How to Write a Bio that’s Targeted and Attention-Getting
You’ve probably heard multiple times that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” resume. But what about bios? Is there a one-size-fits-all bio? My answer is steadfastly, “No.” You need to understand how to write a bio that’s targeted to each audience you’re addressing, based on that audience’s focus, interests, and needs.
I personally have an entire Word document devoted to copious versions of my bio. Each one is geared toward a specific audience.
How to Write a Bio for Myself (Brenda Bernstein)
The bio that goes along with my How to Make Resume Writing Fun webinar starts as follows:
Brenda Bernstein, Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), and accomplished editor and LinkedIn trainer, believes that resume writing does NOT have to be a drag!
Notice that the facts about me are resume specific, and I set up my audience to think this presentation will make resume writing more palatable.
What if I’m doing a presentation about LinkedIn? Here’s how I craft that bio:
Brenda Bernstein is the #1 Amazon-best-selling author of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile, now in its 12th edition and recently released in full-color print. A compelling speaker, award-winning businesswoman and top-certified resume writer, Brenda has worked with hundreds of professionals and executives who understand the value of an effective LinkedIn profile.
Not surprisingly, the LinkedIn-related bio contains evidence of my LinkedIn expertise and experience.
Third, here’s the beginning of my bio, written for a Yale audience where I was giving back-to-back presentations on resume and LinkedIn profile writing:
Brenda Bernstein, MC ’91, is the author of the #1 Best-Selling e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. Now owner and senior editor of The Essay Expert, recovering lawyer (NYU ’98), Certified Master Resume Writer, and sought-after LinkedIn trainer, Brenda began her editing “career” wordsmithing her friends’ articles for the Yale Daily News.
As you can see, the audience and the topic inform what I emphasize in each bio. I literally write a new bio every time an organization or website asks me for one!
How to Write a Bio for a Client (Tamira Johnelle)
Recently, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to write two bios for Tamira Johnelle. You’ll find out more about this sparkling woman in a moment. For now, what I want to convey is the difference in the bios I wrote for her. The first was for a conference for women entrepreneurs. The second was for her website. As you read the bios, look for the emphasis of each and the clear differences, all of which stem from Tamira’s target audience.
Women Entrepreneurs Conference Bio:
Tamira Johnelle is turning her own weight loss story into one of the fastest-growing businesses of its kind. Her impressive accomplishment of going from size 18 to size 6 in 7 months, while eating dessert every day, is not her only claim to fame. Check out the growth of her following: from 1,639 followers to 11,550 followers in 4 weeks! She has created a 16-week virtual course as well as a one-on-one coaching program for people struggling with their weight, giving them the blueprint to her success and helping them on their journey to weight loss freedom.
Tamira’s recipe collection of delicious, healthy main dishes and desserts, “From a Size 18 to a Size 6 in 7 Months While Eating Dessert Daily, The MAIN DISH EDITION” is selling like hotcakes. And people have responded amazingly well to her recipe videos on Facebook Live and Periscope. When you meet this no-nonsense, exuberant entrepreneur, you’ll understand why she is an inspiration to anyone wanting to enjoy both their food and their lives.
Tamira Johnelle, who went from a size 18 to a size 6 in 7 months, is an inspiration to anyone who has been struggling with their weight for years and who feels like a failure because of it.
Tamira grew up on the American junk food diet. As a girl, she would hide candy under the pillow, and wake up in the middle of the night to eat it. In the morning she woke up hungry for more. This cycle of unhealthy eating was consuming her life. As much as she tried to talk herself out of her patterns, she could not stop these overwhelmingly powerful cravings. This might sound familiar to you.
As she grew older, Tamira wrestled with her weight, going on unrealistic diets she couldn’t keep. Eat salads all day? Are you kidding? Tamira was not about to give up desserts forever—but she did want to be healthy and look great in a size 6 dress. She knew there must be a better way to get amazing and sustainable weight loss results.
One important step was learning how to cook. Tamira is self-taught and in 7 years has come up with a whole cookbook full of recipes that completely satisfy and that will stop your junk food cravings. Here are just a few of the delicious items you’ll find in “From a Size 18 to a Size 6 in 7 Months While Eating Dessert Daily, The MAIN DISH EDITION”:
Tasty, Satisfying Entrees: Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken, Salmon Cakes, Black Bean Avocado Quesadillas
Desserts that Won’t Have You Thinking about Junk Food All Day: Turmeric-Lemon Kidney Bean Cake, Maple-Cayenne Cookies, Maple-Pineapple-Lime Sorbet
But recipes will only get you 20% there. Tamira has developed an entire lifestyle that has helped her and others get and keep the weight off through positive affirmations, healthy meals, exercise and a host of other methods. She has created a 16-week virtual course as well as a one-on-one coaching program for people struggling with their own weight, giving them the blueprint to her success and helping them on their journey to weight loss freedom.
[This bio is followed by four compelling success stories.]
What do you notice about these bios? Do you see how Tamira’s entrepreneurial successes, which are highlighted in the conference bio, would be inappropriate on her website? They would turn people off. But the entrepreneurs want to know about this stuff because they want the same kind of success. And notice how her own longer story, the details of her recipes, and her clients’ weight loss successes, which are key to her persona on her website, take a back seat in a bio for an audience of entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs couldn’t care less about the client with lupus whose inflammation all but disappeared in two weeks.
How to Write a Bio for Yourself!
Do you have a bio at the ready to send out whenever you’re asked for one? If you do, take a moment before pressing “send” to make sure you’ve tailored the bio to your audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all bio! And if you need help with how to write a bio, The Essay Expert will be happy to help! Check out our bio writing packages.
 Morse College, a residential college at Yale, and my graduating year (1991).