A step-by-step guide to writing the most effective professional bio

A professional bio is a useful tool for executives, C-suite leaders, boards of directors, business owners, and speakers to effectively market themselves. Professional bios are needed where there’s an informational meeting, a speaking engagement, and/or a business proposition.

If you’re an independent consultant or business owner, an executive bio is ideal for your website or company landing page. Professional bios are also widely used for professional associations, and other programs and events.

When writing a professional bio, it’s important to look deep into the professional’s career background, passion for his/her work, and relevant career achievements. Additionally, consider reviewing any published articles or media features that discuss the professional’s career background and highlights. 

Here are some helpful tips on how to write an effective professional bio from the introductory paragraph through the conclusion paragraph:

  • Paragraph 1:  Introduce the professional and discuss subject matter areas of expertise, including key career focus skills.
  • Paragraphs 2 & 3:  Discuss the career history of the executive, spanning from early career to current career role.
  • Paragraph 4:  Discuss services the executive provides and/or currently specializes in and how the executive has pivoted his/her career into this area of expertise.
  • Paragraph 5: Provide information about the professional’s education, current community leadership, and affiliations, as well as honors and awards.

Length can vary in a professional bio depending on its intended audience and use. As a professional writer and coach, I am a big proponent of having two variations of a professional bio (long-form and short-form), particularly if you are using it for a podcast interview or speaking engagement versus a website or business meeting.

You can also combine the executive bio and resume into more of a networking document, commonly referenced as a “sell sheet.” A “sell sheet” or “networking resume” combines the bio with paired down details of the resume, allowing more of a timeline effect of the career background to stand out.  It is a terrific value-add for those stepping into meetings or in consultant roles where a bio and resume are presented hand-in-hand.