How to Sound Like an Interesting Person: Tips for Writing Your Company Bio
We know. Company bios are so boring, right? Just a long paragraph of facts about Person X, maybe with a final throwaway line about how they like yoga and spending time with their family. (Yawn.)
Writing a great company bio is difficult for a couple reasons. First and foremost, we’re taught from a very young age not to brag. And writing your company bio feels like one big “Me Show.” The second reason is that it’s really hard to strike the right balance between professional and personal.
So how do you tackle this challenge? I suggest that rather than diving in and trying to bang it out, you first interview yourself. Or even better, if you have a colleague who also has to write their own bio, interview each other.
Below are some questions we use with our clients — feel free to pick and choose. You’ll see we’ve included the basics along with some fun questions to trick your audience into thinking you’re smart and clever. Just kidding! Of course you’re smart and clever! They hired you, right?
Quick pep talk: Don’t worry about editing yourself when giving answers. Think of each answer as a building block you can use (or not) when you actually start writing. See a question you don’t like? Feel free to skip it. Just try to have fun with this.
Part 1: First, the Facts
Education: Include name of school, major and degree received (e.g. Harvard University, B.A. in Art History).
Previous work experience: Just list your two to three most recent jobs and your role at each. Keep descriptions limited and noteworthy. Don’t make it an exhaustive list of your responsibilities. On the other hand, if you were responsible for tripling sales, well that’s definitely worth a sentence!
Awards: You can list work-related awards, but also include some non-work awards (e.g. “Spelling Bee Champ, 1993” or “Karaoke Showdown, First Runner-up”).
Part 2: Work-Related Questions
- So what exactly does a [insert your job title] do?
- Now how would you explain that to your five-year-old niece?
- Walk us through a typical day. (Try to keep this to a line or two, maybe a morning/midday/end of day activity.)
- What motivates you? (Besides your crushing financial responsibilities. Actually that’s kind of funny. Feel free to steal.)
- Why are you here? (Keep it purposefully vague; don’t over-think it. You can always rewrite, reframe or delete!)
- What’s the best part of your job?
- What’s the best thing a client ever said to or about you?
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
- What would your colleagues say if asked to describe you?
- What kind of a client do you love working with?
- You felt you deserved a big, fat, raise the day you … (You can talk about an impressive win or maybe resolving a client conflict, etc.)
- Why do clients like working with you? (Assuming, you know, they do.)
Part 3: Now the Fun Questions
- As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What are you most likely to be doing when you’re not working?
- If someone met you, they’d probably never guess …
- What’s the one thing you wish people understood about you?
- What’s your #1 pet peeve?
- If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
- If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
- If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
Remember: The point is not to exhaustively answer every single question. It’s just to give yourself some better material to work than your old résumé. You may even learn some fascinating things about yourself. Feel free to use the same approach to your online dating profile.