How to Write a Personal Biography

Whether you are an author, a public speaker, an authority in your field, or simply looking to build your reputation and increase your name recognition, a well-written personal biography is essential. Your personal biography can help you establish yourself as a professional and as an expert. It is worth the investment of your time to carefully craft your biography, as it will serve to open doors and create opportunities for you. In fact, if you feel the need to hire a professional writer to compose your biography for you, the expense would be merited.

If you choose to write your own personal (or professional) biography, there are several considerations and steps in the process To transform your blank sheet of paper into a masterfully written biography, it is important to give each its due deliberation.

1. Identify your audience.

A biography written for a conference of professionals will require different content and style than a biography written for a group of college students. For your biography to have any value, your audience must be able to understand and relate to it.

2. Decide on the format.

While a longer biography (a page or two in length) can serve you well on a website or as a insert in an informational/promotional packet, a shorter bio consisting of just one or two paragraphs can provide useful content for promotional material, book jackets, and newsletters. You may find that you have uses for both a long and a short biography.

Will your biography be written in first-person or in third-person? A first-person biography (or autobiography) may be better equipped to connect with the reader on a personal level. A third-person biography, on the other hand, will appear more professional and formal, thus allowing it to be used in a broader range of settings.

Also, do you intend for your biography to be read as a unified whole or will it be broken into sections with headings for each? Separate sections with headings can make a longer biography much easier to read.

Prepare your outline.

Before you begin to actually write your biography^ prepare an outline of what will be included and in what order. This outline can serve as a guide as you write and will help ensure that you do not omit any essential components

The content you should include in your biography (and thus in your outline) depends on your audience, your intended message, and what information would be relevant to the reader.

Include personal information.

At or near the beginning, a biography written in third-person should include your full name (or nickname). After you have used your full name once, you can decide how to refer to yourself for the remainder of the article. Will you refer to yourself with your first name or last name? If you are writing in first-person, your name should be included in the title and/or signature line.

You can mention where you were bom and raised, plus any obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are today. When talking about struggles, though, be careful to keep the overall tone positive and inspiring.

You may choose to discuss your personal mission or vision, your defining moment in life, as well as any hobbies. Keep in mind that, while this content might round out your image in a longer biography, it may be irrelevant in a shorter biography. In a shorter biography, you would be wise to stick to the basics.

Though it is your biography and not theirs, a brief mention of family members may also be warranted. This will help to humanize you to the reader. However, unless you are an athlete, actor, or dancer, it is unlikely that you will need to include such details as your height and weight.

List educational achievements.

Any degrees, certificates, or diplomas earned that are pertinent to your field can be mentioned in your biography. If the complete list would read like a shopping list, select the two or three that are most important to your area of specialty and restrict your biography to those. You can mention these achievements in paragraph form or you can choose to use bullet points.

Cite professional accomplishments.

Including a balance of early and recent accomplishments. If you have a good track record, talk about your years of experience. If appropriate, you may choose to identify some of your major clients. Again, bullet points may be appropriate to list these accomplishments.

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