How to Write a Bio That Sells You and Your Company

Your bio is often the first impression your personal brand makes on a potential client. And we all know how lasting first impressions are. Most of the bios I come across are not branding documents. They are not marketing pieces for someone or their business.

Most bios are a laundry list of skills and jobs with no focus or message. Most are boring, a high percentage are downright terrible. They are full of jargon and clichés, and look downright ugly or forbidding in terms of layout and display of the content.

The good news is, a bio can be a powerful way to position and sell yourself and create a powerful personal brand identity. So how do you do it? You begin by adopting a self brand mindset. You begin as a marketer of any product would, by looking at yourself as a brand looking for a buyer or market, a brand that is a solution to a problem.

• The first shift is from bio as job history to resume as an advertisement for the brand, You.

• The second shift you need to make is to a market orientation, don't think of what you want to tell the potential client, but, think of what reaction you want from them, and how best to present your resume to accomplish that response.

• The third shift is to focus your message. Rather than resume as laundry list, develop a single minded positioning for yourself that differentiates you from others and is relevant to your target market. The bio should tell the story of that positioning and link the various aspects of your career in a coherent whole.

• The final shift is to be memorable visually and verbally. The layout should look inviting and the copy should capture the reader's attention and compel them to read more.

Here are three bio enhancers that can make a big difference:

1. Tell a story about the brand You.

A narrative resume should tell a story, your personal brand story. So like any narrative, there should be a focused theme to the narrative bio, and links between the various things that you have done. (Visit the resources section of my website selfbrand .com for examples of narrative bios.)

2. President of a company you've worked for you could ask to provide.

You may not know any real celebrities (I don't either). But you no doubt know another type of celebrity, such as the CEO or President of a company you've worked for who you could ask to provide a third part endorsement. Get a quote you can use in your narrative bio. (You may need to help out by sending a couple of draft ideas based on the work you did for the company.

3. Use action words and anecdotes to tell a "story" about your accomplishments and your company.

Write your bio as if you were talking to a close friend or business colleague. Use simple English (Saxon not fancy Latinate) words and expression. Convey a sense of your personality in the bio so that people can get a sense of who you are and respond to that. Using emotion in marketing messages is a form of emotional branding, getting people interested in you because they feel something about you.

4. Always have a :30 second Elevator Speech: the oral version of your narrative bio.

The elevator speech is a must that most people overlook, hence they stumble through explaining who they are and why that is important. The :30 second elevator speech should be colloquial and conversational, but like the narrative bio, it should be both powerful, focused on what's most important, and be tied together in a thematic story. In essence, it should convey the key highlights of what you have done, how you did it, and imply, there's more that you can do for them.


Catherine Kaputa is a brand strategist, speaker, founder of SelfBrand and award-winning author. Her book, Breakthrough Branding won the Silver Medal, Book of the Year Awards, 2012. Her book, You Are a Brand! won the Ben Franklin Award for Best Career Book. Her latest book is Women Who Brand (2014). Contact

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