If you write anything, then the skill of knowing how to write a short autobiography is something that you’ll need. Just because we shorten this need to a “bio” doesn’t mean there is less importance to it. Blogs, books, and even company websites all include bios of the people who are behind the work that is produced. Get this short bit of information correct and you’ll be able to prove that you have some level of expertise that readers or visitors need.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take in constructing your short autobiography. Although these steps are intended to be taken in sequential order, there are no set rules to the structure of a bio. Write what comes naturally to you and conveys the key points you need to make.
#1. Start with a simple introduction.
You’ll want to speak about yourself in the third person, but it doesn’t have to be lengthy. Just a sentence or two is enough. “Joe Smith is a freelance graphic artist who started creating professional designs in 1997. He counts several Fortune 500 companies as his clients.” If you have any specific areas of expertise, this is where you’d want to put them.
Not every bio is for a publication that is based in the business world, however, so the introduction may be more personal. You might talk about your family: “Joe is a husband, father of 4, and loves playing rugby on the weekends with his local pub team.” It’s just important to keep personal bios on personal sites or publications and separate from business publications in most instances.
#2. Now add in your education and whatever credentials you have.
If you have any college/university degrees, then list these and the institution where you earned them. Certifications and other relevant experience, such as being a member of a specific professional organization, would also be included in this step. Listing a high school diploma or GED is usually not included here – you’re looking to add something to the bio that sets you apart.
That’s right – a high school diploma or GED doesn’t set you apart these days. Not everyone finishes school, this is true. Yet graduation or passing the GED is common enough that there is an expectation of it happening.
If you don’t have a diploma or GED, then it is suitable to substitute your previous work experiences in this section instead. Just because you learned through real-life practices doesn’t mean you didn’t receive an education in your own way.
#3. Have you had any notable achievements or awards?
Not everyone earns awards in their line of work, but that doesn’t meant there isn’t something notable about what they do. Maybe you’ve been a writer since the age of 13 when a local newspaper asked you to write a column for them. Or maybe you had a children’s book published in high school. Or your graphic designs have been published in notable magazines or publishing houses.
There is one general rule to follow, however, on these achievements and awards: they must be relevant to the subject matter at hand. If you’re writing about quantum mechanics, listing in your bio that you were nominated for the Best Newspaper Carrier Award for your state won’t add value to the expertise you’re trying to convey.
#4. Include a closing statement.
A good rule of thumb for a closing statement is to include a brief look at what you’re current projects happen to be. If you were an author, you might talk about a book that is being published later in the year. You might conclude with a brief note about where you currently live and why you like living there. If you have a personal blog, you might talk about the things your family likes to do in your community. “Joe and his family love Tampa Bay and the multiple opportunities that exist to play miniature golf.”
The goal of structuring a short autobiography like this is to make it as easy to update as possible. If you earn a master’s degree after your bachelor’s degree, for example, you could easily add the graduate degree to your bio in the education section. If you change careers, you can add in the new experience while touting your previous expertise: “Joe had 20 years of graphic design experience before deciding to become a freelance artist in 2015.”
Knowing how to write a short autobiography is more about content than length. Good bios can be just a paragraph long. Others might need a page or two. Whatever the case may be for you, focus on these key points and put in the relevant information needed so you can give people a glimpse of who you really are.