How to write a personal biography of employment

Written by isobel washington
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A personal professional biography serves many purposes, and is a useful supplement to your resume. This is a brief one- to three-paragraph summary of employment history and professional achievements, used for public relations press kits, an executive profile, freelancing profile, or any online profile.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    List your career objectives. Objectives include shifting career paths, attracting new clients and job opportunities, or fostering your organisation's company profile in its totality.

  2. 2

    Consider your personal "brand." Branding is commonly used in business to position a product, service or company in a particular way in the consumer's mind. For creative professionals, branding is essential. Think of branding as assigning a personality to your professional self, and chances are, you already have one that perhaps just needs a little "watering" to make it bloom. For example, if your knack is for young, hip fashion-related business (or you'd like it to be), tailor your bio to reflect this as your professional personality. Likewise, if your personal brand is longevity in large corporations so as to make lasting contributions, tailor your bio in this way.

  3. 3

    Write down all relevant employment information in a freewrite. A freewrite is an unformatted, run-on list of thoughts--do not look at your resume or CV for this, as this will detract from those things that stand out most in your mind. Write down all significant projects, jobs, and achievements that pop into your head, regardless of format: "I've spent many years in finance; I know all the ins and outs of corporate tax regulations; I was promoted from X to Z; I helped Company A untangle X dilemma." A freewrite may also inspire recollections of coffee-filled all-nighters, or the recurring theme of thinking outside the box. Write it all down.

  4. 4

    Eliminate all irrelevant information. Look at your CV and your freewrite, and eliminate employment information that does not foster your objectives or personal brand. For example, if you have shifted careers from waiting tables to finance, eliminate info related to clearing tips. If, however, your finance career has not yet blossomed and you are lacking sufficient employment history, there are ways to shape unrelated employment to foster your goals. For instance, four or more years in any position can demonstrate loyalty and stability.

  1. 1

    Write the introduction. This is only one sentence, and is crucial for grabbing and holding attention, and sending a straightforward message about who you are and what you are about. For example, "With ten strong years of building a reputation in the advertising industry, John Smith's verbal craftwork delivers effective copywriting for a broad range of clients."

  2. 2

    Work on the body by narrowing down your main points as tightly as possible. The body should be one to four sentences, and should clearly and concisely highlight your work history and achievements. A significant number of years with a company or in an industry, awards or other achievements, and project highlights are all components of the bio body.

  3. 3

    Choose verbs wisely. Verbs are crucial, and choosing the right verb can often help eliminate groups of descriptive words, and boost the calibre of your bio. "Worked on," for instance, is flat and dry. Verbs like "lead," "administered," "created," and "organised" are better choices--and there are better ones to be found.

  4. 4

    Be clear and concise. Avoid flowery language, unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and overselling yourself with vague references, such as "best worker on the team."

    Your body should read something like this: "John Smith's first era of copywriting began with small clients in New York City, which quickly earned him work recognition from Roosevelt & Moore, which scooped him beneath the top ad agency's wing. As the firm prospered from Smith's edgy wordsmith style, he climbed the ladder and headed a team of over 30 copywriters as Senior Copywriter for five years. After winning the NYC Best Copywriting Award in 2003, Smith went solo with his own consultancy. His big-name clients have included X,Y, and Z."

  5. 5

    Write the conclusion. The conclusion is two or three present-tense sentences that summarise current responsibilities, and hint at future goals. Following the above example: "John Smith continues to build his award-winning portfolio with multiple projects that demonstrate his passion for magnetising consumers with the written word. He welcomes new clients who appreciate the artistic side of business."

Tips and warnings

  • Write in third-person, not first.
  • Keep the introduction to one sentence.
  • Avoid adjectives and adverbs that are vague, cannot be proven, or are too broad and subjective, such as "spectacular," "great," and "best." Even adverbs such as "diligently" are now overused, and should be eliminated.

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