you have authored, and any social media profile you have set up for business purposes.  If you do this, remember to keep those links and profiles updated.

If you put the same energy and creativity into writing your bio as you do into developing your business ideas, you will certainly come up with an effective professional bio. One final tip: Ask the best writer you know to edit your bio, or consider using a professionally written entrepreneur bio template to save time and hassle. Good luck!

business person writing executive bioYour senior executive bio shapes first impressions of you and your company. It’s a critically important marketing tool that sells you and your competence at your job.

A strong executive biography written in the correct style and format will positively reflect who you are and what you have accomplished in your career.

Here are  9 important points to consider when writing your executive bio.

1. Determine your target audience and what you are “selling” them

Your executive bio is selling a product, and that product is you. So be sure to highlight the features that will be of interest to your target audience (yes, this means that you will have more than one version of your bio).

If your target audience is prospective investors, you might be selling them on your entrepreneurial vision coupled with fiscal responsibility.

On the other hand, if your target audience is industry experts at a conference, you will want to write a short summary of your professional qualifications and recent accomplishments.

If your target audience is your daughter’s high school career planning class, you might emphasize the educational requirements of your type of work.

2. Begin with a clear statement of your current position

You’d be surprised how often I read to the end of a professional bio only to scratch my head and ask “what job do they actually do?” So begin with a clear statement of your current position.

__________ (your name) is the/a/an __________ (your job title, e.g. Chief Operating Officer; Regional Sales Executive) at _________ (your company or organization), with responsibility for __________ (your overall responsibility).

Another way to word it:

__________ (your name) is the __________ (your job title) at _________ (your company or organization), a _______________ (description of the company, e.g. a full-service public relations firm serving X industry).

3. Be strategic in what you include

What you decide to include and exclude speaks volumes about what you think is important. For example, if you include information about job advancement but fail to mention community and industry involvement, it implies that you don’t get involved in anything outside the office. This is not necessarily a bad thing if that is what you want to convey; just be aware of the impression you are leaving.

Here is one way to write the community and industry involvement section of your bio:

He/she is a member of the __________________ (names of organizations you belong to e.g. United Way; International Executive Service Corps; [local] Chamber of Commerce) and has served as the ___________________ (position name, e.g. president, chairperson) of the ________________ (name of committee or board). He/she has also done voluntary work for ________________ (name of organization) and has initiated community programs such as ___________________ (name of initiative).

4. Choose your writing style carefully

The writing style you use gives an impression of your own style. Remember, most people reading your executive bio have not met you yet. All they know of you is what they glean from the written page.

Think of it this way: formal language implies a formal person. Poor grammar suggests an uneducated person. Jargon and big words gives the impression of someone who is more interested in impressing others than in communicating clearly.

Fortunately, writing style is one of the easiest bio writing challenges to overcome. Ask the best writer you know to edit your bio, or consider using a professionally written executive bio template to ensure your bio uses the correct style and format.

5. When in doubt, leave it out

The most common mistake people make when writing a professional bio is to make it too long. To begin, write out everything that you think is important. Then go through your bio with a red pen and edit ruthlessly. Cut out anything that does not add value. For every piece of information, ask yourself  “is this really necessary?”

6. Use numbers

Provide data to validate your successes. Do you have any hard numbers on percentage of growth? Market share? Dollar volume? Put this data in context by contrasting it against previous results or larger industry trends. For example:

Under ______’s (your name) leadership, __________ (company or division name) grew from/achieved/improved (choose one of the foregoing) ___________ (quantifiable business result you achieved).

7. Include links to supporting material

In your online biography, you have the opportunity to link to supporting material such as client lists, white papers, magazine articles or interviews. Put that material on dedicated pages on your website, and link to it. You can also link to your executive resume or cv if you think readers will be looking for a complete work history.

8. Include personal information strategically

Although personal information is optional in a professional bio, I recommend including it in a strategic manner.

  • Are you married with children? This suggests stability and trustworthiness, so leverage it.
  • Do you run marathons? That conveys determination, commitment and energy.
  • Play the cello? You have an artistic side, and an appreciation for aesthetics.
  • Scuba dive with sharks? You’re an idiot (just joking).

Including a bit of personal information humanizes you, creates connection, and subtly reinforces your best qualities.  Don’t forget to mix in impressive life experiences, such as military service or a Peace Corps stint.

If you decide to include personal information in your professional bio, keep it brief and place it at the end of your bio.  Here’s an easy fill-in-the-blanks template for writing the personal information section of an executive biography:

___________________ (your name) lives in ________________ (where you live) with his/her ____________ (wife; husband; partner) ___________ (OPTIONAL: name of significant other) and their ___________ (number) _____________ (children; cats; dogs). When not working,  __________ (your name) enjoys  ______________ (your hobbies).  ________________ (your name) can be reached at _________________ (your email address or web site).

9. Skip anything that doesn’t give the best impression

Unlike a resume, a professional bio doesn’t have to address your entire career history. If there’s something you want to leave out, go ahead! Remember, it’s a marketing document so just include the things that put you in the best light.

A common question I get is “I don’t have a degree. How do I handle that in my bio?” The answer is, just leave it out. You don’t have to address education if you don’t want to.

However, if you’ve completed some post-secondary courses but didn’t get a degree, you can use the time-honored strategy of “studied at”. To do that, simply write “_________ (your name) studied at X college” instead of “_______ (your name) received a degree from X college”.

A Magical Autobiography Example

by Barbra Sundquist


Scott Lesovic has a job many people would envy: bringing the wonder of magic to children and adults.  Scott’s a professional magician and an ambulance attendant. He asked me to review his magician’s autobiography to make sure it presents him in the best light. Let’s start by taking a look at Scott’s current bio.

Original version of Scott’s bio

When you experience magic every day, where do you go from there?
Magician Scott Lesovic knows…you take others along for a magical ride.
Imagine being 4 years old, seeing a magician perform miracles on TV, and making a life decision that Magic was to be your chosen career path. Sound impossible? Well not for professional magician Scott Lesovic.

Scott first got bit with the magic bug at the age of 4, while watching David Copperfield perform on one of his national TV specials. Inspired by what he saw, the young Scott attempted to duplicate Copperfield’s trick showing everyone he came in contact with, whether he knew them or not. This was Scott’s taste of being in the spot light. Furthering his interest in the art of prestidigitation, Scott’s parents, Edward & Rose Marie, bought him, his first magic set at the age of five. Overwhelmed, by how much magic was in one little box, Scott DOVE IN head first and thus began the pursuit of a career in conjuring.

By age 7 – he was now performing in front of audiences of friends & family as well as his fellow scout members – something that Scott would also develop into a passion, his love for outdoors and scouting.

Off in the woods, Scott honed his magic performing for the scouts and leaders at Heritage Reservation, a Boy Scout camp. As part of the camp staff, he used his magical talents not only to purely entertain, but also calm homesick scouts and convince them to stay on for the week. Scott stretched his show building skills by making magic to fit the different themes that rotated through the camp each year. He performed as Merlin the Wizard from King Arthur’s Court, snake oil salesman from the Wild West. During the 9 years working at the camp, Scott grew not only in magic, but teaching, business, and first aid. Somewhere in that mix, he found the time to continue on his own scouting career and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, something only 2% of all Boy Scouts ever achieve.

During the winter months, Scott works on an ambulance. He uses his talents in magic and showmanship to calm scared children and adults alike during a potentially frightening emergency situation while still doing every physical thing possible to care for that person

Revised version of Scott’s bio

Imagine being four years old, seeing a magician perform miracles on TV, and deciding right then and there that magic was to be your chosen career path. Sound impossible? Well, not for professional magician Scott Lesovic.

Scott was so taken with magic that he immediately started trying to duplicate the tricks he had seen. He insisted on performing magic tricks for everyone he encountered – whether he knew them or not!

When it became apparent that this was no passing fancy, Scott’s parents bought him his first magic set at the age of five. Overwhelmed, by how much magic was in one little box, Scott dove in head first and has never looked back.

By age seven Scott had combined his love of magic with his other love – the outdoors and scouting. Off in the woods, Scott honed his entertaining skills performing for the scouts and leaders at Heritage Reservation Boy Scout camp. As part of the camp staff, he used his magic talents not only to entertain, but also to calm homesick children and persuade them to stay on for the week.

As a camp leader, Scott stretched his show building skills by making magic to fit the different themes that rotated through the camp each year. He performed as Merlin the Wizard from King Arthur’s Court, a snake oil salesman from the Wild West, and _______________ (note to Scott: add one more theme example).

During his nine years working at Boy Scout camp, Scott grew not only in magic, but also in teaching, business, and first aid. Somewhere in that mix, he found the time to continue his own scouting career and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, something only 2% of all Boy Scouts ever achieve.

During the winter months, Scott works as an ambulance attendant. Although “magician” and “ambulance attendant” may sound like a strange combination of careers, in fact it is a perfect match for Scott’s background.  He uses his magic and showmanship to calm scared children and adults during emergency situations, all the while doing every physical thing possible to care for that person.

Contact Magician Scott Lesovic at __________.


Scott’s original autobiography had lots of great material for me to work with. All that was needed was some editing and polishing.

Although I liked the opening two sentences that started “When you experience magic every day…”, I thought they sounded more like a tagline than part of a biography. I could see those two sentences being used very effectively as a sidebar call-out or in the header of Scott’s website.

The only thing that I think is missing from Scott’s bio is a sense of what he can do for the customer. His bio tells me an engaging story about him, but doesn’t tell me what he can do for me. Is he available for parties? Does he teach magic classes? I’d like to know a bit more about that.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/damongman/

1. Focus on a goal

When you’re writing a regular essay, you know that you have to have a thesis to focus your paper. In the same way, a college autobiography also needs a thesis. In this case, your thesis will be your goals in life and how getting into this college program will help you achieve your goals.

An example would be if you want to become a green energy architect. Your thesis would be that you need a masters degree in architecture to achieve your goal, that this particular college has the perfect masters degree program for you, and that you are a perfect candidate for the college.

2. Give specific examples of experiences

Affirm your goal in the opening of your statement. In follow up paragraphs, document experiences in the field or during school that correlate to your goal, including the value you learned from each example. In your conclusion, summarize your experiences, what led you to the specific graduate school and why the school is the next step toward your goal.

3. Ditch the boring stuff

In a college autobiography, you should show what you believe you are capable of. Unless relevant, don’t mention where you grew up, which school you went to, or how your friends changed your life. Only mention experiences relevant to your cause that directly improve your chances of getting the scholarship or the place in the college of your choice.

4. Develop clear themes

Identify and develop the themes that run through the information you present to the admissions committee. A theme is a general category or “big idea” that applies to the most important memories of your past, such as identity (how you fit into the world around you), passion (as in lifelong interests), challenges, curiosity, learning, failure, personality, or career.

5. Avoid over-used phrases

Avoid over-used phrases such as: “meant a lot to me,” “I can contribute” and “appealing to me.” You also want to avoid statements that are broad and awkward such as: “I like helping people” and passive voice, such as “I will be” or “I am excited by.”

6. Use specific examples

Use specific examples to illustrate your personal attributes and achievements. For example, instead of saying “this was a valuable learning experience,” tell what you learned. Instead of calling yourself “a responsible individual” or a “born leader,” relate life experiences that demonstrate this.

7. Give a sense of you as a person

Along with your life experiences, include your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps the college admissions committee understand what makes you who you are.

8. Show you have outside interests

Be sure to include something that you recently became aware of and how you’ve involved yourself with that topic. Admissions boards want to see that you have interests outside of the classroom and will take initiative in discovering new and exciting fields of research while in school.

9. Include research credits

If you’ve already done research and published it, this is of course important information for the admissions committee. If you have unpublished work, submit it with your application, and someone from the field will judge the quality of the work. If you don’t have any prior research, you can still get in because schools are trying to judge potential to do research.

10. Look into your magic ball

Even if you haven’t decided what kind of work you want to do when you graduate, take a guess based on your current interests. Look into the future and imagine what you see yourself doing in terms of function and industry. If location or geography are important to your goal, include them. If you know the type of companies you would like to work for, you can include that information too.

It’s not written in stone: you can change your mind later. But you need to give the admissions committee an idea of your goals in life.

11. Identify both short-term and long-term goals

Your long term goals should flow logically from your short-term goals. They can be fuzzier and both in terms of direction and timing, but you should have them.

12. Have a  Plan B

What’s your Plan B? If you can’t get a job at a leading public relations firm, what do you want to do? If Plan A is investment banking, what’s Plan B? Addressing these questions will show the admissions committee that you are flexible and realistic.



photo credit: flickr.com/photos/wyoguard

schoolchildren-thailandJulienne Dimon is a program director for Action Care, and also works as a trainer, cultural proofreader and program coordinator for other training programs. She asked me to take a look at her professional bio and give her suggestions for improvement. Here’s Julienne’s bio:

Julienne Dimon has been active in the field of training and education development for thirty years, focusing on teaching English as a second language, early childhood development, soft skills training and promoting volunteerism in Thailand, Malaysia, Jordan, the central Middle East, UAE and GCC region.

Julienne has conducted programs for institutions such as the ministries of Education in Thailand, Jordan and the UAE, as well as the UNRWA Education Department and select universities in each of these countries. In addition, she has three years of experience as an ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor for primary and secondary school students in Thailand and Jordan.

She currently serves as program director for Action Care, and is working as a trainer, cultural proofreader and coordinator for English Live and other training programs conducted throughout the UAE and GCC.

I have only a few suggestions for Julienne, since her bio is already clear, concise and well-written.

My main suggestion is to pare down the number of job titles (currently she specifies “program director and coordinator and trainer, cultural proofreader”.) I realize that Julienne is making a distinction between her job for Action Care (program director) and her work with English Live and other training programs (trainer, cultural proofreader and coordinator).

However, it’s more important in a professional bio to convey a clear “brand” than to give an exhaustive list of position titles. I recommend that Julienne summarize “trainer, cultural proofreader and coordinator” into one or at the most two job titles.

I’m not sure that most readers would know what a “cultural proofreader” is. I’m not familiar with the term, but perhaps Julienne’s intended audience would understand it.

The acronyms UNRWA, UAE and GCC should be spelled out the first time they are used, like this “United Arab Emirates (UAE)”.

Reading Julienne’s bio, my thought was that she sounded like a really interesting person and I wanted to know more about her personally. I was particularly curious to know her nationality, in which country she lives (UAE or GCC?), and how she got into doing such interesting work. Julienne may want to consider adding a paragraph addressing these points.

A note on including personal information in a professional bio: it’s entirely optional and certainly not a requirement. After all, a professional bio is just that – professional – and not intended to be a complete autobiography. But it does  provide context and helps the reader relate to you as a person. If that’s your goal, then go for it!


photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org