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How to Write a Music Bio

The purpose of your music artist bio is to introduce you and your music to the world. Your bio needs to be informative as well as creative if it is going to make an impact on those you wish to impress.

Impress? Yes, you want your musician bio to impress. Even though you may feel that your music should speak for itself, you still need to provide fans, agents, journalists and others with some compelling words about you and your music so that they decide to engage further with you. You want them to read your music artist bio and think “wow, this musician sounds interesting. I want to learn more. I may just give them some of my hard-earned money/time/space”.

So what should be in your music bio?

1. Introduce yourself. Start out by saying who you are and what you do. “Jane Z. Smith sings traditional blues songs” conveys your name and style clearly and economically.

2. Use plain language to present yourself professionally. This is not the place to be cute, cryptic or ironic (unless that’s part of your band’s image and branding).

3. Don’t make them guess. Please, please, please don’t say that your music is unclassifiable. Not only is it a boring cliche, but booking agents need to know what kind of music you perform in order to book you in the right venues. Think of it this way: if you love Thai food the best, and you’re really craving Thai food tonight, and there are literally thousands of restaurants in your city, which restaurant would you choose: “Yummy Thai” or “Mystery Restaurant”? I thought so.

4. Keep it short. The shorter your bio, the more likely people will be to read the whole thing. Start out by writing everything that comes to mind, and then edit, edit, edit. Ideally your bio should be no more than a couple of paragraphs long. As songwiters know, much can be conveyed in a few words!

5. Showcase some of the most important achievements of your career. If you’ve received awards or performed with other well-known artists be sure to mention that. This will allow your audience to know that your talents are respected by others in the industry.

6. The first couple of paragraphs should be given to what is going on right now with you and your band. If you are expecting to have a new album or CD ready for release soon, give the date so that your fans will be ready to purchase it. Give dates and locations for where you will be if you are going on tour.

7. Give some personal background. Your fans will want to know what made you want to enter the music business, and how and when you met the members of your band. Let your audience know what adversities you had to overcome in order to get where you are today.

8. Ask for help. Writing a bio on yourself is different than any other kind of writing. Almost everyone finds it difficult to write about themselves. Where to start? What to include? More to the point, what to leave out? You’re a musician, not a technicial writer. So ask a writer friend to help you with your bio, or consider using our musician bio template or band bio template to get a professional bio in the correct style and format.

Let’s face it, writing a music artist bio is not easy. In fact, writing your bio is probably one of the most difficult things you’ll have to do in your music career. The good news is that once you’ve written a good basic music bio, you’ll only have to update it for various situations (e.g. longer, shorter, focussing on a specific audience).

If you use these tips to help you write a music bio, you will certainly create a compelling story that will help your music career.

A bio template makes writing a music biography quick and easy!

Does writing a music bio seem like just one more task on your long to-do list? Are you unsure about your ability to present yourself in the best possible light? If so, get a fill-in-the-blanks music bio template written specifically for a musician. You’ll have it all done and complete within the next 20 minutes.

Military army navy airforce board biographyThe military bio format is much like the bio format used in civilian life, although there are a few key differences that you should be aware of. Regardless of whether your military service is in the army, navy, airforce or coast guard, your military bio is designed to do one thing: provide a brief but impressive narrative summary of the highlights of your military career. You’ll be asked for a military biography if you’re applying to get a promotion or move into a different branch of the military. You might also need a military bio to introduce you as a speaker or to credit you as the author of an article or book.

If you’re not sure how to write a military biography, here are some guidelines that will help:

1) Be brief. The standard military bio format is roughly 150 words when written and no longer than 60 seconds when read aloud.

2) Write in third person but use first person when reading it aloud. Third person would be like this: “Jane Smith trained with”, while first person would be like this: “I trained with”.

3) Start with personal information such as your name, rank, branch, and place of birth.

4) Focus on your military history in chronological order from basic training to the present.

5) Sunmarize the training and duties you have completed, as well as your deployment history and status. Don’t forget about your civilian training and experience. Even if it’s in a different occupation, civilian training and experience can be a major selling point because it sets you apart from someone who has only military experience.

6) Include additional information such as awards and accomplishments, as well as any interesting or impressive details of how you rose in the ranks

7) Conclude by briefly stating your goals for the future.

That’s a lot of information to get out in 60 seconds! You’re either going have write succintly or talk fast! (joke)

A bio template makes writing a military biography quick and easy!

Does writing a military bio seem like just one more task on your long to-do list? Are you unsure about your ability to present yourself in the best possible light? If so, get a fill-in-the-blanks military bio template written specifically for military service. You’ll have it all done and complete within the next 20 minutes.

How to write a motivational speaker biography You’ve finished writing your article and are ready to send it off, but there’s one last task: writing an author bio. It’s hard to know exactly how to write an author bio, even if you’re a writer. So many things to say and so few words allowed in the author box! How do you decide what to focus on and which URLs to link to?

Here are some points to consider when writing an “about the author” box.

1) Decide on the purpose of the article. Is it to get people to view you as an expert? Then make sure your author box highlights your most impressive relevant qualifications. Do you also want them to go to your website? Then be sure to include a link to the exact page you want them to land on.

2) Prepare several versions of your bio in different lengths, so you can have them on hand for various uses. The “about the author” box at the end of an online article is generally two or three brief sentences (or 50 to 100 words). However, your author blurb in a newspaper or magazine might only be a few words such as “Sally Smith is an Ottawa based gardening writer”, followed by your email address. An author bio in a query letter for a book proposal would also be no more than 100 words. You can include a longer bio when you write your website biography.

3) Decide on the points you want to include. Most authors find that they have more information than they need. Be ruthless in editing your bio to include only points that are relevant. Does your fishing hobby provide good background for a murder mystery novel you are submitting to a publisher? Probably not. You worked in a coroner’s office for a couple of weeks to learn about medical examiner’s terminology? Now that’s relevant!

4) Make a list of writing credits to highlight, but confine yourself to three or else it will take up too much space.

5) Include contact information and a website so readers can learn more about you and your writing.

6) An author bio plays an important role because it communicates who you are. In the same way that a business card introduces you, a bio serves as a short introduction to your writing. Take the time to think carefully about what you want readers to remember when they hear your name.

7) Readers like to know about you. Biographical information such as marital status, number of children, pets and hobbies show that you are a normal person and helps readers relate to you.

8) Reflect your unique writing style in your author bio. Your bio provides an opportunity to give readers a sense of what to expect from your writing. Reflect the content and style of your work in how you write your author bio. For example, if you’re a humorous or satirical writer, include some humor in your bio. If you’re an academic writer, take an academic approach. The tone you take in writing your bio creates expectation of your written work.

Here are two contrasting examples of how to write an author bio to create an expectation of your writing style:

Norman Langford grew up spying on the neighbours and taking notes in a little black book. No surprise that he ended up writing spy novels!

Dr. Laura Smith has been writing on gender studies for over 20 years. Her research interests include mothering, gender roles and media representation of women.

Consider Using a Template

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. We have a fill-in-the-blanks author bio template that will help you write a great bio. That way you can complete your bio writing task and get back to the writing that you actually enjoy!

How to write a bio for actor playbill - templateAn actor bio is a brief summary of your education, work history and experience that is relevant to the acting profession (the focus is on brief and relevant). The theatre or agency requesting your actor bio may specify a format and length. If they don’t, follow these actor bio guidelines:

  • Keep your actor biography brief—about 100 – 250 words. Biographies that are too long simply don’t get read.
  • Write in the third person (“John Smith acted in”, not “I acted in”).
  • Include your acting credits and your training. If you have a long list of credits, just mention a few credits (the most impressive ones) in the narrative part of your bio and then add a point-form list of all credits at the end.
  • It’s optional to include biographical information such as marital status, number of children, and place of birth. If you don’t have many acting credits yet, this personal information can help flesh out your bio.
  • List your contact details at the end. Since a bio doesn’t have room to reflect all your achievements, you can also include a website link to your portfolio and contact email address.

Accentuate the positive

You might have a lot of experience but no formal training. Or you might have attended a prestigious acting school but you don’t have much experience yet. Don’t worry about it. You can choose what gets highlighted in your actor bio. Just write about what you have and don’t even address what you don’t have. In the end, the ability you show at the audition will count most of all. There are plenty of people performing on Broadway who did not attend the “name-brand” schools.

You have a brand

Like a fashion designer, you have a brand to sell. You’ve got skills, you’ve trained and studied your craft, you’ve acted, and you do good work. Project this in your theatre bio by describing yourself with confidence and verve.

Write more than one bio

You need more than one theatre or actor bio, depending on its intended purpose. Here are the most typical bios you might need.

  • a short bio or “blurb” that you would use in a theatre program. A short bio is normally no more than two or three sentences.
  • a longer bio would be needed for an audition. This would be 100 – 250 words long.
  • a full biography might be required for your website or a press release. A full length biography could up to a page in length (250 – 500 words).

Get started writing your actor’s bio

To start writing, use a point form method or use an actor bio template. A bio template is just an outline for you to fill in the blanks. You can list out the following points:

1) Training

2) Experience

3) Awards or achievements

4) Contact details

5) Acting credits

To summarize, an actor bio is:

  • used as introductory or promotional material
  • an overview of the person written in narrative form
  • written in the third person
  • brief and relevant to the acting job
  • a summary of education, experience and achievements

A template makes writing an actor bio quick and easy!

Does writing an actor or theatre bio seem like just one more task on your long to-do list? If so, get a fill-in-the-blanks bio template written specifically for theatre and acting professionals. You’ll have it all done and complete within the next 20 minutes.

When writing a short bio, first ask yourself who will be reading it. Will it be visitors to your website? Someone introducing you as a speaker? Potential investors in your business venture? The reason why this is important is because what you include in a short bio will vary depending on the target audience.

Think about what’s most important to the reader

Here’s an important distinction: Although a short bio is written is about you, it is written for your audience. In other words, think about what aspects of you and your background would be important to the reader.

By definition, a short bio is short

One of the hardest things about writing short bios is deciding what to include and what to leave out. It’s hard to summarize a life and career in just a few sentences. Again, the key is to think about who is going to be reading your bio. If your bio is going to be used to introduce you as a speaker at an industry conference, what do those folks in the audience want to know about you? Probably they want to know whether you are worth listening to! So for that audience, focus your short bio on your accomplishments as they relate to that industry.

Focus on the highlights

To get started writing a bio, list the highlights of your life, career and accomplishments as they relate to the target audience. Then ruthlessly edit the list down to a few key details—things that can easily be described in a sentence or two—and discard the rest. Yes, I know it’s painful but it must be done!

Get rid of unnecessary details

The reality is that people are only going to spend 30 – 60 seconds reading your bio. If you write too much, readers are simply going to skip over the details. Take charge of what people remember about you by writing a short bio that highlights your best accomplishments.

Begin with a strong statement

Begin with a statement that puts your career in perspective —for example, “John Smith has over 20 years experience as a senior manager,” or “Jane Doe is an award-winning mystery writer.” Follow that with other details that demonstrate your expertise and underscore your relevant achievements.

Conclude with personal and contact info

Finish off your short bio with a statement about your personal life–for example, “She lives in Seattle with her husband and three cats.”

Do you have to include personal information? It’s up to you. Some people say that personal information such as hometown, family and hobbies is not relevant in a professional bio, because it has nothing to do with the job. That may be true, but I find that most readers like getting a sense of who you are outside of your professional role.
And finally, don’t forget to include your contact information at the end of your brief bio. You can word it like this: _____ (NAME) can be contacted at ______ (WEBSITE OR EMAIL ADDRESS).

A bio template makes writing a short bio quick and easy!

Does writing a short bio seem like just one more task on your long to-do list? If so, get a fill-in-the-blanks bio template written specifically for your type of job. You’ll have it all done and complete within the next 20 minutes.

FREE FILL-IN-THE-BLANK BIO TEMPLATES
Writing a personal or professional biography is one of those tasks that most of us dread. What to write without sounding cheesy? What to include, what to leave out? Often it seems easier just to ignore the task until another day. But at the same time, we all know that a great work bio is a necessary document these days.

One way to make this dreaded task easier is to use fill-in-the-blank biography templates. When you use the templates provided below, all you have to do is choose one or two sentences from each of the four categories and add your details. The result will be a great short bio.

To structure your bio, choose one or two sentences from each of the four categories below.

1) who you are

2) what your expertise is (credentials and experience)

3) why the reader should care about your expertise

4) how the reader can contact you

I’ve organized the bio sentence templates below into the four “who, what, why, and how” categories. Choose one or two sentences from each category, fill in the blanks, and you’ll be done!

 Category #1: WHO you are (choose one or two sentences)

NAME is a _________ (your job title) with ___________ (company name). In this role, NAME looks after/coordinates/manages/leads a team providing (choose one of the foregoing) all aspects of _______, including _____, _____ and ______.

A big believer in ______, NAME supports _______.

NAME is a qualified __________ (your professional designation, e.g. electrician, property appraiser, esthetician) and holds the _________ degree/certification (choose one) from ______ (name of educational institution). (Note: some people prefer to put the education part at the end of the professional bio, just prior to the contact information.)

Category #2: WHAT your expertise is (choose one or two sentences)

NAME is no stranger to ________ (your industry or type of work), having spent ___ years as a ________ and a __________ (occupations: e.g. fitness instructor, computer support specialist, entrepreneur, professional dancer,  senior executive), where he/she  ____________ (your major responsibilities or accomplishments in that role).

NAME has more than ____ years of ______ experience in _______.

Prior to starting his/her _________ (type of business) business, NAME spent _______ years as a ______________ and a __________(your relevant experience).

Before joining ______ (company name) in ______ (year), NAME worked for ___ (years) for a diverse range of organizations, including _____ , _______ and ________(e.g. small business startups; large corporations; private sector; non-profits; government agencies).

In this role, NAME was responsible for ______, ______ and ____.

Category #3: WHY the reader should care about your expertise (choose one or two sentences)

NAME helps _________ (your target clients) to ___________ (a problem or goal your target clients have). [For example, if you are a CPA or accountant, you might write “She can help your company make decisions about allocating resources by providing assurance about financial information.”]

NAME offers a wide range of programs and services, from ___________, to __________ and __________ (your services)

Drawing on _______ (many, several, XX) years experience in ___________, ___________ and _________ (former jobs or industries), NAME now focuses mainly on __________ and ________.

After a successful career in __________ (what you’ve been successful in), NAME now coaches/teaches/advises (choose one) other people how to achieve the same success.

NAME’S varied background in ___________, ___________ and _________ (former jobs or industries) provided the perfect foundation for _________ (what you are doing now).

Passionate about ______and its possibilities, NAME provides ______ services that help _______, _____ and _______ to ________.

Her/his book ________ (book title) was published in ____ (publication year) and has since helped _______ (number: dozens? hundreds? thousands?) of people to _______ (problem book solved for them, or what it taught them)

NAME has _____________ (your accomplishments, e.g. published articles in; had exhibits at; consulted to) ______, _______, and ______, among others. [For example, “Naomi’s mixed media collages were featured in the January 2015 print issue of Somerset Studio magazine and a feature article about her work was published on the magazine’s website.”

Category #4: HOW to contact you (choose one sentence)

To contact NAME please email ______ or go to _______ (your web site).

NAME is available for private consultations on ______, and can be reached at (PHONE NUMBER) or by email at ______

A final word about writing your professional bio

Use these bio templates as a starting point but try not to feel constrained by them. If there’s something that you think is interesting or important to add, by all means do so! Trust your own judgment and let your personal or professional bio reflect what is unique about you.

How to coach anyone

How do you help someone who is big time stuck with their goal and nothing you, or they, are doing seems to help?

It is NOT uncommon for your staff or coaching clients to find themselves in this position.

Typically, “stuckness” indicates that…

The client needs a much bigger game to play.
If the goal is too small, some clients simply aren’t motivated enough to fire on all cylinders.

The client needs a smaller game to play.
If the goal is too large, some clients get overwhelmed or feel that they’ll never get there. So, either make the game smaller or identify important milestones along the way and target those.

The client’s paradigm needs to be shifted or expanded quickly.
If the client is thinking too small, or too historically, help them to upgrade their paradigm.

The client may need to start doing the opposite of what they’ve been doing.
Don’t laugh at this one. It can work. Just ask the client what would happen, or what they would feel if they started doing the opposite of what they’ve been doing to reach this goal. If nothing else, it’s a creative exercise. Remember, the client is stuck, and it’s not a natural state to be stuck, so sometimes a 180 or 90 degree turn is what’s needed.

The client doesn’t really want the goal even though they say they do.
I see this a lot. The client has a goal in mind but it’s actually a “should” goal vs. a “want” goal and so they don’t get very far with it. The trick is to help the client work on “want” goals, or to shift the “should” into a “want.” “Should” goals, while important, are likely to derail the client. “Want” goals, however, usually keep the client motivated. Again, it’s a cool coaching skill to help the client reframe or redesign a “should” goal into a “want” goal.

The client needs a very different goal.
In my experience, the client is rarely able to clearly, simply, and cleanly articulate what they most want, so an important part of the coaching process is to tease out what matters most to the client using words that are meaningful to them (vs. jargon, vague or Hallmark card, mushy language).

The goal needs a very different strategy.
There are many ways to cause an outcome; these are called strategies. Our job as a coach is to help the client find the most appealing and effective strategy that gets them from point A to point B without going through point Z. And if the client isn’t making progress with their goal, consider using a different approach/strategy instead.

The client may be concerned about perceived loss or consequences.
Hey, success can be very, very stressful because a person is replacing the old, the known and the familiar with something else. Welcome to evolution. Even if everything is going to be terrific when they reach their goal, the fear of losing someone’s love, their old friends, their routine, etc., can be more than enough to get a client stuck in the present.

The client is resisting the pressure they may be feeling from you.
Clients can be touchy. Sometimes, your eagerness is off putting, or the client will sense pressure if you’re more excited about or committed to the goal than they are. Clients may resist so much, they actually get stuck around the goal. If this happens, ask the client how much pressure they are feeling from you. And ask yourself whether you’re pushing, pulling or otherwise trying too hard.

The client’s environments are not properly set up to support this goal.
The types of goals that people set today are much more complex than the goals our parents set, and the environments we are surrounded by need to be tweaked in order to give us the 24/7 support we need. Environments include family, friends, networks, emotional environments, memes/concepts, paradigms, paradoxes, creative stimulation, performance support (like a coach), what we eat (for the energy we need) and how clean our energy is.

The client may need a break from coaching.
There comes a time when a client needs a break from you or a break from Coaching, but either they don’t know it, or they don’t want to tell you, so they “get stuck” and then have a reason/justification/explanation to opt out.

The client is just plain scared.
Sometimes, the goal is so exciting that it becomes overwhelming to the client and they get mired in the process. Find out if this is true and work on the distinction “excitement vs. fear.” It can be a subtle distinction. I’ve found that by identifying and then reducing/eliminating the perceived consequences of reaching the goal, the client can then move back toward excitement and away from fear.

The goal is not a clear enough expression of the client’s true values.
This happens a lot because the body slows/shuts down when goals aren’t aligned with one’s internal values. Work with the client on their top 5 values, and find the connection between the goal they are stuck on and the value that it expresses.

Questions to ask your client…

Do you know why you’re stuck?
If we back burner this goal, what goal would you rather work on?
Do you sometimes get stuck when you’re this close to reaching a goal?
Do you need a supportive kick in the pants?
Tell me what I should do in order to “un-stick” you in the next 10 minutes?
How much longer are you willing to be stuck on this?
Are you willing to try a backdoor approach to reaching this goal?
What else should we try?
Final thoughts…

Be patient, but don’t be the tail of the dog.
The client may need time to figure out what big changes to make in their life in order to reach this goal more easily, or perhaps they’ll need to select a very different goal instead. I’d give a client no more than 3 sessions to work it out and to have them propelled forward with plenty of energy to reach the goal or complete the project. Otherwise, it’s too tiring for both of you and it’s probably not even coaching by that point. Personally, I prefer to resolve this type of thing within 20 minutes. I don’t want it carried over to the next call.

Goals are meant to be exciting to reach.
If the client is resisting, laboring, complaining or just not into it, find another goal or develop another strategy that IS self-motivating. The alternative is that both you and your client get dragged down. Do NOT be afraid to require the client to pick another goal if the one they are working on isn’t getting anywhere. Abandon hope. Feel better. Move forward.

Reprinted with permission from the book How To Coach Anyone. © 2009 BestofThomas.com & CoachVille.com

accountant-cpa-bio-templateWriting 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.

Example:

_______________ (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.

police-officer-bio-template
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.

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