It seems that wherever you go on the Internet, you are constantly being asked to give a brief description of yourself. If you are applying for jobs online, the employer will probably request a short bio in addition to a resume. If you are submitting an application for a research grant, you might be asked to provide a short professional bio. And if you are creating a profile for a social network like LinkedIn, you will be asked to provide a brief personal statement for your profile. With that in mind, here’s a handy how-to on writing a brief description of yourself.
What is a brief description of yourself?
A brief description is another way of saying “short bio” or “short biography.” In other words, if you had 150 words or less, how would you describe yourself to someone else? This brief description can be used for resumes, social media profiles, or as answers to written interview questions. For example, you might say something like. “I am a recent university graduate with a background in engineering. I currently work as a product manager for a company that specializes in [BLANK], where I _______ [what you do].”
Brief: How many words is that?
The key here is the word “brief.” Imagine meeting someone in the elevator of a building – would you be able to describe yourself to someone in the short amount of time that it takes to travel from the ground floor to your office? This brief description should focus primarily on relevant facts like your current place of employment or education, and your most significant accomplishment. It should be no more than 150 words.
How to write a brief description of yourself, with examples
Writing a brief description of yourself starts by condensing down the types of facts that you might have on your resume or CV into a format that is more conversational in tone. The idea here is to be unique, interesting and relevant while avoiding any controversial topics (such as political affiliation). Here are a few examples:
(A) “I’m the head of digital marketing at a large New York-based agency that serves clients in the media and entertainment industry.”
(B) “I am a graduate student in the history department of [UNIVERSITY]. My current research interests include 20th century American social movements.
(C) “Husband. Father. Entrepreneur. Former head of operations at [COMPANY].”
What’s the best way to write a bio and short description of myself?
The best way to write a description of yourself is by thinking first and foremost about your target audience. Think of it this way – if you are meeting a potential employer, you will probably want to write a different bio than if you were creating a bio for an online dating site or social network. So context matters as much as content. Also, if there is a word limit (or character limit), that will require you to be more concise in what type of content you share.
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How to introduce yourself in third person
As you probably remember from your high school English days, there are various ways to talk about yourself. Most of the time, we use the first person, and that requires the use of the word “I” as in, “I am a data analyst for [COMPANY] in charge of analyzing consumer spending patterns.” If you are writing in the third person, though, you will need to describe yourself as if from the perspective of someone else. You can either use a personal pronoun to do this (“He is a data analyst…”) or you can simply eliminate the pronoun altogether (“Data analyst for [COMPANY] with 5 years of experience”).
In the past, experts said that bios should always be written in third person. These days, particularly with informal social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, first person is common. On the other hand, on professional networks such as LinkedIn you’ll often 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).
One circumstance when you should always use first-person is 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…”
Bottom line: 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.
How do you start a biography of yourself?
The best way to start a biography of yourself is by stating who you are and what your most significant accomplishment is (see Example A below). After that, use either chronological order (in which events and accomplishments of your life are summarized in the order that they occurred) or reverse-chronological order (in which events are summarized in reverse order, with more recent events being explained by working backwards). For example, both of these express the same idea, but they have different chronological time reference points:
(A) “He is a Gold Medal-winning curler. Winning competitions is nothing new for him, though, because he competed as a teenager in rural Minnesota, where he grew up learning about winter sports.”
(B) “He grew up in Minnesota, where he first learned the sport of curling. By age 18, he was already competing in local events and winning the attention of sports fans. Two years later, he won a Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics.”
See? Both (A) and (B) express the same ideas and the same facts, but are written from a different perspective.
How do you write a biographical sketch?
A biographical sketch is simply a condensed story of your life. It should attempt to have one major theme or idea that summarizes how you arrived at your current place in life. For example, if you are currently working for a hospitality company in Florida like a hotel or resort, your biographical sketch might include details about your love of travel, and include one or two of your favorite tourism spots in Florida. Your choice of details will reflect a lot about your personality. For example, if you focus on Walt Disney World in Orlando, it will reflect a different idea than mentioning, say, South Beach in Miami.
What needs to be included in a biography of yourself?
At a minimum, the following elements need to be included in your biography: a statement of personal facts that will be of interest to the reader (such as where you grew up and where you attended school), a summary of key events, achievements or accomplishments of which you are most proud, and a narrative thread that helps to connect all of these events or accomplishments.
What can I write about me?
Writing “About Me” can be difficult – but only because there is so much possible material, especially the older you are. Everyone has a story, and it’s helpful to think about your life as a story for others. How did you get to where you are today? What are you most passionate about? And what personal details about yourself help to reveal the “real you”? Those are all questions that you can ask yourself in order to decide what to write.
How to write a compelling About page
A compelling “About” page will help the reader or viewer understand who you are, what motivates and inspires you, and what you are currently doing now. It should be relatively short (400 words or less) and be broken neatly into at least 3 different paragraphs.
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