Many professionals found themselves in need of refreshing their business biographies right in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Some of these professionals found themselves looking for new jobs while others thought this was an opportunity to take their careers in a different direction. Another segment took this time to ponder about what their next career move should be.
Career bios should be revisited and evaluated at least once every quarter; the idea is to either update information or reconsider how some sections are presented. If you have the advantage of having career coaches or business mentors, let them review your bio to get their opinions. Career consultants at international recruiting firm Robert Walters often mention that many of the bios they come across lack a branding statement, an element that is crucial to include in both resumes and bios.
When you look at this example of a bio written for an individual Crunchbase profile, you see that it is written in third-person narrative. You will never go wrong with this style, but you should also consider writing in first-person if the bio is published on your own website; the same goes for a business enterprise that you founded and are still actively involved. Third-person is fine on Crunchbase and also on the websites of companies where you are a board member, but first-person is a must on the “About” section of your LinkedIn profile.
Speaking of LinkedIn, notice how the bio has a limit of 2,000 characters, which is about 400 words. This is not necessarily a sweet spot length for a professional bio; you can go longer on other platforms and websites, and you should if your outstanding professional achievements merit longer explanations. Some career coaches recommend listing all achievements while others will tell you to stick to the most prominent and relevant ones. Both of these pieces of advice are correct, but you should always put more emphasis on the most prominent and relevant achievements.
Narrative and conversational tones have been trending on professional bios over the last decade. If your bio reads like a resume, it should certainly be rewritten. This does not mean that you should get rid of your resume on LinkedIn; after all, traditional headhunters and human resources specialists still enjoy reading bullet points, but younger professionals are better with narratives. The idea is to come across as authentic and approachable. In the case of angel and venture capital investors, let’s not forget that tech startup founders looking for funding tend to skew younger, and they are more receptive to casual reading than they are to skimming through resumes.
Gaining inspiration from the bios of successful professionals is a good idea. If you are an investor who is proud of profitable exits, take a look at how others have written about their experiences in this regard. If your style is more hands-on in relation to the companies you raise money for, be sure to include situations in which the company principals heeded your advice and how they expressed gratitude.