A short business bio is a mandatory tool for any person who is going to be honored, written about in the media or mentioned in a press release. Most people who write their own bios tend to make them bloated, overlong and even boring, but a good bio is pithy yet informative and interesting.
Plan on writing the bio for general purposes. That means it should be fairly generic, so it can be tweaked to whatever format is required, such as a press release, newspaper article or a website. If there's a lot of information, then plan on writing a couple of different versions, one short and one a bit longer.
Include only relevant information. A good rule to remember is to dedicate one sentence to each of the following: current position, previous position, position previous to that and where the subject went to school. The rest should be information that is relevant to the reader. There is no need for any fluff, or for too many facts and figures.
Avoid editorializing in the bio. Stay away from words like great, inspirational, driven, focused and unique.
Avoid any business lingo as well. Avoid words like paradigm, bandwidth, value added and self-starter. If it's not an everyday term, don't use it.
If you're still unsure, hire a professional writer to eyeball your work, or search online for other bios. See which ones tell you a lot about the subject in just a few sentences. That's what you should strive for!
When it doubt, leave it out. Write the bio in the third person, but without being pretentious. Hiring a professional photographer for a business portrait is far better than taking a snapshot.
Humor and a business bio don't mix. It takes much longer to write a short bio than a long one.
- All images: Chris Capelle