4 Things Every Great Bio Should Have

NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, chances are that at some point in your life/career, you're going to need a bio. Maybe you're a poet about to give a reading, or about to accept an award. Maybe you're a real estate mogul, a financial planner, or a mortgage broker. That little "About Us" tab on your website? Yeah, it's more important than you think.

I know whenever I'm considering engaging a new provider's services, I want to find out everything I can about that person. Both their professional achievements and their personal story--why they're doing what they're doing, where they come from, and where they're going. Because a photo speaks a thousand silent words, I always scrutinize that, too. How does the person carry him/herself? What image are they trying to project?

If all you need is the best bio ever, I write those. If you want to try it yourself, here are 4 things every great bio should have:

1. 300 details.

Okay, not actually 300. But the typical long bio (as in, for a book jacket or a web page) is 300 words, and it should be chock-full of details. NO FLUFF, people. Every word should count, and they should be interesting words. Make yourself come alive on the page! Consider including favorite activities, quotes, or family fun facts.

2. 150 points.

Again, not 150 points exactly, but a short bio (for use in having people introduce you, or for the brief tagline following a HuffPost article, for example) is 150 words, and now you have to be even more concise! If fluff snuck into your long bio, it absolutely must be weeded out here. Instead of the three achievements you listed in your long bio, pick the most important one. Balance it with something non-work-related. Do you love dogs? Baking? The X-Games? Shine, you beautiful soul.

3. Hashtags.

Ghostwriter. Black belt. Down-dogger. #hospicestories
— My career, my achievement, my pastime, and my current campaign.

There was a time when hashtags had nothing to do with literature, and then a time when they were only relevant to tweets. Now hashtags create instant communities wherever & whenever they're used. They help track metrics and unite themes and causes. They're memorable. Use a 6-word hashtag-heavy bio for your social media presence and/or byline.

4. Put the "I" back in TEAM.

Those third-person bios are going to come in super-handy, but you want at least one first-person version. Should you find yourself giving a speech or on the news or even in an elevator, when your pitch is prepared, the sale is already halfway over. Re-work your short bio into a self-introduction, and boom--