Public speaking ranks as one of the top fears that most people contend with, but I dare to say that writing about oneself is not too far behind! What do I include, what should I leave out, what words should I avoid, how do I refer to myself……and on and on! My best advice is to begin with the end in mind! What I mean by that is KNOW the ‘reader’ you are speaking to and craft the message in order for the ‘reader’ to take action. In the case of a potential employer, you want them to call you–email you–message you–in other words, NOTICE YOU and then reach out to find out more about you! If becoming noticed is the outcome of your Persuasive Bio or LinkedIn Profile, then you have achieved your goal–so rejoice and celebrate this accomplishment!
1) Set aside quiet, un-interrupted time to reflect on your life’s journey–in order to craft your story. Go to the park, go to a coffee shop, go to the library, etc. somewhere where your spouse, kids and pets won’t disrupt your train of thought! Then, you must promise to silence your cell phone and stay off social media–as you focus on crafting YOUR journey.
2) Outline your education and focus on WHY you selected your College/University and your major. Reflect back to that time and ask yourself, “What Did I Want To Be When I Grew Up?” If your current profession is in alignment with the answer–this makes for a great thread to intertwine in your story.
3) Think back to the positions you have held along life’s highway. Focus on positions which coincide the best with the dream position you want to attract. Include relevant employment history and experience, as part of your story.
4) List all the reasons WHY you are passionate about your profession. Create EMOTIONAL phrases versus the analytical reasons why you enjoy your work! Include those phrases within your bio, allowing the reader to understand your passion and your WHY!
5) Write from a Third-Party point of view. Never use personal pronouns (I, me, my) in the body of the text, unless you are referring to a direct quote. It is recommended that you quote yourself at least once, so don’t forget to use the ‘quotation marks’ around that statement.
6) Vary the sentence structure and how you refer to yourself. Do NOT start off every sentence and every paragraph with your name. Mix it up and refer to yourself as he or his, and for the ladies, she or her. You will sound ‘child-like’ if every sentence begins with your first name.
7) NEVER refer to yourself by surname (last) name only! This completely changes the tone of your demeanor throughout the Bio! You will give the impression that you are distant, cold, untouchable, arrogant, alouf, etc.–none of which you want the reader to FEEL, as they read about you! Trust me, conveying this message will NOT solicit a call from a potential employer! Think about it…..would you invite this type of temperament into your workplace?
8) End your Persuasive Bio with a ‘feel good’ statement, positive mantra or personal quote you live by. This tactic will leave the reader with a good feeling about you, as they will be inclined to WANT to meet YOU! As I reflect back on my retail era in life, we always trained everyone to understand the importance of the ‘cashier’ or ‘customer service desk.’ In most cases, this is the FINAL point of interaction the customer has when leaving a brick-n-mortar store. So, if the customer is treated rudely or with indifference—OR the area is unruly or chaotic–this IS the final impression and IS how they feel as they remember the overall experience! So always, always end your bio on a positive note:)
9) Keep Your Persuasive Career Bio to one-page. If your story is intriguing and keeps the reader interested, they will read the entire page! Regarding your LinkedIn Profile ‘About Me’ Section, I do recommend that you shorten your bio to 3 paragraphs, versus including the entire full-page bio, which is typically 5-7 paragraphs.
10) And last, but not least, AVOID this list of 16 Words as you write about yourself……Really, Should, Maybe, Could, Perhaps, Quite, Stuff, Things, Got, Never, Honestly, Truthfully, Many, Very, Just and A lot.
Show the reader that you are fit with their company culture! It is your job to connect the dots for the employer, don’t assume they will take the time to connect the dots on their own. Make it clear, why YOU fit the Organization and why the Organization fits YOU!
Stay Tuned For Next Week’s Post: ‘How To Address The Unpleasant Question–What Was Your Reason For Leaving?’