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Are you looking for an interesting person to write about? You'll find that the more you are intrigued or inspired by your subject, the more time you'll give to this assignment.

This list may inspire you. Try to find a biography subject you enjoy reading about!

  • Albert Einstein (scientist)
  • Alexander Fleming (scientist)
  • Alexander Graham Bell (inventor)
  • Alexander the Great (leader)
  • Amelia Earhart (aviation)
  • Anne Frank (Holocaust)
  • Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father)
  • Betty Ford (inspirational)
  • Carl Sagan (scientist)
  • Charles Lindbergh (aviation)
  • Clarence Birdseye (inventor)
  • Eli Whitney (inventor)
  • Elie Wiesel (Holocaust)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (architect)
  • George Eastman (inventor)
  • George Washington Carver (agricultural chemist)
  • Henry Ford (industrialist)
  • Isaac Newton (scientist)
  • Jacques Cousteau (explorer)
  • Jane Goodall (anthropologist)
  • Johann Gutenberg (inventor)
  • John Deere (inventor)
  • John F. Kennedy (political leader)
  • John James Audubon (nature)
  • Jonas Salk (scientist, inventor)
  • Karl Benz (inventor)
  • Leonardo da Vinc i (scientist and artist)
  • Lewis Braille (inventor)
  • Margaret Mead (anthropologist)
  • Marie Curie (physicist and chemist)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights)
  • Medgar Evers (civil rights)
  • Mohandas Gandhi (political leader)
  • Mother Teresa (Nobel Prize winner)
  • Nelson Mandel a (political leader)
  • Patrick Henry (Founding Father)
  • Rachel Carson (conservationist)
  • Robert Goddard (physicist and inventor)
  • Rosa Parks (civil rights)
  • Samuel Morse (inventor)
  • Sandra Day O'Connor (political leader)
  • Stephen Hawking (scientist)
  • Susan B. Anthony (famous women)
  • Thomas Edison (inventor)
  • W.E.B. Dubois (civil rights)
  • Wright Brothers (inventors)
  • Winston Churchill (political leader)
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Blog • Perfecting your Craft

Posted on Jun 30, 2023

How to Write a Biography: A 7-Step Guide [+Template]

From time to time, nonfiction authors become so captivated by a particular figure from either the present or the past, that they feel compelled to write an entire book about their life. Whether casting them as heroes or villains, there is an interesting quality in their humanity that compels these authors to revisit their life paths and write their story.

However, portraying someone’s life on paper in a comprehensive and engaging way requires solid preparation. If you’re looking to write a biography yourself, in this post we’ll share a step-by-step blueprint that you can follow. 

How to write a biography: 

1. Seek permission when possible 

2. research your subject thoroughly, 3. do interviews and visit locations, 4. organize your findings, 5. identify a central thesis, 6. write it using narrative elements, 7. get feedback and polish the text.

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While you technically don’t need permission to write about public figures (or deceased ones), that doesn't guarantee their legal team won't pursue legal action against you. Author Kitty Kelley was sued by Frank Sinatra before she even started to write His Way , a biography that paints Ol Blue Eyes in a controversial light. (Kelley ended up winning the lawsuit, however).  

best person to write a biography on

Whenever feasible, advise the subject’s representatives of your intentions. If all goes according to plan, you’ll get a green light to proceed, or potentially an offer to collaborate. It's a matter of common sense; if someone were to write a book about you, you would likely want to know about it well prior to publication. So, make a sincere effort to reach out to their PR staff to negotiate an agreement or at least a mutual understanding of the scope of your project. 

At the same time, make sure that you still retain editorial control over the project, and not end up writing a puff piece that treats its protagonist like a saint or hero. No biography can ever be entirely objective, but you should always strive for a portrayal that closely aligns with facts and reality.

If you can’t get an answer from your subject, or you’re asked not to proceed forward, you can still accept the potential repercussions and write an unauthorized biography . The “rebellious act” of publishing without consent indeed makes for great marketing, though it’ll likely bring more headaches with it too. 

✋ Please note that, like other nonfiction books, if you intend to release your biography with a publishing house , you can put together a book proposal to send to them before you even write the book. If they like it enough, they might pay you an advance to write it.  

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Book Proposal Template

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Once you’ve settled (or not) the permission part, it’s time to dive deep into your character’s story.  

Deep and thorough research skills are the cornerstone of every biographer worth their salt. To paint a vivid and accurate portrait of someone's life, you’ll have to gather qualitative information from a wide range of reliable sources. 

Start with the information already available, from books on your subject to archival documents, then collect new ones firsthand by interviewing people or traveling to locations. 

Browse the web and library archives

Illustration of a biographer going into research mode.

Put your researcher hat on and start consuming any piece on your subject you can find, from their Wikipedia page to news articles, interviews, TV and radio appearances, YouTube videos, podcasts, books, magazines, and any other media outlets they may have been featured in. 

Establish a system to orderly collect the information you find 一 even seemingly insignificant details can prove valuable during the writing process, so be sure to save them. 

Depending on their era, you may find most of the information readily available online, or you may need to search through university libraries for older references. 

Photo of Alexander Hamilton

For his landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow spent untold hours at Columbia University’s library , reading through the Hamilton family papers, visiting the New York Historical Society, as well as interviewing the archivist of the New York Stock Exchange, and so on. The research process took years, but it certainly paid off. Chernow discovered that Hamilton created the first five securities originally traded on Wall Street. This finding, among others, revealed his significant contributions to shaping the current American financial and political systems, a legacy previously often overshadowed by other founding fathers. Today Alexander Hamilton is one of the best-selling biographies of all time, and it has become a cultural phenomenon with its own dedicated musical. 

Besides reading documents about your subject, research can help you understand the world that your subject lived in. 

Try to understand their time and social environment

Many biographies show how their protagonists have had a profound impact on society through their philosophical, artistic, or scientific contributions. But at the same time, it’s worth it as a biographer to make an effort to understand how their societal and historical context influenced their life’s path and work.

An interesting example is Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World . Finding himself limited by a lack of verified detail surrounding William Shakespeare's personal life, Greenblatt, instead, employs literary interpretation and imaginative reenactments to transport readers back to the Elizabethan era. The result is a vivid (though speculative) depiction of the playwright's life, enriching our understanding of his world.

Painting of William Shakespeare in colors

Many readers enjoy biographies that transport them to a time and place, so exploring a historical period through the lens of a character can be entertaining in its own right. The Diary of Samuel Pepys became a classic not because people were enthralled by his life as an administrator, but rather from his meticulous and vivid documentation of everyday existence during the Restoration period.

Once you’ve gotten your hands on as many secondary sources as you can find, you’ll want to go hunting for stories first-hand from people who are (or were) close to your subject.

With all the material you’ve been through, by now you should already have a pretty good picture of your protagonist. But you’ll surely have some curiosities and missing dots in their character arc to figure out, which you can only get by interviewing primary sources.

Interview friends and associates

This part is more relevant if your subject is contemporary, and you can actually meet up or call with relatives, friends, colleagues, business partners, neighbors, or any other person related to them. 

In writing the popular biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson interviewed more than one hundred people, including Jobs’s family, colleagues, former college mates, business rivals, and the man himself.

🔍 Read other biographies to get a sense of what makes a great one. Check out our list of the 30 best biographies of all time , or take our 30-second quiz below for tips on which one you should read next. 

Which biography should you read next?

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When you conduct your interviews, make sure to record them with high quality audio you can revisit later. Then use tools like Otter.ai or Descript to transcribe them 一 it’ll save you countless hours. 

You can approach the interview with a specific set of questions, or follow your curiosity blindly, trying to uncover revealing stories and anecdotes about your subject. Whatever your method, author and biography editor Tom Bromley suggests that every interviewer arrives prepared, "Show that you’ve done your work. This will help to put the interviewee at ease, and get their best answers.” 

Bromley also places emphasis on the order in which you conduct interviews. “You may want to interview different members of the family or friends first, to get their perspective on something, and then go directly to the main interviewee. You'll be able to use that knowledge to ask sharper, more specific questions.” 

Finally, consider how much time you have with each interviewee. If you only have a 30-minute phone call with an important person, make it count by asking directly the most pressing questions you have. And, if you find a reliable source who is also particularly willing to help, conduct several interviews and ask them, if appropriate, to write a foreword as part of the book’s front matter .

Sometimes an important part of the process is packing your bags, getting on a plane, and personally visiting significant places in your character’s journey.

Visit significant places in their life

A place, whether that’s a city, a rural house, or a bodhi tree, can carry a particular energy that you can only truly experience by being there. In putting the pieces together about someone’s life, it may be useful to go visit where they grew up, or where other significant events of their lives happened. It will be easier to imagine what they experienced, and better tell their story. 

In researching The Lost City of Z , author David Grann embarked on a trek through the Amazon, retracing the steps of British explorer Percy Fawcett. This led Grann to develop new theories about the circumstances surrounding the explorer's disappearance.

Still from the movie The Lost City of Z in which the explorer is surrounded by an Amazon native tribe

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with jaguars and anacondas to better understand your subject’s environment, but try to walk into their shoes as much as possible. 

Once you’ve researched your character enough, it’s time to put together all the puzzle pieces you collected so far. 

Take the bulk of notes, media, and other documents you’ve collected, and start to give them some order and structure. A simple way to do this is by creating a timeline. 

Create a chronological timeline

It helps to organize your notes chronologically 一 from childhood to the senior years, line up the most significant events of your subject’s life, including dates, places, names and other relevant bits. 

Timeline of Steve Jobs' career

You should be able to divide their life into distinct periods, each with their unique events and significance. Based on that, you can start drafting an outline of the narrative you want to create.  

Draft a story outline 

Since a biography entails writing about a person’s entire life, it will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can pick where you want to end the story, depending on how consequential the last years of your subject were. But the nature of the work will give you a starting character arc to work with. 

To outline the story then, you could turn to the popular Three-Act Structure , which divides the narrative in three main parts. In a nutshell, you’ll want to make sure to have the following:

  • Act 1. Setup : Introduce the protagonist's background and the turning points that set them on a path to achieve a goal. 
  • Act 2. Confrontation : Describe the challenges they encounter, both internal and external, and how they rise to them. Then..
  • Act 3. Resolution : Reach a climactic point in their story in which they succeed (or fail), showing how they (and the world around them) have changed as a result. 

Only one question remains before you begin writing: what will be the main focus of your biography?

Think about why you’re so drawn to your subject to dedicate years of your life to recounting their own. What aspect of their life do you want to highlight? Is it their evil nature, artistic genius, or visionary mindset? And what evidence have you got to back that up? Find a central thesis or focus to weave as the main thread throughout your narrative. 

Cover of Hitler and Stalin by Alan Bullock

Or find a unique angle

If you don’t have a particular theme to explore, finding a distinct angle on your subject’s story can also help you distinguish your work from other biographies or existing works on the same subject.

Plenty of biographies have been published about The Beatles 一 many of which have different focuses and approaches: 

  • Philip Norman's Shout is sometimes regarded as leaning more towards a pro-Lennon and anti-McCartney stance, offering insights into the band's inner dynamics. 
  • Ian McDonald's Revolution in the Head closely examines their music track by track, shifting the focus back to McCartney as a primary creative force. 
  • Craig Brown's One Two Three Four aims to capture their story through anecdotes, fan letters, diary entries, and interviews. 
  • Mark Lewisohn's monumental three-volume biography, Tune In , stands as a testament to over a decade of meticulous research, chronicling every intricate detail of the Beatles' journey.

Group picture of The Beatles

Finally, consider that biographies are often more than recounting the life of a person. Similar to how Dickens’ Great Expectations is not solely about a boy named Pip (but an examination and critique of Britain’s fickle, unforgiving class system), a biography should strive to illuminate a broader truth — be it social, political, or human — beyond the immediate subject of the book. 

Once you’ve identified your main focus or angle, it’s time to write a great story. 

Illustration of a writer mixing storytelling ingredients

While biographies are often highly informative, they do not have to be dry and purely expository in nature . You can play with storytelling elements to make it an engaging read. 

You could do that by thoroughly detailing the setting of the story , depicting the people involved in the story as fully-fledged characters , or using rising action and building to a climax when describing a particularly significant milestone of the subject’s life. 

One common way to make a biography interesting to read is starting on a strong foot…

Hook the reader from the start

Just because you're honoring your character's whole life doesn't mean you have to begin when they said their first word. Starting from the middle or end of their life can be more captivating as it introduces conflicts and stakes that shaped their journey.

When he wrote about Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild , author Jon Krakauer didn’t open his subject’s childhood and abusive family environment. Instead, the book begins with McCandless hitchhiking his way into the wilderness, and subsequently being discovered dead in an abandoned bus. By starting in medias res , Krakauer hooks the reader’s interest, before tracing back the causes and motivations that led McCandless to die alone in that bus in the first place.

Chris McCandless self-portrait in front of the now iconic bus

You can bend the timeline to improve the reader’s reading experience throughout the rest of the story too…

Play with flashback 

While biographies tend to follow a chronological narrative, you can use flashbacks to tell brief stories or anecdotes when appropriate. For example, if you were telling the story of footballer Lionel Messi, before the climax of winning the World Cup with Argentina, you could recall when he was just 13 years old, giving an interview to a local newspaper, expressing his lifelong dream of playing for the national team. 

Used sparsely and intentionally, flashbacks can add more context to the story and keep the narrative interesting. Just like including dialogue does…

Reimagine conversations

Recreating conversations that your subject had with people around them is another effective way to color the story. Dialogue helps the reader imagine the story like a movie, providing a deeper sensory experience. 

best person to write a biography on

One thing is trying to articulate the root of Steve Jobs’ obsession with product design, another would be to quote his father , teaching him how to build a fence when he was young: “You've got to make the back of the fence just as good looking as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know. And that will show that you're dedicated to making something perfect.”

Unlike memoirs and autobiographies, in which the author tells the story from their personal viewpoint and enjoys greater freedom to recall conversations, biographies require a commitment to facts. So, when recreating dialogue, try to quote directly from reliable sources like personal diaries, emails, and text messages. You could also use your interview scripts as an alternative to dialogue. As Tom Bromley suggests, “If you talk with a good amount of people, you can try to tell the story from their perspective, interweaving different segments and quoting the interviewees directly.”

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These are just some of the story elements you can use to make your biography more compelling. Once you’ve finished your manuscript, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback. 

If you’re going to self-publish your biography, you’ll have to polish it to professional standards. After leaving your work to rest for a while, look at it with fresh eyes and self-edit your manuscript eliminating passive voice, filler words, and redundant adverbs. 

Illustration of an editor reviewing a manuscript

Then, have a professional editor give you a general assessment. They’ll look at the structure and shape of your manuscript and tell you which parts need to be expanded on or cut. As someone who edited and commissioned several biographies, Tom Bromley points out that a professional “will look at the sources used and assess whether they back up the points made, or if more are needed. They would also look for context, and whether or not more background information is needed for the reader to understand the story fully. And they might check your facts, too.”  

In addition to structural editing, you may want to have someone copy-edit and proofread your work.

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Importantly, make sure to include a bibliography with a list of all the interviews, documents, and sources used in the writing process. You’ll have to compile it according to a manual of style, but you can easily create one by using tools like EasyBib . Once the text is nicely polished and typeset in your writing software , you can prepare for the publication process.  

In conclusion, by mixing storytelling elements with diligent research, you’ll be able to breathe life into a powerful biography that immerses readers in another individual’s life experience. Whether that’ll spark inspiration or controversy, remember you could have an important role in shaping their legacy 一 and that’s something not to take lightly. 

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How to Write a Biography

Last Updated: May 14, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,842,197 times.

Writing a biography can be a fun challenge, where you are sharing the story of someone’s life with readers. You may need to write a biography for a class or decide to write one as a personal project. Once you have identified the subject of the biography, do your research so you know as much about them as possible. Then, dive into the writing of the biography and revising it until it is at its finest.

Researching Your Subject

Step 1 Ask the subject for permission to write the biography.

  • If the subject does not give you permission to write the biography, you may want to choose a different subject. If you decide to publish the biography without the subject’s permission, you may be susceptible to legal action by the subject.
  • If the subject is no longer alive, you obviously do not need to ask permission to write about them.

Step 2 Look for primary sources about the subject.

  • You may create research questions to help focus your research of the subject, such as, What do I find interesting about the subject? Why is this subject important to readers? What can I say that is new about the subject? What would I like to learn more about?

Step 3 Conduct interviews with the subject and those close to them.

  • For in person interviews, record them with a tape recorder or a voice recorder on your computer or phone.
  • You may need to interview the subject and others several times to get the material you need.

Step 4 Visit locations that are important to the subject.

  • You may also want to visit areas where the subject made a major decision or breakthrough in their life. Being physically in the area can give you a sense of how the subject might have felt and help you write their experiences more effectively.

Step 5 Study the time and place of the subject’s life.

  • When researching the time period ask yourself: What were the social norms of that time? What was going on economically and politically? How did the social and political climate affect the subject?

Step 6 Make a timeline of the person’s life.

  • You may also include historical events or moments that affected the subject on the timeline. For example, maybe there was a conflict or civil war that happened during the person’s life that affected their life.

Writing the Biography

Step 1 Go for a chronological structure.

  • You may end up focusing on particular areas of the person’s life. If you do this, work through a particular period in the person’s life chronologically.

Step 2 Create a thesis for the biography.

  • For example, you may have a thesis statement about focusing on how the person impacted the civil rights movement in America in the 1970s. You can then make sure all your content relates back to this thesis.

Step 3 Use flashbacks.

  • Flashbacks should feel as detailed and real as present day scenes. Use your research notes and interviews with the subject to get a good sense of their past for the flashbacks.
  • For example, you may jump from the person’s death in the present to a flashback to their favorite childhood memory.

Step 4 Focus on major events and milestones.

  • For example, you may focus on the person’s accomplishments in the civil rights movement. You may write a whole section about their contributions and participation in major civil rights marches in their hometown.

Step 5 Identify a major theme or pattern in the person’s life.

  • For example, you may notice that the person’s life is patterned with moments of adversity, where the person worked hard and fought against larger forces. You can then use the theme of overcoming adversity in the biography.

Step 6 Include your own opinions and thoughts about the person.

  • For example, you may note how you see parallels in the person’s life during the civil rights movement with your own interests in social justice. You may also commend the person for their hard work and positive impact on society.

Polishing the Biography

Step 1 Show the biography to others for feedback.

  • Revise the biography based on feedback from others. Do not be afraid to cut or edit down the biography to suit the needs of your readers.

Step 2 Proofread the biography.

  • Having a biography riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors can turn off your readers and result in a poor grade if you are handing in the text for a class.

Step 3 Cite all sources...

  • If the biography is for a class, use MLA, APA, or Chicago Style citations based on the preferences of your instructor.

Biography Help

best person to write a biography on

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Be careful when publishing private or embarrassing information, especially if the person is not a celebrity. You may violate their "Right of Privacy" or equivalent. Thanks Helpful 30 Not Helpful 5
  • Have the sources to back up your statements about the subject's life. Untruthful written statements can lead to litigation. If it is your opinion, be clear that it is such and not fact (although you can support your opinion with facts). Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 15

best person to write a biography on

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Write an Autobiography

  • ↑ http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/writing/how-to-write-a-biography.html
  • ↑ https://au.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-a-bio
  • ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/writing/how-to-write-a-biography.html
  • ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/3-tips-for-writing-successful-flashbacks
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-bio/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://www.plagiarism.org/article/how-do-i-cite-sources

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

Before you write a biography, gather as much information about the subject that you can from sources like newspaper articles, interviews, photos, existing biographies, and anything else you can find. Write the story of that person’s life, including as much supporting detail as you can, including information about the place and time where the person lived. Focus on major events and milestones in their life, including historical events, marriage, children, and events which would shape their path later in life. For tips from our reviewer on proofreading the biography and citing your sources, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Biography

best person to write a biography on

Biographies are big business. Whether in book form or Hollywood biopics, the lives of the famous and sometimes not-so-famous fascinate us.

While it’s true that most biographies are about people who are in the public eye, sometimes the subject is less well-known. Mostly though, famous or not, the person who is written about has led a life that is in some way incredible.

While your students will most likely have a basic understanding of a biography, it’s worth taking a little time before they put pen to paper to tease out a crystal clear definition of a biography.

Visual Writing Prompts

What Is a Biography?

how to write a biography | how to start an autobiography | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

Simply put, a biography is an account of someone’s life written by someone else . While there is a genre known as a fictional biography, for the most part, biographies are, by definition, nonfiction.

Generally speaking, biographies provide an account of the subject’s life from the earliest days of their childhood right up to the present day or their death if the subject is deceased.

The job of a biography is more than just to outline the bare facts of a person’s life.

Rather than just listing the basic details of their upbringing, hobbies, education, work, relationships, and death, a well-written biography should also paint a picture of the subject’s personality, and as well as their experience of life.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING BIOGRAPHIES

how to write a biography | biography and autobiography writing unit 1 | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to write AMAZING BIOGRAPHIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES using proven RESEARCH SKILLS and WRITING STRATEGIES .

  • Understand the purpose of both forms of biography.
  • Explore the language and perspective of both.
  • Prompts and Challenges to engage students in writing a biography.
  • Dedicated lessons for both forms of biography.
  • Biographical Projects can expand students’ understanding of reading and writing a biography.
  • A COMPLETE 82-PAGE UNIT – NO PREPARATION REQUIRED.

What Are the Main Features of a Biography?

Before students begin writing a biography, they’ll need to have a firm grasp of the main features of the genre. A good way to determine how well they understand these essential elements of the genre is by asking them to compile a checklist.

At a minimum, their checklists should contain the items below. Be sure to help them fill in any gaps before moving on to the writing process.

The purpose of a biography is to provide an account of someone’s life.

Biography structure.

ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Open your biography with a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention

SEQUENCING: In most cases, biographies are written in chronological order unless you are a very competent writer consciously trying to break from this trend.

COVER: childhood, upbringing, education, influences, accomplishments, relationships, etc. – everything that helps the reader to understand the person.

CONCLUSION: Wrap your biography up with some details about what the subject is doing now if they are still alive. If they have passed away, make mention of what impact they have made and what their legacy is or will be.

BIOGRAPHY FEATURES

LANGUAGE Use descriptive and figurative language that will paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read. Use time connectives to link events.

PERSPECTIVE Biographies are written from the third person’s perspective.

DETAILS: Give specific details about people, places, events, times, dates, etc. Reflect on how events shaped the subject. You might want to include some relevant photographs with captions. A timeline may also be of use depending upon your subject and what you are trying to convey to your audience.

TENSE Written in the past tense (though ending may shift to the present/future tense)

THE PROCESS OF WRITING A BIOGRAPHY

Like any form of writing, you will find it simple if you have a plan and follow it through. These steps will ensure you cover the essential bases of writing a biography essay.

Firstly, select a subject that inspires you. Someone whose life story resonates with you and whose contribution to society intrigues you. The next step is to conduct thorough research. Engage in extensive reading, explore various sources, watch documentaries, and glean all available information to provide a comprehensive account of the person’s life.

Creating an outline is essential to organize your thoughts and information. The outline should include the person’s early life, education, career, achievements, and any other significant events or contributions. It serves as a map for the writing process, ensuring that all vital information is included.

Your biography should have an engaging introduction that captivates the reader’s attention and provides background information on the person you’re writing about. It should include a thesis statement that summarizes the main points of the biography.

Writing a biography in chronological order is crucial . You should begin with the person’s early life and move through their career and achievements. This approach provides clarity on how the person’s life unfolded and how they accomplished their goals.

A biography should be written in a narrative style , capturing the essence of the person’s life through vivid descriptions, anecdotes, and quotes. Avoid dry, factual writing and focus on creating a compelling narrative that engages the reader.

Adding personal insights and opinions can enhance the biography’s overall impact, providing a unique perspective on the person’s achievements, legacy, and impact on society.

Editing and proofreading are vital elements of the writing process. Thoroughly reviewing your biography ensures that the writing is clear, concise, and error-free. You can even request feedback from someone else to ensure that it is engaging and well-written.

Finally, including a bibliography at the end of your biography is essential. It gives credit to the sources that were used during research, such as books, articles, interviews, and websites.

Tips for Writing a Brilliant Biography

Biography writing tip #1: choose your subject wisely.

There are several points for students to reflect on when deciding on a subject for their biography. Let’s take a look at the most essential points to consider when deciding on the subject for a biography:

Interest: To produce a biography will require sustained writing from the student. That’s why students must choose their subject well. After all, a biography is an account of someone’s entire life to date. Students must ensure they choose a subject that will sustain their interest throughout the research, writing, and editing processes.

Merit: Closely related to the previous point, students must consider whether the subject merits the reader’s interest. Aside from pure labors of love, writing should be undertaken with the reader in mind. While producing a biography demands sustained writing from the author, it also demands sustained reading from the reader.

Therefore, students should ask themselves if their chosen subject has had a life worthy of the reader’s interest and the time they’d need to invest in reading their biography.

Information: Is there enough information available on the subject to fuel the writing of an entire biography? While it might be a tempting idea to write about a great-great-grandfather’s experience in the war. There would be enough interest there to sustain the author’s and the reader’s interest, but do you have enough access to information about their early childhood to do the subject justice in the form of a biography?

Biography Writing Tip #2: R esearch ! Research! Research!

While the chances are good that the student already knows quite a bit about the subject they’ve chosen. Chances are 100% that they’ll still need to undertake considerable research to write their biography.

As with many types of writing , research is an essential part of the planning process that shouldn’t be overlooked. If a student wishes to give as complete an account of their subject’s life as possible, they’ll need to put in the time at the research stage.

An effective way to approach the research process is to:

1. Compile a chronological timeline of the central facts, dates, and events of the subject’s life

2. Compile detailed descriptions of the following personal traits:

  •      Physical looks
  •      Character traits
  •      Values and beliefs

3. Compile some research questions based on different topics to provide a focus for the research:

  • Childhood : Where and when were they born? Who were their parents? Who were the other family members? What education did they receive?
  • Obstacles: What challenges did they have to overcome? How did these challenges shape them as individuals?
  • Legacy: What impact did this person have on the world and/or the people around them?
  • Dialogue & Quotes: Dialogue and quotations by and about the subject are a great way to bring color and life to a biography. Students should keep an eagle eye out for the gems that hide amid their sources.

As the student gets deeper into their research, new questions will arise that can further fuel the research process and help to shape the direction the biography will ultimately go in.

Likewise, during the research, themes will often begin to suggest themselves. Exploring these themes is essential to bring depth to biography, but we’ll discuss this later in this article.

Research Skills:

Researching for biography writing is an excellent way for students to hone their research skills in general. Developing good research skills is essential for future academic success. Students will have opportunities to learn how to:

  • Gather relevant information
  • Evaluate different information sources
  • Select suitable information
  • Organize information into a text.

Students will have access to print and online information sources, and, in some cases, they may also have access to people who knew or know the subject (e.g. biography of a family member).

These days, much of the research will likely take place online. It’s crucial, therefore, to provide your students with guidance on how to use the internet safely and evaluate online sources for reliability. This is the era of ‘ fake news ’ and misinformation after all!

COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON INTERNET RESEARCH SKILLS USING GOOGLE SEARCH

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Teach your students ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF THE INFORMATION ERA to become expert DIGITAL RESEARCHERS.

⭐How to correctly ask questions to search engines on all devices.

⭐ How to filter and refine your results to find exactly what you want every time.

⭐ Essential Research and critical thinking skills for students.

⭐ Plagiarism, Citing and acknowledging other people’s work.

⭐ How to query, synthesize and record your findings logically.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING Tip #3: Find Your Themes In Biography Writing

Though predominantly a nonfiction genre, the story still plays a significant role in good biography writing. The skills of characterization and plot structuring are transferable here. And, just like in fiction, exploring themes in a biographical work helps connect the personal to the universal. Of course, these shouldn’t be forced; this will make the work seem contrived, and the reader may lose faith in the truthfulness of the account. A biographer needs to gain and maintain the trust of the reader.

Fortunately, themes shouldn’t need to be forced. A life well-lived is full of meaning, and the themes the student writer is looking for will emerge effortlessly from the actions and events of the subject’s life. It’s just a case of learning how to spot them.

One way to identify the themes in a life is to look for recurring events or situations in a person’s life. These should be apparent from the research completed previously. The students should seek to identify these patterns that emerge in the subject’s life. For example, perhaps they’ve had to overcome various obstacles throughout different periods of their life. In that case, the theme of overcoming adversity is present and has been identified.

Usually, a biography has several themes running throughout, so be sure your students work to identify more than one theme in their subject’s life.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING Tip: #4 Put Something of Yourself into the Writing

While the defining feature of a biography is that it gives an account of a person’s life, students must understand that this is not all a biography does. Relating the facts and details of a subject’s life is not enough. The student biographer should not be afraid to share their thoughts and feelings with the reader throughout their account of their subject’s life.

The student can weave some of their personality into the fabric of the text by providing commentary and opinion as they relate the events of the person’s life and the wider social context at the time. Unlike the detached and objective approach we’d expect to find in a history textbook, in a biography, student-writers should communicate their enthusiasm for their subject in their writing.

This makes for a more intimate experience for the reader, as they get a sense of getting to know the author and the subject they are writing about.

Student Examples of Biography Writing

  • Year 5 Example
  • Year 7 Example
  • Year 9 Example

“The Rock ‘n’ Roll King: Elvis Presley”

Elvis Aaron Presley, born on January 8, 1935, was an amazing singer and actor known as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Even though he’s been dead for nearly 50 years, I can’t help but be fascinated by his incredible life!

Elvis grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, in a tiny house with his parents and twin brother. His family didn’t have much money, but they shared a love for music. Little did they know Elvis would become a music legend!

When he was only 11 years old, Elvis got his first guitar. He taught himself to play and loved singing gospel songs. As he got older, he started combining different music styles like country, blues, and gospel to create a whole new sound – that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!

In 1954, at the age of 19, Elvis recorded his first song, “That’s All Right.” People couldn’t believe how unique and exciting his music was. His famous hip-swinging dance moves also made him a sensation!

Elvis didn’t just rock the music scene; he also starred in movies like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock.” But fame came with challenges. Despite facing ups and downs, Elvis kept spreading happiness through his music.

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Tragically, Elvis passed away in 1977, but his music and charisma live on. Even today, people worldwide still enjoy his songs like “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Elvis Presley’s legacy as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will live forever.

Long Live the King: I wish I’d seen him.

Elvis Presley, the Rock ‘n’ Roll legend born on January 8, 1935, is a captivating figure that even a modern-day teen like me can’t help but admire. As I delve into his life, I wish I could have experienced the magic of his live performances.

Growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis faced challenges but found solace in music. At 11, he got his first guitar, a symbol of his journey into the world of sound. His fusion of gospel, country, and blues into Rock ‘n’ Roll became a cultural phenomenon.

The thought of being in the audience during his early performances, especially when he recorded “That’s All Right” at 19, sends shivers down my spine. Imagining the crowd’s uproar and feeling the revolutionary energy of that moment is a dream I wish I could have lived.

Elvis wasn’t just a musical prodigy; he was a dynamic performer. His dance moves, the embodiment of rebellion, and his roles in films like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock” made him a true icon.

After watching him on YouTube, I can’t help but feel a little sad that I’ll never witness the King’s live performances. The idea of swaying to “Hound Dog” or being enchanted by “Can’t Help Falling in Love” in person is a missed opportunity. Elvis may have left us in 1977, but he was the king of rock n’ roll. Long live the King!

Elvis Presley: A Teen’s Take on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Icon”

Elvis Presley, born January 8, 1935, was a revolutionary force in the music world, earning his title as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Exploring his life, even as a 16-year-old today, I’m captivated by the impact he made.

Hailing from Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis grew up in humble beginnings, surrounded by the love of his parents and twin brother. It’s inspiring to think that, despite financial challenges, this young man would redefine the music scene.

At 11, Elvis got his first guitar, sparking a self-taught journey into music. His early gospel influences evolved into a unique fusion of country, blues, and gospel, creating the electrifying genre of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In 1954, at only 19, he recorded “That’s All Right,” marking the birth of a musical legend.

Elvis wasn’t just a musical innovator; he was a cultural phenomenon. His rebellious dance moves and magnetic stage presence challenged the norms. He transitioned seamlessly into acting, starring in iconic films like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock.”

how to write a biography | Elvis Presley promoting Jailhouse Rock | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

However, fame came at a cost, and Elvis faced personal struggles. Despite the challenges, his music continued to resonate. Even now, classics like “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” transcend generations.

Elvis Presley’s impact on music and culture is undeniable. He was known for his unique voice, charismatic persona, and electrifying performances. He sold over one billion records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling solo artists in history. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Elvis’s influence can still be seen in today’s music. Many contemporary artists, such as Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake, have cited Elvis as an inspiration. His music continues to be featured in movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Elvis left us in 1977, but his legacy lives on. I appreciate his breaking barriers and fearlessly embracing his artistic vision. Elvis Presley’s impact on music and culture is timeless, a testament to the enduring power of his artistry. His music has inspired generations and will continue to do so for many years to come.

how to write a biography | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING TEACHING IDEAS AND LESSONS

We have compiled a sequence of biography-related lessons or teaching ideas that you can follow as you please. They are straightforward enough for most students to follow without further instruction.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 1:

This session aims to give students a broader understanding of what makes a good biography.

Once your students have compiled a comprehensive checklist of the main features of a biography, allow them to use it to assess some biographies from your school library or on the internet using the feature checklist.

When students have assessed a selection of biographies, take some time as a class to discuss them. You can base the discussion around the following prompts:

  • Which biographies covered all the criteria from their checklist?
  • Which biographies didn’t?
  • Which biography was the most readable in terms of structure?
  • Which biography do you think was the least well-structured? How would you improve this?

Looking at how other writers have interpreted the form will help students internalize the necessary criteria before attempting to produce a biography. Once students have a clear understanding of the main features of the biography, they’re ready to begin work on writing a biography.

When the time does come to put pen to paper, be sure they’re armed with the following top tips to help ensure they’re as well prepared as possible.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 2:

This session aims to guide students through the process of selecting the perfect biography subject.

Instruct students to draw up a shortlist of three potential subjects for the biography they’ll write.

Using the three criteria mentioned in the writing guide (Interest, Merit, and Information), students award each potential subject a mark out of 5 for each of the criteria. In this manner, students can select the most suitable subject for their biography.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 3:

This session aims to get students into the researching phase and then prioritise events and organise them chronologically.

Students begin by making a timeline of their subject’s life, starting with their birth and ending with their death or the present day. If the student has yet to make a final decision on the subject of their biography, a family member will often serve well for this exercise as a practice exercise.

Students should research and gather the key events of the person’s life, covering each period of their life from when they were a baby, through childhood and adolescence, right up to adulthood and old age. They should then organize these onto a timeline. Students can include photographs with captions if they have them.

They can present these to the class when they have finished their timelines.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 4:

Instruct students to look over their timeline, notes, and other research. Challenge them to identify three patterns that repeat throughout the subject’s life and sort all the related events and incidents into specific categories.

Students should then label each category with a single word. This is the thematic concept or the broad general underlying idea. After that, students should write a sentence or two expressing what the subject’s life ‘says’ about that concept.

This is known as the thematic statement . With the thematic concepts and thematic statements identified, the student now has some substantial ideas to explore that will help bring more profound meaning and wider resonance to their biography.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 5:

Instruct students to write a short objective account of an event in their own life. They can write about anyone from their past. It needn’t be more than a couple of paragraphs, but the writing should be strictly factual, focusing only on the objective details of what happened.

Once they have completed this, it’s time to rewrite the paragraph, but they should include some opinion and personal commentary this time.

The student here aims to inject some color and personality into their writing, to transform a detached, factual account into a warm, engaging story.

Biography Graphic Organizer

Get our FREE Biography Writing Graphic Organizer

Use this valuable tool in the research and writing phases to keep your students on track and engaged.

WRITING CHECKLIST & RUBRIC BUNDLE

writing checklists

To Conclude

By this stage, your students should have an excellent technical overview of a biography’s essential elements.

They should be able to choose their subject in light of how interesting and worthy they are, as well as give consideration to the availability of information out there. They should be able to research effectively and identify emerging themes in their research notes. And finally, they should be able to bring some of their personality and uniqueness into their retelling of the life of another.

Remember that writing a biography is not only a great way to develop a student’s writing skills; it can be used in almost all curriculum areas. For example, to find out more about a historical figure in History, to investigate scientific contributions to Science, or to celebrate a hero from everyday life.

Biography is an excellent genre for students to develop their writing skills and to find inspiration in the lives of others in the world around them.

HOW TO WRITE A BIOGRAPHY TUTORIAL VIDEO

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Personal Narrative Writing Guide

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

27 of the Best Professional Bio Examples I've Ever Seen [+ Templates]

Lindsay Kolowich Cox

Published: December 20, 2023

80+ Professional Bio Templates & Examples

best person to write a biography on

Create a compelling professional narrative for a proper, attention-grabbing introduction.

Thank you for downloading the offer.

As a writer, I have to let readers and potential clients know my expertise, my skills, and why they should work with me or be interested in what I say. So, a professional bio is a must in my industry.

Hands type at a laptop

Though I'm definitely familiar with professional bios, I can admit they can be challenging. What do I include? What do readers need to know?

As daunting as writing a professional bio can be, professional bios are crucial when applying for jobs, seeking new clients, or networking. A professional bio also gives the world a brief snapshot of you and your professional ideals.

If you‘re at a loss for how to write a professional bio that packs a punch, I’ve got you covered. In this journey, tools like HubSpot’s user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder can be instrumental in showcasing your professional bio online with ease and style.

I will walk you through how to write a professional bio that you can proudly publish, provide professional bio templates, and show you the best professional bio examples you can get inspiration from.

→ Download Now: 80 Professional Bio Examples [Free Templates]

What is a professional bio?

Professional bio templates, how to write a professional bio, best professional bio examples, how to write a short bio.

best person to write a biography on

  • LinkedIn Summaries
  • Speaker Intros
  • Website Bios
  • Professional Profile

You're all set!

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Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today:

A professional bio or biography is a short overview of your experience. Professional bios usually include details about education, employment, achievements, and relevant skills.

Purpose of Professional Bios

A bio tells an audience about who you are, what you've done, and what you can do. It can help potential employers, fans, or customers understand your personality and what you stand for.

Writing a bio without a clear starting point is challenging — believe me, I've tried. To ease the process, here are some templates I put together to get you started.

I‘ve found it’s best to keep your professional bio honest and to the point. Too long of a bio, and you risk losing your audience's attention. After all, audiences will only read a web page for less than a minute before clicking elsewhere.

And honesty is key because most consumers and clients won‘t invest in someone or something if it doesn’t seem trustworthy. In fact, 67% of consumers say they must trust a brand before investing in its products or services.

best person to write a biography on

"Plus," she adds, "I'm always happy to talk about my cats at any given moment. You never know when a fellow cat mom could be reading."

Values and Work Approach

Your values can sometimes show your work ethic more effectively than your career path. It can also help you endear yourself to employers and colleagues who want to work with people with similar values.

So don‘t be shy: Share how you incorporate your values into your work. Whether it’s a commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, or ethical decision-making, explain what drives you and be enthusiastic about it.

Your Personality

Remember: Your bio should always include a taste of your personality! Your sense of humor, creativity, or collaborative nature could all give readers a sense of who you are. This helps readers connect with you on a more personal level.

Remember to tailor your bio for different platforms and audiences. Also, keep it concise and impactful while highlighting the most relevant information in each context.

First-Person Bio vs. Third-Person Bio

While first-person bios are common, third-person bios can be more effective in formal situations.

Your decision to write your professional bio in the first or third person depends on your desire to leave a more personable or assertive impression.

Both approaches work, provided you tailor them to your goals and audience. What’s important is to be clear and tell your story in a way that connects with your reader.

How to Write a First-Person Bio

Writing in the first person can be a great way to connect with your audience when building a personal brand. When you write a first-person bio, use "I" or "me" to make yourself relatable and approachable.

Here's one way I’d write a first-person bio:

"I'm a freelance writer specializing in small business content. I've worked with companies in a variety of industries like home care to fine leather goods."

Speaking in the first person here connects you with a client or brand based on your experience and opinions. Put another way, writing a first-person bio is like telling your story to your audience.

Here are a few tips to make your first-person bio great:

Don’t start every sentence with "I."

Showing instead of telling is a great approach.

Let’s say you’re a writer who wants to create a short professional bio. Instead of saying, "I love to write," you can say, "Writer. Bad but enthusiastic dancer."

This portrays your writing skill, shows your personality outside of writing as a dancer, and includes a little sense of humor, which is essential for a writer.

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone.

Adding a back story to your bio helps create context for the roles and successes you write about. Think of it like a case study about who you were, what you are now, and the process that got you to your current position.

Focus on valuable details.

Quick facts about you can showcase your identity and values. For example, if you're writing a bio for LinkedIn, think about how to tie your hobby into what you do.

Let's say Animal Crossing is your hobby. Does it align with your career aspirations? It can be a great addition to your bio if you want to pursue a video game career.

However, if your interests lie elsewhere, including a more relevant hobby is better.

How to Write a Third-Person Bio

Third-person bios sound more authoritative and objective. So, if you’re job searching in a formal industry, applying for grants, or trying to get published, you may want to stick to the third person.

For instance, when you write a third-person bio, you may start with:

"Jasmine Montgomery is a Senior Hiring Manager at L’Oreal based in New York. She recruits across several business units to connect with the brightest talent from around the globe."

By only using your name and pronouns to speak about yourself here, you are letting your title and skill set speak for themselves.

These bios create distance between the subject of the bio (you) and the reader through a third person. This person could be anyone, but they usually speak in a tone emphasizing their expertise.

This makes third-person bios feel aloof or overly formal sometimes.

Ideally, your third-person bio should sound friendly but polished, like a message from a close colleague at work. Here are a few tips on how to write a great third-person bio.

Write from the perspective of someone you know and trust.

It can be challenging to write about yourself, so try to see yourself from the perspective of your favorite person at work or a mentor you trust. This can help you write from a position of authority without feeling self-conscious.

Show the reader why they should trust your opinion.

A professional bio often reflects a specific industry or niche. With this in mind, your text should include relevant details that professionals in your industry know. Avoid jargon whenever you can.

Remember, you're telling a story.

If you want a third-person bio, but you're used to writing in first-person, it may help to write it the most comfortable way for you.

Your professional bio is an essential piece of writing, so edit it carefully. Edit your writing from both points of view and see which works best for your target audience.

Here's how to write a professional bio, step by step.

  • Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.
  • Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.
  • Mention any associated brand name you might use.
  • State your current position and what you do.
  • Include at least one professional accomplishment.
  • Describe your values and how they inform your career.
  • Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.
  • Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.

If you’re anything like me, you probably don't think about your professional bio until you’re asked to "send one over via email."

You have one afternoon to come up with it, so you scramble together a bio that ends up reading like this:

"Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, a CRM platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing."

To be fair, in certain contexts, your professional bio needs to be more formal, like Mr. Erickson's up there. But there are also cases where writing a personable and conversational bio is good.

Whether you choose the formal or casual route, use the following steps to create a perfect bio.

1. Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.

You need an online space to keep your professional bio. Here are a few to consider (some of these you might already have in place):

  • Facebook Business page .
  • Industry blog byline .
  • Instagram account .
  • Personal website .
  • LinkedIn profile .
  • Industry website .
  • Personal blog .

As you'll see in the professional bio examples below, the length and tone of your bio will differ depending on the platforms you use.

Instagram, for example, allows only 150 characters of bio space, whereas you can write as much as you want on your website or Facebook Business page.

2. Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.

If your readers remember nothing else about your bio, they should remember your name. Therefore, it's a good idea for your first and last name to be the first two words of your professional bio.

Even if your name is printed above this bio (hint: it should), this is a rare moment where it's okay to be redundant.

For example, if I were writing my bio, I might start it like this:

Lindsay Kolowich

Lindsay Kolowich is a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot.

3. Mention any associated brand name you might use.

Will your professional bio represent you or a business you work for? Ensure you mention the brand you associate with in your bio. If you're a freelancer, you may have a personal business name or pseudonym you advertise to your clients.

Here are a few examples:

  • Lindsay Kolowich Marketing.
  • SEO Lindsay.
  • Kolowich Consulting.
  • Content by Kolowich (what do you think ... too cheesy?).

Maybe you founded your own company and want its name to be separate from your real name. Keep it simple like this: "Lindsay Kolowich is the founder and CEO of Kolowich Consulting."

4. State your current position and what you do.

Whether you're the author of a novel or a mid-level specialist, use the following few lines of your bio to describe what you do in that position. Refrain from assuming your audience knows what your job title entails.

Make your primary responsibilities known so readers can know you and understand what you offer to your industry.

5. Include at least one professional accomplishment.

Just as a business touts its client successes through case studies, your professional bio should let your audience know what you've achieved.

What have you done for yourself — as well as for others — that makes you a valuable player in your industry?

6. Describe your values and how they inform your career.

Why do you do what you do? What might make your contribution to the market different from your colleagues? What are the values that make your business a worthwhile investment to others?

Create a professional bio that answers these questions.

7. Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.

Transition from describing your values in work to defining who you are outside of work. This may include:

  • Your family.
  • Your hometown.
  • Sports you play.
  • Hobbies and interests.
  • Favorite music and travel destinations.
  • Side hustles you're working on.

People like connecting with other people. The more transparent you are about who you are personally, the more likable you'll be to people reading about you.

8. Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.

End your professional bio on a good or, more specifically, a funny note. By leaving your audience with something quirky or unique, you can ensure they'll leave your website with a pleasant impression of you.

Following the steps above when writing your bio is important, but take your time with one section. People consume lots of information daily. So ensure your bio hooks 'em in the first line, and you won’t lose them.

(P.S. Want to boost your professional brand? Take one of HubSpot Academy's free certification courses . In just one weekend, you can add a line to your resume and bio that over 60,000 marketers covet.)

Why Good Bios Are Important for a Professional

You may think, "How many people read professional bios, anyway?"

The answer: A lot. Though there's no way to tell who is reading it, you want it catchy. Your professional bio will delight the right people coming across it on multiple platforms.

Professional bios can live on your LinkedIn profile , company website, guest posts, speaker profiles, Twitter bio , Instagram bio , and many other places.

And most importantly, it‘s the tool you can leverage most when you’re networking.

Bottom line? People will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it or it makes them care about you is a matter of how well you present yourself to your intended audience.

So, what does a top-notch professional bio look like? Let‘s review a few sample bios for professionals like you and me. Then, we’ll cover bio examples from some of the best people in the industry.

Short Sample Bios

Your bio doesn't have to be complicated. Here are five samples to glean inspiration from.

Example 1: Friendly Sample Bio

"Hey! My name is Ryan, and I'm a marketing specialist passionate about digital advertising. I have five years of experience managing various online campaigns and improving brand visibility for clients across multiple verticals. I love analyzing consumer behavior and leveraging data-driven strategies to maximize ROI. Outside work, I enjoy traveling, taking funny photos, and exploring new hiking trails."

Example 2: Mid-Career Sample Bio

"Jennifer Patel is a versatile graphic designer known for her creative approach and attention to detail. With a background in visual arts and eight years of experience, Jennifer has worked on diverse projects ranging from logo designs to website layouts. Her ability to understand and translate client needs into visually striking designs sets her apart. Jennifer finds inspiration in nature, music, and pop culture."

Example 3: Sales Sample Bio

"I'm a seasoned sales executive with a track record of exceeding targets and building strong client relationships. With a background in B2B sales, I've built a natural ability to understand customer needs and consistently exceed quota every month. I pride myself in my communication skills and strategic approaches, which have helped me thrive in highly competitive markets such as SaaS sales. Outside work, I enjoy playing basketball and volunteering at local charities."

Example 4: HR Sample Bio

"I am a dedicated human resources professional with a passion for fostering a positive workplace culture and facilitating employee development. With eight years of experience in talent acquisition and HR operations, I've played a key role in building high-performing teams. I'm known for my strong interpersonal skills and ability to create inclusive and supportive work environments. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga and exploring new culinary experiences."

Example 5: Software Engineer Sample Bio

"David Chang is a senior software engineer specializing in backend development. With a strong background in computer science and six years of experience, David has successfully built scalable and efficient solutions for complex technical challenges. He is well-versed in various programming languages and frameworks like C++, Java, and Ruby on Rails. In his spare time, David enjoys reading science fiction novels and playing the guitar."

Below, we've curated some of the best professional bio examples we've ever seen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the various places you might describe yourself.

Check 'em out and use them as inspiration when crafting your own.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Author
  • Chima Mmeje: SEO Content Writer
  • DJ Nexus: DJ
  • Lena Axelsson: Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Mark Levy: Branding Firm Founder
  • Audra Simpson: Political Anthropologist
  • Marie Mikhail: Professional Recruiter
  • Wonbo Woo: Executive Producer
  • Chris Burkard: Freelance Photographer
  • Lisa Quine: Creative Consultant
  • Nancy Twine: Hair Care Founder
  • Trinity Mouzon: Wellness Brand Founder
  • Alberto Perez: Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness
  • Ann Handley: Writer and Marketer

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie : Author

Bio platform: personal website.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie begins her professional bio with an invitation to her roots.

In a few paragraphs, she describes when and where she was born, her family, her education, her honorary degrees, and the depth of her work, which has been translated into 30 languages and several publications.

best person to write a biography on

She can keep readers engaged by leading with a powerful hook that aligns with her target audience’s marketing needs.

best person to write a biography on
  • There’s clarity about who Chima serves.
  • The hook is bold, catchy, and compels anyone to read further.
  • Including client results makes clients visualize what they can expect.

3. DJ Nexus : DJ

Bio platform: facebook.

This New England-based DJ has single-handedly captured the Likes of over 2,000 people in and beyond Boston, MA. And even if you don‘t listen to the type of music he produces, it’s hard not to read his compelling Facebook bio.

For instance, consider his tagline, under "About" — " Quiet during the day. QUITE LOUD at night! " DJ Nexus tells you when he works awesomely. I got goosebumps just imagining a dance club where he might play music.

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

The second is the "long version," which is even more interesting than the first. Why? It reads like a story — a compelling one, at that. In fact, it gets hilarious in some parts.

The second sentence of the bio reads: "He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books."

Here's another excerpt from the middle:

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

It's a well-put value proposition that sets her apart from the rest of the HR industry.

Marie concludes her bio with a smooth mix of professional skills, like her Spanish fluency, and personal interests, such as podcasting and Star Wars (she mentions the latter with just the right amount of humor).

  • Straight off the bat, Marie uses a story to share her experiences of how she began as a recruiter.
  • It provides a subtle pitch for readers to check out her podcast.
  • The bio exudes Maries approachable, fun, and playful personality.

8. Wonbo Woo : Executive Producer

Wonbo Woo is the executive producer of WIRED's video content and has several impressive credits to his name. What does this mean for his professional bio? He has to prioritize.

With this in mind, Wonbo opens his bio with the most eye-catching details first (if the image below is hard to read, click it to see the full copy ).

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

I wouldn‘t necessarily be inclined to follow Chris if his bio had simply read, "I post beautiful images." But images that inspire me to travel? Now that’s something I can get behind.

Last, he ends on a humble, sweet note: "He is happiest with his wife Breanne raising their two sons." So inject personal information into your bio — it makes you seem approachable.

  • It highlights Chris’s achievement without bragging.
  • The last sentence portrays Chris as a responsible man who loves his family.
  • The well-written bio speaks to nature lovers who like the outdoors, surfing, and more. This gives them reasons to follow Chris.

10. Lisa Quine : Creative Consultant

Bio platform: portfolio website.

Creative professionals who specialize in visual art may find it challenging to balance the writing of their bio and displaying of their portfolio. Not Lisa Quine. Lisa has an exceptional balance of her professional bio and creative work.

Throughout her bio, you'll notice the number of murals she's completed and a brief timeline of her career. This helps her paint the picture of who she is as a professional.

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The rest of her bio similarly focuses on Twine's strengths as someone who’s able to take hair care "back to basics."

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Mouzon effectively grips the reader's attention with this introduction and then dives into some of her impressive accomplishments — including a brand now sold at Urban Outfitters and Target.

The language used throughout Mouzon's bio is authentic, real, and honest.

For instance, in the second paragraph, she admits:

"While building a brand may have looked effortless from the outside, starting a business at age 23 with no resources or funding quickly forced me to realize that early-stage entrepreneurship was anything but transparent."

best person to write a biography on

As an avid Zumba fan, I was excited to include this one. Perez styles his LinkedIn bio as a short story, starting with his background as a hard-working teen who held three jobs by age 14.

His bio tells the fun and fascinating origin story of Zumba, in which Perez, an aerobics teacher in Florida at the time, forgot his music for class and used a Latin music cassette tape instead ... "And it was an instant hit!"

His bio continues:

"Shortly after he was connected to Alberto Periman and Alberto Aghion, and Zumba was officially created ... What started as a dream now has 15 million people in more than 200,000 locations in 186 countries who take Zumba classes every week."

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

There's something in there for everyone.

  • The last section of the bio shows Ann’s warm personality — "Ann lives in Boston, where she is Mom to creatures two- and four-legged."
  • Written in the third person, this bio has lots of proof (like followers), which shows Ann is a terrific marketing leader.

If you're posting a bio on a social media account or sending a quick blurb to a client, you want to keep it short and sweet while showcasing your accomplishments.

To get started, use these best practices for writing your short professional bio:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • State what you do.
  • Add key skills or areas of expertise.
  • Include a personal mission statement
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Provide your contact information.
  • Show them your personality.

1. Introduce yourself.

Your introduction is your first impression, so always begin by telling people who you are. You may start with a greeting like, "Hello, my name is" or "Hi! Let me first introduce myself …" when sending your bio as a message.

If you’re writing a bio for an online platform, stating your name at the beginning works as well.

Leading with your name — even as a question — is important for recognition and building relationships.

2. State what you do.

Give people an idea of what you do daily and where you work. Your job title is how the people put you into context and consider whether your profession relates to their industry.

So detail your most relevant work in your short bios, like CEO, professor, and author.

Take a cue from Angela Duckworth , who specifies what she does in her LinkedIn bio:

best person to write a biography on

3. Add key skills or areas of expertise.

If you send a bio to a client or potential employer, highlight your most valuable skills. For instance, if your expertise is in social media marketing and content creation, like Ivanka Dekoning , list these skills.

best person to write a biography on
  • A joke. "Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. At least that’s what I learned when I created…"
  • Mention a hobby. "I’ll be honest: for me, tennis is life — Go Nadal!"
  • A fun fact. "Every year, I watch 100 new films! I’m a cinephile and love every movie genre."
  • A few emojis related to your interests. "🎶🤖🎾🎬🎭"

Whichever way you choose to get personal, give people a glimpse into who you are as an individual.

When writing a short bio, it can be tempting to pack in as much relevant information about yourself as possible — but this isn’t the most effective approach.

Instead, focus on including the details that you and your audience care about most and leave out the fluff.

Let's dive into a few examples of short professional bios.

Short Professional Bio Examples

  • Tristen Taylor: Marketing Manager
  • Lianna Patch: Copywriter
  • Precious Oboidhe: Content Strategist and Writer
  • Rebecca Bollwitt: Writer
  • Megan Gilmore: Cookbook Author
  • Bea Dixon: Feminine Care Founder
  • Tammy Hembrow: Instagram Influencer
  • Dr. Cody: Chiropractor
  • Larry Kim: Founder
  • Dharmesh Shah: Founder and CTO
  • Lily Ugbaja: Content Strategist
  • Ian Anderson Gray: Marketer
  • Van Jones: Political Commentator, Author, and Lawyer

1. Tristen Taylor: Marketing Manager

Bio platform: blog byline.

Tristen Taylor is a Marketing Manager here at HubSpot. She's written content for HubSpot's Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service blogs; her blog author bio is one of my favorites.

What I love most about Tristen's bio is that it’s a great example of how to deliver information about yourself that is relevant to your work while also sharing fun details that audiences will find relatable.

Her bio reads:

"Building from her experience with GoCo.io and Southwest Airlines, Tristen's work has been recognized by Marketing Brew and BLACK@INBOUND. She lives in Washington, DC, attending anime conventions and painting in her free time."

best person to write a biography on

best person to write a biography on

5. Megan Gilmore : Cookbook Author

Bio platform: instagram.

Megan Gilmore is a best-selling cookbook author. She often posts healthy recipes on her Instagram page and inspires her followers to learn not to sacrifice taste for the sake of health.

best person to write a biography on

Gilmore further includes a CTA link within her Instagram bio that leads followers to free, ready-to-use recipes. You might think, " Why would she do that since it discourages people from buying her book?"

But that couldn't be further from the truth.

By giving her followers the chance to try out her recipes, she's slowly turning leads into customers. After I tried a few of her Instagram recipes and loved them, I bought her book, knowing I'd like more of what she offered.

  • The bio is short and direct.
  • The CTA link includes an invitation for people to join her newsletter. Meaning, she can build her email list.

6. Bea Dixon : Feminine Care Founder

Bea Dixon, Founder and CEO of The Honey Pot Company, efficiently uses the space on her Instagram profile to highlight who she is as a well-rounded human — not just a businesswoman.

For instance, while she highlights her girl boss attitude with a tiara emoji, she equally calls attention to her fashion interests (Free People), her pets, Boss and Sadie, and her love for ramen noodles.

best person to write a biography on

What more do you need to know?

Ian doesn't take his bio too seriously but uses every character to highlight everything about him.

He includes his skills as a marketer and podcast host, who he is outside work as a dad, and what he can help you do. His smiles also give the bio a sense of humor and realness.

best person to write a biography on

Don't forget to share this post!

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7 Killer Tips for How to Write a Bio

by Pamela Hodges | 30 comments

Whether you're starting your author website, setting up social media profiles, or submitting stories or articles to a publication, you're going to need an author bio. 

7 Killer Tips for How to Write a Bio

Writing your biography can seem almost as challenging as writing a book. But it is a necessary part of publishing your writing. Let's look at how to write a bio that delivers.

How to Write a Bio

  • Write your name
  • Share your accomplishments
  • Use third person
  • Say something personal
  • Link to your writing
  • Follow the rules

Where to Find Author Bio Examples

A good place to find examples of other writers' biographies is right here on The Write Practice. You can meet the Write Practice team on the About page . The Write Practice also includes bio examples with all guest posts (you can click on any post on this page to read the author's bio).

If you're writing a bio for your resume or a cover letter for a professional role, some of the tips here will work, but you'll want to make sure you look at examples in the field where you're applying. 

Let me share with you seven tips on how to write a bio and some personal bio examples to get you started. 

7 Killer Tips for How to Write a Bio (Including More Examples)

Let me share with you seven tips on how to write a bio and some bio templates to get you started.

1. Write your name

Start with your name. Might seem obvious, but you want to make sure readers know who you are.

2. Share your accomplishments

Don't be shy. Say what you have done.

A list of accomplishments might include things like where you went to school and where you have been published. If relevant, you can include your professional experience or current role. This is not a time to brag or list every award you won since grade two. Pick the major accomplishments that are relevant and recent.

For example:

Mary Jones, a graduate of ____________, has been published in____________ and ______________.

If this is your first publication, you can say:

Mary Jones writes about ________________ and ______________.

3. Use third person

For author bios, write in the third person, even if you are the one writing it. First-person bios are rare and not the industry standard. 

Instead of saying, “I have lived in Tokyo and have six cats,” say, “Pamela has lived in Tokyo and has six cats.”

4. Say something personal

Well-written bios end with a personal statement about you. There's not room to tell your life story or share too many personal details, but including a personal detail or two shows readers you are a real person beyond the written page. See the ending of the following examples.

Here is Stephen King's biography from the back of his book  On Writing . It has 65 words.

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are 11/22/63 , Under the Dome , Lisey’s Story , Duma Key , Cell , Dreamcatcher , Hearts in Atlantis , and Bag of Bones . He was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Stephen King’s biography begins with his name and then lists his professional life accomplishments. But it ends with a note about his personal life. Now you know that he lives in Maine and his wife is a novelist. This helps you to connect with him as a regular human being, not just a very accomplished celebrity.

(His biography is long, though. If you were Steven King, and they said, “Mr. King, you have only fifty words,” what would you take out?)

Or read this biography from the back of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This one is 42 words.

Steven Pressfield is the author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War, The Afghan Campaign, The Profession, The Warrior Ethos and Turning Pro, among others. He lives in Los Angeles. In 2003, he was made an honorary citizen of Sparta in Greece.

If I wanted to know what books Steven Pressfield wrote, I could look up his page on Amazon. But I would not know to look up whether he was made an honorary citizen of Sparta in Greece. That's an interesting relevant detail based on some of the writing he's done. 

Take a look at this one, from the back inside cover of Jon Acuff’s book Finish . This has 49 words.

Jon Acuff is the New York Times bestselling author of Start , Quitter , and Do Over , among other books. He is a popular public speaker, blogger, Tweeter, and the creator of the “30 Days of Hustle” online challenge. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters.

Jon Acuff's biography tells me about his accomplishments. Then it ends with a note about his family. It is a good idea to share a piece of personal information about yourself so readers can connect with you.

5. Be funny

Include humor if it fits your writing and the publication you are submitting to. Remember, you don’t want to make off-color jokes in your biography, so pretend your mother is reading it.

Unless, of course, it is for an adult magazine. Then you can write humor that fits that publication. Keep your target audience in mind, knowing that humor is highly contextual. 

6. Link to your writing

Use only one link. Decide what is the most important place you want your readers to find you. Twitter? Instagram? Your website signup list?

If you only have one link, have it go to your website signup page. An email list is the most important, as it gives you direct access to make friends with your readers. You own your website (we hope!); you don’t own Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Social media platforms are great for connecting with readers, but it's good to keep in mind that they can change their rules any time and that can affect your access to your target audience. 

7. Follow the rules

Follow the rules. If the publication or bio instructions ask for a fifty-word biography, don’t give them 324 words. Stick to fifty. If there's a character limit, follow it. Don't jeopardize your chances of publication because you won't follow through on your author bio. 

Bonus Tip: Be Yourself

It can seem intimidating to write a killer bio. But you are a writer. You have already written an article or story so amazing that someone wants to publish it.

You can write a fantastic bio, too.

Now You Try

It's a good idea to try out a few different bios for different target audiences. Mix and match professional accomplishments and personal experiences until you have a blend that really captures you and your writing style. 

You can practice using a conversational tone and then a more formal tone. See which one fits the audience or market you have in mind. Share them with your writing friends or on your social media accounts to boost engagement and see which one your target audience likes most. 

Keep cutting extraneous details until you have a killer bio that represents you, and then polish and edit until it shines.

The handy template above and your own brilliant writing are all you need!

Do you have any tips for how to write a bio? Let us know in the comments .

Take fifteen minutes to write a fifty-word biography. This is the length of biographies Alice, my editor, asks for on The Write Practice.

What will you include in your biography? Share the bio you write in the Pro Practice Workshop. Tell us what you cut and why.

Please read other readers' biographies and help them write a clear biography.

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Pamela Hodges

Pamela writes stories about art and creativity to help you become the artist you were meant to be. She would love to meet you at pamelahodges.com .

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How to Write a Biography: 10 Step Guide + Book Template

POSTED ON Nov 14, 2023

Nicole Ahlering

Written by Nicole Ahlering

So you’d like to know how to write a biography . We can help with that! In this guide, we show you how to get from the initial book idea to publishing your book , and we throw in a free template to help you on your way. 

Let’s jump right in. 

This guide teaches you how to write a biography in the following steps:

Get Our 6″ x 9″ Pre-Formatted Book Template for Word or Mac

We will send you a Book Template for US Trade (standard paperback size).

Step 1: Read other biographies 

Austin Kleon, Author of Steal Like an Artist , says “the writer tries to master words. All of these pursuits involve the study of those who have come before and the effort to build upon their work in some way.”

In other words, to be a great writer, you need to read the best biographies written by other excellent authors!

In this case, it would behoove you to read several biographies – whether historical or celebrity biographies is up to you and your sub-genre. 

A good author to start with? Walter Isaacson . He’s written highly acclaimed biographies on everyone from Abraham Lincoln and Steve Jobs to Leonardo Da Vinci and Elon Musk. 

Step 2: Identify your subject

Next, it’s time to choose who you’d like to write about – if you don’t already have someone in mind.  

The most important factor will be, of course, your interest in the person you’re planning to write about. You’ll spend months (or even years) deep-diving into this person’s history, so you want to choose someone who you’re unlikely to tire of. 

Here are a few other factors to consider: 

  • How impactful has your potential subject’s life been? In other words, will people care to learn more about this person? 
  • How readily available is information about your potential subject? Biographies require extensive research, so it’s critical to choose someone who has enough information out there to dig into! Consider whether your subject has done interviews, written journals, has family or a partner willing to speak with you, and more. 
  • Are there already books written about your potential subject? Just because there’s an existing biography about the person you’re interested in doesn’t (necessarily) mean you can’t write another one. But if there are two or three biographies, you may want to reconsider. If you do choose to write about someone who has already been well-documented, be mindful about approaching the topic with a new angle or perspective. For instance, there are several biographies about George Washington, but author Alexis Coe wrote one about how Washington isn’t “quite the man we remember.” This brilliant iteration has over 12,000 ratings on Goodreads .
  • Is there a market demand for a book about your potential subject? If you’d like to publish your book, you need to be mindful of whether folks will want to read it. Do some research to determine if readers will be receptive to a book about the person you’re interested in. 

Related: Is a Biography a Primary Source?

Step 3: Get permission to write about your subject

We’ll start by stating the obvious. It’s a good idea to get permission to write about your subject, even if you’re not legally required to. For one thing, it’s just good manners. Plus, you’re much more likely to get unfettered access to the information and sources you need to write your book. 

But do you have to get permission? It depends.

In some cases, if your subject is considered a “public figure,” permission may not be required. The definition of a public figure varies depending on your jurisdiction, so you should always consult a lawyer before writing a biography. 

If you do decide to proceed without permission, be mindful of how your book will be received and any legal issues that may arise. 

Step 4: Create an outline

It’s critical to outline your biography before you begin writing it. Among other things, it helps ensure you cover every topic you’d like to and get the book in the correct chronological order. It also helps you identify themes that emerge as you organize your ideas. 

YouTube video

Need help creating your outline? Learn how to do it (and take advantage of free templates!) in our guide to outlining a book . 

Step 5: Select a working title (using a title generator) 

Now is the fun part! It’s time to create a working title for your book. A working title is just what it sounds like: it’s a title that works – for now. 

Of course, it’s helpful to have something to call the book as you’re working on it. And it encourages you to think about the message you’d like your book to convey. When your biography is complete, you can always do a little more research on how to write book titles for your specific sub-genre and update your working title accordingly.

Or, you can decide you still love your initial title and publish your book with that one! 

We’ve made it easy for you to develop a working title – or multiple – using our book title generator . 

Book Title Generator

Don't like it?

Step 6: Write a rough draft 

Okay, now it’s time to start writing your rough draft. Don’t be intimidated; just focus on getting something down on the page. As experts on all things writing and self-publishing, we’ve got a rough draft writing guide to help you get through this phase of writing a biography.

Remember to be as balanced and objective as possible.

Make good use of your primary and secondary sources, and double-check all of your facts. You’ve got this!  

Step 7: Self-edit

There are several different types of editing that we recommend each manuscript undergo. But before you give your rough draft to anyone else to review, you should edit it yourself. 

The first step to self-editing?

Take a break! It’s essential to give your mind some time to recuperate before you go over your work. And never self-edit as you go!

After you’ve completed your break, here are a few things to consider as you edit: 

  • Grammar. This one is self-explanatory and usually the easiest. You can use an AI editor to make a first pass and quickly catch obvious spelling errors. Depending on prompts and your experience with the tool, you can also use AI to catch some grammar and syntax issues as well.
  • Content and structure . This is the time to make sure the bones of your piece are good. Make sure your content flows logically (and in chronological order), no important pieces of information are missing, and there isn’t redundant or unhelpful information. 
  • Clarity and consistency. Keep an eye out for any confusing copy and ensure your tone is uniform throughout the book.
  • Try reading your draft aloud. You’d be surprised at how many errors, shifts in tone, or other things you’d like to change that you don’t notice while reading in your head. Go ahead and do a read-through of your draft out loud. 

Step 8: Work with an editor

Once you’ve created the best draft you can, it’s time to hire an editor. As we mentioned, there are multiple types of book editing, so you’ll need to choose the one(s) that are best for you and your project. 

For instance, you can work with a developmental editor who helps with big-picture stuff. Think book structure, organization, and overall storytelling. Or you might work with a line editor who focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the like. 

There are also specialized copy editors, content editors, fact-checkers, and more.

It’s in your best interest to do a substantial amount of research before choosing an editor since they’ll have a large impact on your book. Many editors are open to doing a paid trial so you can see their work before you sign them on for the entire book. 

Step 9: Hire a book cover designer + get an ISBN 

Once you’ve worked with your editor(s) to finalize your book, it’s time to get your book ready to go out into the world. Your first step is to hire a book cover designer to create a cover that grabs readers’ attention (pssst: did you know that all SelfPublishing authors get done-for-you professional book design? Ask us about it !).

Then, you’ll need to get an ISBN number for your book – or an International Standard Book Number. It’s a unique way to identify your book and is critical for ordering, inventory tracking, and more. 

Bear in mind that each rendition of your book – regardless of when you publish them – will need their own ISBN numbers. So if you initially publish as a softcover and hardcover book and then decide to publish an ebook with the same exact content, you'll need 3 total ISBN numbers.

To get an ISBN, head to ISBN.org and follow the steps they provide.  Or reference our guide right here for step-by-step instructions (complete with photos) on how to get an ISBN number for self-published books.

Step 10: Create a launch plan 

Now is the most exciting part. It’s time to get your book out into the world! You’ll need to map out your plan, schedule events , finalize your pricing strategy, and more. 

We have an entire guide to launching a book to help you figure it out. 

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Learning how to write a biography can be challenging, but when you have a clear plan and guidance, the process is much easier. We've helped thousands of aspiring authors just like you write and self-publish their own books. We know what works – and how to become a successfully published author faster.

Take the first step today and down the book template below!

And, if you need additional help writing your biography, remember that we’re standing by to help. Just schedule a book consultation and one of our team members will help answer any of your questions about the writing process.

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How to Write a Biography (Examples & Templates)

A biography is a written account of a person’s life that details their life in chronological order. Another person usually writes this detailed account, and it contains reports of their childhood, career, major life events, relationships, and social impact. It also details their relationships with their family, children, and life accomplishments.

The best way to find out more about a popular figure is through reading their biographies, so you need to make sure you get the correct information. Before writing a biography, you need to do a lot of research and interviews to represent a person’s life accurately.

Types of Biography

A biography is the story of someone’s life as written by another writer. Most biographies of popular figures are written years, or even decades, after their deaths. Authors write biographies of popular figures due to either a lack of information on the subject or personal interest.

A biography aims to share a person’s story or highlight a part of their life.

There are different types of biographies, depending on the story. Some biographies are written true to the story, while some are written as fictional works. Biographies can give you true understanding of a person on an internal as well as external level along with a lot of life lessons.

Autobiography

An autobiography is different from a biography because it is written by the subject of the story, themselves. The author writes in the first-person narrative, and it flows step-by-step like a story of their life. Autobiographies contain personal accounts of the subject’s life, along with their perspectives and opinions on events in their life.

How To Write a Biography

Pick a subject.

Picking a subject is the first step in writing a biography. You can pick an already famous person or a relatively unknown person with a great life story. If you already have a few in mind, you can start by asking yourself some questions such as;

  • What has the subject accomplished that makes them a good subject?
  • Have they had an impact on society?
  • Is the subject a celebrity or a well-known personality?
  • Will the biography appeal to a wide audience?

Get Permission

When you pick a subject, the next thing to do is to get permission from them or their family or rights owners. Although, with some historical figures, there may not be any need for permission. Getting permission from your subject makes it easier for you to get stories to put into your book. You can get the chance to obtain additional personal stories and anecdotes that will make your book more interesting by doing so as well.

Do The Research

Research is the most important part of a biography’s process as the entire content of the book is dependent on it. Irrespective of what you know about the subject, you need to carry out as much research as possible to get the story’s facts precisely.

Biography research comes from various sources, depending on the book’s subject. Firsthand reports from family, friends, or personal accounts from the subjects are primary sources. They are usually the most accurate and reliable, and they are crucial for a biography. Secondary sources come from other sources like magazines or documentaries.

Pick a Format

Biographies come in various formats, with each of them having their pros and cons. A typical biography will start at the beginning, usually with the birth and childhood of the subject. Yet, if the biography’s theme involves a different event in their life, the author may want to explore the flashback option or one with concurrent events from different times.

Usually, biographies have a theme or a general life lesson at the center. The author’s role is to tell the subject’s story leading up to the major event.

Which-ever format you choose should place the theme at the center, with the other events detailing the journey.

Create a Timeline Of The Story

Since a biography takes place in chronological order, there needs to be a timeline of the events in the right order. The timeline should contain the key events in the subject’s life, in the order the author plans on revealing them. A great way to declutter the story and keep it interesting is to use flashbacks . This way, the author can introduce past events and explain later events excluding the element of monotony.

Add In Your Thoughts

The good thing about biographies is that you don’t have to stick to the hard facts only. As the author, you can share your opinions and emotions in writing. The author has the freedom to do this by commenting on a significant action by the subject in a manner that describes why they feel the subject may have done what they did.

The author can also include commentary on events depicted in the biography – how it was influenced society or its impact on the lives around them. Recounting these events through a different perspective can make the biography more relatable and interesting to read.

FAQ’s

Why is a biography template important.

A biography template has an outline that makes the writing easier for the author. Biography templates usually contain a sample timeline, format, and questions that provide more information about the subject. With a great biography template, you can cut your writing time in half and spend less time coming up with an outline.

How are biographies better in comparison to autobiographies

Since a different person writes biographies, they tend to be more objective and somewhat accurate than autobiographies. An autobiography tells things from the author’s perspective, so their views and perspective cloud it. Thus, a biography will likely tell a more factual story.

These are the important steps you need to take to help you write a great biography. Now, to make things easier for you, we have a free customizable autobiography and biography template that you can use to start your first book. Get the template and start writing today

What are some of the most important elements to keep in consideration while writing a biography?

Any author looking to write a biography must consider the factors below. They aren’t the only important factors, but a biography isn’t complete without them. • Date and place of their birth • Academic background • Professional expertise • Death, if deceased • Facts and anecdotes about the person • Main accomplishments • Detailed accounts of their child and adult life

Biographies tell the untold stories of some incredibly relevant people in the world. But biographies are not always strictly accurate. So, every biographer needs to follow the necessary steps to provide a biography with all the requirements.

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How to write a professional bio (with examples and templates)

  • Rebecca Strehlow
  • Nov 13, 2023
  • 11 min read

How to write a bio

Which three words would you use to describe yourself? Most of us have been asked this question, and many of us have fumbled through it awkwardly.

Coming up with a personal description can be daunting. But there are times when it’s essential - whether we’re updating our LinkedIn profiles, blogging for Medium or creating a business website of our own.

In this post, we’ll go over how to write a bio, step by step. To help guide you, we’ve also included a handy template, along with some professional bio examples for your inspiration. With these resources, you’ll find that writing a bio, as part of making a website , is much easier than you might think.

What is a bio?

Before you learn how to write a bio, you should have a clear understanding of what it is and why you need it.

In the world of literature, a personal biography can span the length of an entire novel, like Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom or Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala . In the online world, however, a bio is a short paragraph in which you introduce yourself. Typically, people place bios on the About Us page of their professional website, as well as on their social media pages and other networking platforms.

What to include in a bio

Depending on your audience and goals, your bio can highlight your personal interests, your professional achievements or a mix of both. Here are some of the elements a bio might include:

Job title or workplace

University degree and other qualifications

Hometown or city of residence

Personal or professional goals

Mission statement and values

Skills and expertise

Interests and hobbies

The goal of writing a bio is to provide people with a snapshot of who you are. This is important for a variety of reasons, whether it’s drawing people toward your personal website or promoting your blog, attracting clients and business partners to your brand, or highlighting your achievements for job interviews.

How to write a short bio

The most effective online bios are both professional and concise. Here’s how to write a short professional bio that suits your website or brand:

Introduce yourself

State your company or brand name

Explain your professional role

Include professional achievements

Discuss your passions and values

Mention your personal interests

01. Introduce yourself

Begin your bio by stating your first and last name. If you’re writing in the third person, these should be the first two words of the paragraph. This makes your name easy for your audience to identify and remember. Your bio is a huge part of your personal branding efforts, and should start with a strong intro to make a positive impact.

02. State your company or brand name

Think about whether you want your bio to represent yourself on a personal level, or whether you’d like it to come across as more professional. If you have a personal brand or business - for example, a blog, freelance business or eCommerce site - be sure to mention your brand name at the beginning of your bio. Don’t be afraid if the name sounds simple or redundant. It’s perfectly fine, for instance, to say Mary Smith is the founder and CEO of Smith Digital.

Likewise, feel free to mention the name of another company or brand that you work for if you’d like to associate it with your professional accomplishments - e.g., Mary Smith is a consultant at Google and the founder and CEO of Smith Digital.

03. Explain your professional role

Next, briefly explain your current position. This is relevant whether you’re the founder of a company, a high-level specialist or a beginner in your field, and it can be similar to the description you have on your resume. Your website visitors won’t necessarily know what your job involves, so elaborating on your primary responsibilities helps paint a picture of who you are and what you have to offer. This can also be used, if needed for employment and recruitment opportunities. If you're a freelancer a strong bio can make all the difference in how successful sourcing work can be.

Green image with peach squares that say "be concise" plus lavender circles that say "Know your audience" and "Bio".

04. Include professional achievements

In addition to explaining what your job entails, highlight milestones that make you stand out. Even if you haven’t won an award or gained external recognition, you can discuss ways in which you’ve contributed to your professional role and touch on new ideas or approaches that you bring to the table.

05. Discuss your passions and values

Once you describe what you do and how you contribute to your role, you’ll need to explain the why . This is one of the most important elements to focus on as you consider how to write a bio.

Think about the values and passions underlying your work, as well as your professional philosophy. What gets you up in the morning? What’s the driving force behind what you do?

You can also think of this part of your professional bio as a kind of mission statement. Perhaps your mission is to serve others, contribute to society, grow your expertise or learn new skills. Whatever your reasons, expanding upon these ideas can help your audience get a better understanding of what truly matters to you. Don't be afraid to deploy storytelling in this part of creating your bio. Explore your narrative and then convey it.

06. Mention your personal interests

The most effective short bios will not only focus on your professional experience, but will also touch on what you like to do in your spare time. Consider mentioning:

Your family

Your hometown

Your hobbies

Side projects you’re working on

Transitioning to a more casual discussion of who you are outside of work is a great way to conclude your bio. This will present you as a more well-rounded person while making you relatable for your audience.

Professional bio template

As you go through the steps on how to write a bio, this handy template will help you get started:

Sentence 1: [Name] is a [job title] who [job description].

E.g., Lisa Green is an English teacher who teaches beginning to advanced literature courses for 10th and 11th grade students at Bloomfield High School.

Sentence 2: [Name] believes that [why you do the work you do].

E.g., Lisa believes that written and analytical skills are not only a fundamental part of academic excellence, but are also the building blocks of critical thinking in high school and beyond.

Sentence 3: [Name/pronoun] has [mention your achievements].

E.g., In addition to managing the English curriculum for the school, she runs an after school program where she works one-on-one with students.

Sentence 4: [Name/pronoun] is a [mention any relevant awards, training or honors].

E.g., She has also been nominated Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years.

Sentence 5: [Name/pronoun] holds a [insert degree] in [field of study] from [university].

E.g., Lisa holds a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from the University of Michigan.

Once you’ve filled in this template, put it all together into a single paragraph to create an initial framework for your professional biography. Note that you can shorten or expand upon this bio according to your unique needs.

A professional bio template graphic that says [name] is a [job title] who [job description]. [Name] has [Academic Qualifications] from [University]...

Professional bio examples

Now that you know the basics of writing a professional bio, here are some short bio examples to inspire you. You can use these examples as additional templates for guidance as you craft your own personal biography.

Like the creators of these examples, you can place your bio on your personal or professional website and, later, revise the structure for other online platforms.

01. Bristol Guitar Making School

Professional bio examples: Bristol Guitar Making School

Of all the professional bio examples, Alex Bishop’s content exudes passion. Strategically placing the bio on the About page of his small business website , he highlights his skills and explains why he finds his work meaningful. In particular, we love his description of why he chose to pursue guitar making:

“​My passion as a guitar maker comes from a life-long obsession with making things. From a young age I have always tried to manipulate objects and materials in order to create something entirely different. I find that working with wood is a way for me to connect with nature. The simple act of shaping wood to make something functional or beautiful brings me endless satisfaction.”

He also lists his accomplishments and awards, adding credibility to his business and building trust among prospective clients.

02. Alexandra Zsigmond

Professional bio examples: Alexandra Zsigmond

As someone who has served as art director for both The New York Times' opinion section and The New Yorker , it's no surprise that Alexandra Zsigmond's bio is thorough and detailed. Providing statistics or reflections on the things she achieved in her career is a clever way to demonstrate her value without saying so directly. As she explains:

"She has collaborated with a roster of over 1000 artists worldwide and art directed over 4000 editorial illustrations. She is known for greatly expanding the range of visual contributors to the Times, drawing equally from the worlds of contemporary illustration, fine art, animation, and comics."

03. Amanda Shields Interiors

Professional bio examples: Amanda Shields Interiors

Amanda Shields provides us with another effective bio example on her interior design website. Importantly, she spices up her bio by explaining how home decor aligns with her personal life and why it’s so close to her heart as a mother and entrepreneur:

"After working as a product designer for numerous retailers over the years, and after I had my first child, I decided to take the plunge and start my own home staging business…. Coincidentally, a month later I discovered I was pregnant with my second child. I loved the new challenges I faced as a new entrepreneur and mom and it didn't take long for me to discover that this was my calling…. I felt the need to expand my business and launch Amanda Shields Interiors as its own entity to focus specifically on residential interiors and design."

By placing this content on her website’s About page, she provides potential clients with insights into her expertise and professional experience. She expands upon the choices she made along her career path, strategically making note of her achievements and acquired skills along the way.

Tips for writing a bio

As you write your bio using the professional template above, make sure to keep the following tips in mind:

Keep it concise: Your bio should be sufficiently explanatory, but it should also be short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep each element of your bio - from your job description to your mission statement and hobbies - to about 1-2 sentences. That way, you’ll end up with a brief paragraph that holds your readers’ attention without rambling on.

Consider your audience: The voice and tone you choose for your biography largely depends on your audience and personal goals. If you’re looking for a job and are writing primarily for recruiters, you’ll want to use a serious, professional tone. On the other hand, if you’re creating an Instagram bio , consider using more casual, conversational language that reflects your personality.

Add humor: Relatedly, consider adding humor when appropriate. This is especially valuable if you’ve founded your own business or created your own website , as it can give you a distinct brand identity while helping your audience build a stronger sense of connection with your brand.

Link to your website: When writing a bio for a platform other than your own website - a social media page, another company page, or a guest blog or publication - remember to include a link to your website. This will help you promote your website while highlighting your professionalism and authority.

Adapt for different platforms: You’ll most likely need to adapt the length and writing style of your biography to suit different platforms. For example, you may place a longer bio on your website’s About page and a shorter one on your LinkedIn page. In these cases, use the same main principles for writing a bio while scaling down the most important elements.

By following these tips, you can create a powerful bio that helps you stand out in your field and allows your audience to get to know you better.

How to write a bio in four sentences or less

Really need to create a super short bio? We'd suggest following some of the tips above, just condensing them into less word for a short bio that still makes impact.

But if we really had to choose we'd say focus on - you, your professional role and company. That condenses everything that matters for bio into three sentences. Humor, creativity and uniqueness still all matter just use less words to convey them.

Creating a bio for your website

As we’ve noted in the examples above, one of the most strategic places to put your bio is on your website - so be sure to consider it within your web design plans. Whether the goal of your site is to start and promote your business , showcase your design portfolio or display your resume, including a bio gives your audience a glimpse into the person behind your content. It can also kickstart your professional growth . Show the world what you do, how you do it and why it matters, and people will be drawn to your passion and inspired by your experience.

Pro tip: You can add a bio to many different types of websites, so using templates can help you create yours faster. For example, if you're creating a portfolio website , explore portfolio website templates to help you get started.

Creating a bio for social media

Crafting a professional bio for social media is vital as it introduces you or your brand, and it builds credibility and trust. A well-written bio establishes your expertise, attracts the right audience, and fosters engagement. It helps maintain a consistent brand image, optimizes search and discovery, and opens doors to networking and career opportunities. A compelling bio delivers a concise, informative snapshot of who you are, what you do, and the value you bring, leaving a lasting impression on visitors and potential collaborators alike.

You may need to edit your bio depending on which social media platform you plan to use it on. Some of the most popular ones include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Focus on getting your bio right on the platforms you plan to focus your personal or brand social media marketing efforts on.

Writing a bio with AI

If you're looking to write your bio fast while creating your website, consider using an AI text generator to build your draft. You'll still need to make sure it goes through. an intensive editing process, so that it really captures the essence of who you are and your professional skills. A bio is about much more than just basic information, so don't forget to include the storytelling too. Build a website with Wix and you can make use of the in-built AI text generator within its Editor .

Why good bios are important for a professional

A well-written bio is an essential tool for any professional. It serves as a concise and informative introduction, highlighting your skills, experience and accomplishments. A strong bio can effectively showcase your expertise, attract potential employers or collaborators and establish your credibility in your field.

Here's why a good bio is important for a professional:

Creates a positive first impression: A well-written bio is often the first thing someone will read about you, whether it's a potential employer, client or collaborator. A strong bio will make a positive first impression and pique their interest in learning more about you.

Highlights your skills and experience: A good bio allows you to succinctly summarize your key skills, experience and accomplishments. It's an opportunity to showcase your expertise and demonstrate your value to potential employers or collaborators.

Establishes credibility: A professional bio that is well-written and free of errors conveys credibility and professionalism. It shows that you take yourself and your career seriously and that you are someone they can trust.

Attracts opportunities: A strong bio can help you attract new opportunities, whether it's a job interview, a project collaboration or a speaking engagement. A well-crafted bio can make you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of being noticed.

Builds your professional brand: Your bio is a key component of your professional brand. It should reflect your personality, values and aspirations, and it should be consistent with your overall online presence.

Networking tool: A well-written bio can serve as an effective networking tool. It can help you connect with potential employers, clients or collaborators who share your interests or expertise.

Demonstrates continuous learning: A bio that is regularly updated to reflect your latest skills, experience and accomplishments shows that you are committed to continuous learning and professional development.

Showcases your communication skills: A well-written bio demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively in a concise and engaging manner. It shows that you can articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly and professionally.

Personalizes your job search: When applying for jobs, tailoring your bio to each specific position can increase your chances of getting noticed. Highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you are seeking.

Builds confidence: Having a strong bio that you are proud of can boost your confidence and make you feel more prepared to take on new challenges and opportunities.

How to write a bio FAQ

What is a short bio.

A short bio, short for biography, is a concise summary of a your life or professional background. It provides a brief overview of your key achievements, qualifications, experiences, and relevant details. Typically written in the third person, a short bio is often used in various contexts, such as professional profiles, social media accounts, introductions for speaking engagements, author descriptions, and other situations where a brief introduction is required. The length of a short bio can vary, but it's generally kept to a few sentences or a short paragraph to provide a snapshot of the person's background and expertise.

How do I write a bio about myself?

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The Best Short Professional Bios (Examples + Templates)

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Summary. To write a short bio you should first make an initial introduction introducing yourself in the first or first person. Your short bio should include your brand, your accomplishments, and your values and goals. Your short bio should be one to three short paragraphs or four to eight sentences long.

Knowing how to write a concise, informative, and interesting biography about yourself can help throughout various parts of the professional process. You can use your bio to capture the attention of potential employers or clients and convince them to choose to employ or work with you.

In this article, you’ll learn more about what goes into a short bio and how to write one, and you’ll also get to see some short bio templates and examples to help you get an idea of what yours should look like.

Key Takeaways

A short bio serves to introduce you, your achievements, and what you offer professionally to potential employers or clients.

It’s important to keep your bio brief so that readers stay engaged and will remember your main points.

You may need to adjust your bio for different audiences, as your clients may want to know different information than a recruiter would.

Talk about your skills and accomplishments in your bio, but don’t exaggerate them.

How to Write a Short Bio

What Is a Short Bio?

How to write a short bio, what to include in a short professional bio, short bio examples, short bio templates, tips for writing a short bio, writing a short bio faq.

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A short bio serves as your introduction to the professional world. In terms of finding or expanding on your job, a bio will cover your:

Work history

Achievements

Any other relevant professional information

Think of it as a professional memoir that a hiring manager or consumer can read and understand quickly. It’s usually about one to three paragraphs depending on experience.

There’s an emphasis on being succinct when it comes to writing a professional bio. This is because a bio is supposed to be a preface to attract recruiter attention and incline them to reach out for more information. Many readers will get lost or bored with a lengthy bio.

Using a short bio can be helpful across very different industries, from marketing to accounting, from psychiatry to sales.

You’re probably familiar with providing short bios on social media websites and applications. While the information and skills you include in a professional bio may differ, the general formatting is similar.

There’s a lot of considerations to take into account when writing a short bio, and it can quickly become intimidating. Deciding what information is relevant and how to keep it near 140 characters is no small task.

If you’re having difficulty writing a short bio, follow the outline below to craft an introduction that engages your reader.

Make an initial introduction. You can’t jump right into everything you’ve done and what you want to do in the future before introducing yourself.

Your bio’s first sentence should begin with your full name in the third person or introduce yourself in the first person and continue to briefly outline your most notable skills and accomplishments. It’s a good place to state your current job and employer.

Go deeper with what motivates you. Once you’ve catchily illustrated who you are in your short bio, you can use the second sentence to describe your motivations for your work.

Stating what drives you to do the work you do is essential to employers and customers alike. Whether you work as a physician or fitness consultant , there’s a reason why this is your profession, and you should explain that in your short professional bio.

Describe your accomplishments. Your short bio is for detailing why you’re the ideal candidate to be trusted with handling an employer or consumer’s business. By describing your prior accomplishments, you let them know what you could offer as an employee and how you’ve succeeded in the past.

While you should avoid sounding braggy, the reader is looking for information about what your qualifications are , and your accomplishments generally measure these qualities.

Even though you could probably go on for ages about the details of your accomplishments, save that for an interview . In a short bio, only include the most impressive of your achievements to outline.

Accomplishments relevant to a short bio could include:

Impressive results on a project

Former promotions

Awards received in your field

Certifications received

Include contact information. The purpose of a short bio as either a business or a job seeker is to inspire the reader to reach out. Without contact information, this pursuit becomes futile. Make sure your short bio has some way to contact you at the end.

Relevant contact information may include:

Phone number

Professional networking profile

A short professional bio includes:

Your full name. You can choose to write your bio in the first person (I, me, my) or third person (he, she, they), but either way, you need to include your full name at some point. Branding doesn’t work so well without a brand name (i.e., you!)

Your brand. Of course, if you have an actual brand that you’re trying to market, you should include the brand name as well.

What you do. Summarize what you want the reader to know about what you do in one sentence — tricky, we know.

Your accomplishments. For a short bio, you can stick with just one major accomplishment from your professional life. Or, if you have a string of impressive achievements, try condensing all of them down to one sentence.

Your goals and values. Let the reader know what makes you tick — why do you do what you do and what do you hope to achieve with your work? People are compelled by a story more than anything else, so it’s important to get this part right.

Something personal (optional). If you have a quirky tidbit about yourself you’d like to include, go for it. Just make sure it doesn’t throw off te the tone of the rest of your bio.

Contact info (optional). If your bio is serving as a call-to-action to drum up business or get leads on job opportunities, it makes sense to include your contact information at the end of your bio. It’s not necessary if that information is available elsewhere on the page , though.

Entry-Level Job-Seeker Bio Example

Mitchell Morrison is an upcoming video producer and editor who believes in the art of visual organization. He is a recent graduate from the University of Washington and focused on post-production during his time studying there. He was introduced to the magical world of visual art production by watching his father work on editing commercials growing up and has been working towards his dream of becoming a video editor ever since. During his last year of college, Mitchell participated in a competitive internship with Digital Space Films. He was chosen out of 2,000 applicants based on his academic portfolio and personal statement essay. This internship was an incredible learning experience and resulted in three professional accreditations for music video editing. Mitchell currently lives in Seattle, Washington pursuing freelance opportunities and spending time with his Dog, Pikachu. To get into contact with Mitchell: MitchellMorrisonVideo.com/contact

Working Professional Website Bio Example

Lisa Kennedy is an experienced real estate professional. She knows how important a home is for long-term happiness and has invested her career in putting people in the house they’ve always dreamed of. Lisa was driven to pursue real estate from her passion for helping people during life-altering times, and a keen interest in high-end, luxury homes. She’s been working in the real estate industry for ten years and in that time has assisted over 3,500 people in finding homes. She was educated at the University of Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in business management. She’s worked for some of the most respectable Real Estate companies in Los Angeles and individually under her agency “Kennedy Homes.” Lisa has also been published in Real Estate Quarterly Magazine as the 2017 winner of the “Top Luxury Home Seller” award. Lisa loves the culture of Los Angeles and has been living there with her family of five since she graduated from college. She enjoys spending her free time exploring towns along the West Coast and swimming. If you’d like to get in touch with Lisa: Email: [email protected]

Professional Networking Profile Bio Example

Bianca Jones Marketing Manager Miami, FL The first step towards customer satisfaction is being reached by stellar product marketing, and that’s what I aim to provide. My professional experience as a product marketing manager has allowed me to assist many organizations in improving their sales margins and audience response to emerging products. I’ve brought dedication and positive results to the companies I’ve worked for because I am passionate about product perception, marketing, and business statistics. What drives a product to success interests and inspires me. I specialize in long-term growth strategies and audience outreach. In addition to eight years of experience in professional product marketing, I have also published two books on creating a career as a marketer called “What to Do After Your Bachelor’s” and “A Marketer’s How-To.” If you’re interested in learning more about how to market your business better, or just discuss more, feel free to contact me by email at [email protected].

Your first choice is whether you want your bio to be written in the third person or first person. These short bio templates show both options, and also include different ideas for what to include, and how. Feel free to pick and choose your favorite parts of each of the two.

[Full Name] is a [job title] who [believes/knows] in the power of [what you do]. [He/She/They] began their journey in [field] by [how you got started in the field], and now dreams of [what you hope to accomplish]. [His/Her/Their] biggest accomplishment to date has been [your biggest accomplishment]. [Full Name] lives in [where you live] and participates in [a hobby/interest]. To get in touch with [Full Name], call/email/message me on [how you’d like to be contacted].
I am a [job title] who helps [who you help] [what you help them do]. It’s my belief that [your unique perspective on the field]. In the past [# of years] years, I’ve [major accomplishment #1] through [how you accomplished it]. I have a passion for [your professional passion], but on the side, I also enjoy [personal passion]. Get in touch with me today at [contact info] — I look forward to talking with you about [what you want to talk to your readers about].

You have a firm grasp of the structure of a short bio and what to include. Now, you may need some tips for how to polish your short professional bio and make it stand out from the competition.

Be mindful of length. While you’re probably getting sick of hearing that your bio should be short, it’s good to keep in mind throughout the writing process. It’s easy to go off on a tangent while trying to include everything relevant or rationalize, making your bio too long.

Avoid this impulse. The point of a bio is that it’s limited. You want to intrigue the reader enough to inspire them to seek more information about you or your services.

Tailor your bio to your intended audience. Whether you’re using a short bio to attract a particular customer base or potential employer, tailoring it to fit their wants and needs is crucial. Consider your intended audience base and what they’re looking for in a candidate or service.

Be genuine. Your short bio should be an authentic representation of your traits, experience, and personality. People are repelled by what they interpret as stretching the truth. If you’re being received as disingenuous by the reader, they’ll probably move on.

Proofread. The only way to steer clear of errors in your short bio is by proofreading it. Imagine a hiring manager being completely interested in your bio.

They love what you have to say about yourself and find your prior experience enticing. That is, until they come across a mistake that clearly shows you didn’t do proofread or edit.

Include links to your portfolio, website, or networking profile. One way to circumvent the confining factor of keeping your bio short is by including links to more detailed sources.

This can be in the form of linking your portfolio or website to allow the reader to go deeper into your discussed skills if they please, without taking up more space in your bio.

Implement these links seamlessly into your bio by attaching them to anchor words that describe what clicking will lead them to.

Add some personality. You aren’t the only person who has an impressive list of accomplishments to put on a bio, so you’re going to need to find some additional ways to make an impression.

What should a short bio include?

A short bio should include your name, what you do, and your achievements. You should also include your company or product’s brand, if you have one, and your goals and motivations for doing what you do. This humanizes you and helps you stand out from the rest of the pack.

How long is a short bio?

A short bio is typically one to three paragraphs long. These should be short paragraphs though, as other experts say that between four and eight sentences is the ideal length for a short bio.

What makes a good bio?

A good bio is succinct and memorable. Readers don’t want to spend long reading about your professional and personal life, so go back and cut it down to the important parts multiple times after you draft it. You might be surprised at how little you actually need to include.

What should you avoid putting in a short bio?

You should avoid including anything negative or arrogate. It’s never a good idea to write anything negative about previous jobs or employers. Only include positive things in your professional short bio.

It’s important to include your achievements in a short bio, but there is a fine line between mentioning your achievements and bragging about them. Stick to the facts when talking about your accomplishments.

Fremont University – Building Your Professional Bio

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Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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How to Nail your next Technical Interview

You may be missing out on a 66.5% salary hike*, nick camilleri, how many years of coding experience do you have, free course on 'sorting algorithms' by omkar deshpande (stanford phd, head of curriculum, ik).

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How to Write the Best Personal Bio - With Examples

A crucial thing that most people do not pay enough attention to while applying to jobs is their ' personal bio' . Perhaps, the limited availability of time and a general lack of awareness about the importance of personal bios has ended with candidates creating dry and boring personal bios that fail to add adequate value.

In order to crack tough technical interviews at FAANg companies, aside from extensive preparation, creating and presenting the best personal bio is of supreme significance. 

This article will take you through what the ideal personal bio looks like and how to create the best personal bio to amplify your chances of making a great impression and landing your dream job. 

Here's what this article will cover:

What is a personal bio, significance of a personal bio, how to write a personal bio, how to make your personal bio noticeable, components of a personal bio, tips for writing a personal bio.

Example of personal bios

  • 7.1 Personal biography examples for students
  • 7.2 Personal bio sample for a teacher
  • 7.3 Best personal bio
  • 7.4 Personal bio sample

A personal bio refers to a short introduction that provides a concise summary of all your credentials and achievements. It lists out your professional history and educational qualifications in detail.

Think of it as an efficient marketing tool that portrays what makes you who you are. Unlike a resume, a personal bio   also gives the other person an idea of the set of values that you hold and gives them a whiff of your personality. 

Where are personal bios required?

You could require writing a personal biography   for the following reasons-

  • To let hiring managers know why you would be the best fit for the position
  • Networking platforms
  • On professional websites
  • Introducing yourself to clients or contacts
  • Social media accounts

A personal bio provides a digital introduction of an individual. It is an opportunity to highlight one’s competence, experience, and other achievements in a few lines. The bio is important not only for listing out your achievements but also to make the reader care about you. 

You can pick any suitable tone for the bio depending on the role you're applying to. It can be funny, personal, formal, or conversational, depending on the target audience. 

The advantage of a personal professional bio is that it goes beyond just job applications. It also helps with networking and promotion. This is a branding opportunity that helps display your unique personality to the whole world in a limited number of words.

The purpose of the bio is to grasp the attention of the reader and draw them towards your profile. This is why you need to make it extremely concise and informative.

Writing a personal biography  can be challenging. Following a standardized template such as the one provided below will help you create the ideal personal bio effortlessly. 

  • Start by giving your introduction- Your personal bio should begin with a short introduction. Include details such as your name, educational qualifications, any certification, or major achievement. This sentence should be followed by your values, passions, and other aspects of your personality. Make sure that you add the relevant skills that you have and other important attributes of your personality. Also, add all the personal and professional values that you hold. If you have any professional goals that you are currently working towards, add that as well.
  • Keep it simple and concise- Your bio does not have to be overly complicated. Keep it as concise as you can. Make sure that you include these details in your bio:
  • The purpose behind writing the bio- Who do you wish to address? What do you want to convey to them?
  • What are your biggest achievements? What sets you apart from the crowd?
  • What is your professional and personal background? What are the major life events that gave shape to your personality? 
  • What are your educational qualifications?
  • Write in the third person- Writing a personal bio in the third person might seem weird at first, but it is the best way to include your name in the bio. Also, it has to sound like a biography. Stick to writing in the third person to make the bio better optimized from an SEO viewpoint.
  • Know where you are going- You cannot just ramble about your achievements in the personal bio. It needs to be able to grab the attention of the reader. This is why it is important to follow a strategic approach to writing the bio. 

Refrain from making it a listicle of your achievements but rather create an interesting story using those. You can also include details about what inspires you in life or any other relevant anecdotes.

  • Add your contact information- To come across as an approachable person, you should add your contact information in the personal bio. Add your email address, links to your social media profiles, etc., which will allow readers to have the means to communicate with you. 
  • Proofread- You cannot afford to have an ill-written bio speak for you. Make sure you properly edit it to remove any grammatical or syntactical errors. Ask for feedback from others for ways to improve the bio and make it more readable.

Just writing a personal bio is not enough; you need to ensure that it is able to reach the right people and has the power to appeal to them. You can refer to various short personal bio examples   to find out ways in which you can make the bio more interesting and noticeable. Here are a few features that will make your bio catch the attention of its readers-

  • Add a link to your work- Adding a link to your portfolio or any other achievement present online will add credibility to your bio. Don’t overstuff the bio with links. Keep only the most relevant ones. You can use anchor words or a call to action to promote yourself. Also, ensure that you add your contact information at the end.
  • Add tasteful humor- You can choose to add a funny anecdote to make your bio quirky as long as it is inoffensive and maintains a professional tone. Go through some fun personal bio examples for your reference.
  • Incorporate SEO- You need to optimize your bio for online searches. Some SEO strategies that will help your bio stand out from your competitors are-
  • Make sure the piece is of the right length and has original content.
  • Use the third person for writing a short bio.
  • Research for the best industry keywords and try using them in your content.
  • Adding external links to your social media handles or work portfolio will also be helpful.
  • You can also add a professional photo to your bio if required.
  • Pay attention to all online channels- You have to ensure that all your websites, social media platforms, etc., are professional. Make sure that no incorrect information comes up when your name is searched. All the platforms should have a consistent and professional tone.

While you are writing a short bio on yourself,   you need to make sure that it contains all the essential components.  A standard bio needs to have the following information-

  • A professional statement or tagline
  • Current job title
  • The city where you are based
  • Relevant work experience
  • Educational history
  • Any special skills
  • All your accomplishments- both personal and professional
  • Any hobbies or passions
  • All the accolades that you hold
  • Press mentions etc.

All the personal biography examples   that you come across will have the following things in common.

  • Appropriate word count- Keep a check on the word count of the bio. It should be around 300-500 when applying for the job. You can extend this to 1500-2000 for a professional website. SEO favors longer pieces with unique content.
  • Although you include your full name in the bio to make it discoverable, make sure that you do not overuse your name.
  • Choose a tone for the bio and stick to it throughout. 
  • It is necessary to add a call to action to your bio.
  • Have different versions of the bio for different platforms.
  • Do not forget to update the bio regularly to include any recent achievements.
  • Personal biography examples for students

Will Roberts brings together online brands to the right target audience and provides the perfect marketing experience. A graduate from the University of California, Roberts believes that the perfect balance of classical marketing strategies and modern techniques yield the best results. Will recently participated in a research study that analyzed the trends of customer conversion in the online marketplace. He aspires to work in a leading digital marketing company in the future.

Connect with Will:

Email:  [email protected]

Networking site: w.roberts 

  • Personal bio sample for a teacher

Kelly Wilson believes that motivated children are the future of this world. She has been teaching at the Edinson Public School for the past 19 years. She has spent years teaching children of all grades and finds extreme joy in sharing stories and listening to little anecdotes from her students’ lives. She majored in English at the University of Virginia and was awarded her National Board Certification in 2004. Kelly has also completed her Master of Education degree and aspires to continue sharing her knowledge and stories with her dear students. 

Connect with Kelly at [email protected] 

3.  Personal bio for a marketing professional

Ryan Davis is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who works towards the upliftment of several personal and professional brands. Ryan holds a Bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Texas. He understands that the only way a brand can succeed is by truly connecting with the people.  Ryan has worked with esteemed companies such as CNN and Edelman. The extensive PR and marketing experience that Ryan possesses makes him a highly known name in the industry. Ryan is also a certified business coach who likes to spend his Time telling people about business basics.

Connect with Ryan at  [email protected]

Browse some of his previous works here <link>

4.  Personal bio sample for a writer

Joe Tucker published his first book ‘ Time,’ when he was 20. He has since then been involved in writing columns for various newspapers and magazines.  Joe graduated from Columbia University and took up writing as a career to be able to bring the world together with the power of his words. He is currently working on a non-fiction novel that speaks about his life experiences. His works have been critically acclaimed, and he was awarded the National Prize for Arts in the year 2019.

Read more of Joe’s work here <link>.

Contact Joe at  [email protected] .

5.    Best personal bio  sample for a project manager

For over 15 years, Mark Riley has been working as a management consultant for various firms. He has years of experience in both the public and private sectors and has led several highly esteemed companies such as ABC and CYZ technologies.  Mark holds an MBA from the University of Delaware and is skilled in team building, strategic planning, and company collaboration. 

Contact Mark at:

[email protected]

Networking sites: m.riley

6. Personal bio sample

Amy Howard is an Office Administrator with nine years of experience. She specializes in administrative technology and is responsible for educating the employees on how to use various systems and applications, including accounting software, mass communication procedures, and other organizational apps. Amy has a magnetic presence in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and energy to encourage others to work tirelessly towards success. Amy is inspired daily by her husband and their two sons. In her free Time, Mary likes to read, travel, and spend her time volunteering.

Connect with Amy:

[email protected]

best person to write a biography on

Abhinav Rawat

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10 Best-Selling Black Authors Who Shaped Literary History

Exploring themes of racism, oppression and violence, these African American writers have rightfully earned their place in the canon of great authors.

james baldwin

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What's more, these eloquent storytellers, who have contributed endless works of art, from poems, plays and essays to novels and nonfiction staples, have also taken up the mantle for their ancestors — many of whom were forced, in chains, from their African homeland to the United States — to tell their stories that had previously been passed down only verbally.

Here are some of the best-selling Black authors whose voices have both shaped and defined literary history:

Maya Angelou

maya angelou gestures while speaking in a chair during an interview at her home in 1978

One of the most prolific writers of our time, Black or otherwise, Maya Angelou's storied career spanned several decades and included the publication of everything from poetry and essays to several autobiographies, including 1969's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . The deeply personal (and highly successful) book — which chronicled Angelou's experiences of rape, identity and racism as a young girl in the south — earned the author the distinction of penning the first nonfiction best-seller by an African American woman.

Twenty-four years after I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' release, Angelou read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration, and the 1969 autobiography once again landed on the bestseller list, with sales reportedly skyrocketing 500 percent. (Her 2014 death at the age of 86 had the same effect on sales.) With other works, such as Angelou's 1981 memoir, The Heart of a Woman , flying off shelves, the Pulitzer nominee was a longtime fixture on bestsellers lists.

READ MORE: The Meaning Behind Maya Angelou's Poem "Still I Rise"

Zora Neale Hurston

zora neale hurston

The daughter of two formerly enslaved people, Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance . After releasing acclaimed short stories, such as 1926's "Sweat," and essays, including the autobiographical "How It Feels to be Colored Me" in 1928, Hurston eventually wrote her classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God , in 1937. Three years later, she published her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road , to great critical acclaim.

In 2005, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions aired a television movie version of Their Eyes Were Watching God , which starred actors Halle Berry , Michael Ealy and Terrence Howard.

Chinua Achebe

chinua achebe in new york city on march 6, 1988

Chinua Achebe's seminal first novel, Things Fall Apart , has sold an estimated 20 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages since its 1958 release. The book, which thoughtfully examined discord in the wake of Christian missionaries exerting influence over African culture under Nigeria's colonial government, has been hailed as one of the bestselling literary novels by an African author, based on sales figures.

The native Nigerian, who later taught as a professor at the University of Massachusetts , also wrote such titles as 1960's No Longer at Ease , 1964's Arrow of God and Anthills of the Savannah in 1987.

Langston Hughes

langston hughes

Langston Hughes summed up his mission in a 1926 manifesto, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” writing, “We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either.”

Famed as a Harlem Renaissance poet, novelist and playwright, Hughes published his first novel Not Without Laughter in 1930, earning great commercial success — and the Harmon gold medal for literature. In addition to myriad poems and plays, the one-time student of New York City's Columbia University also published autobiographies, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander , as well as one of his most famous poems, “Harlem (Dream Deferred)" in 1951.

READ MORE: Langston Hughes' Impact on the Harlem Renaissance

alex haley at the broadway department store book department in fox hills mall

While there's some disparity over official sales figures, it's safe to say that Alex Haley's 1976 classic, Roots , has sold well over five million copies. (Most estimates actually hover near the six million mark.) What's even safer to say is that the story of Haley's ancestors — beginning with 18th-century enslaved African Kunta Kinte — is one of the most important works depicting the horrors and subsequent fallout of the Atlantic enslaved person trade. In 1977, Haley won the fiction Pulitzer Prize for Roots , which was also adapted into two miniseries.

Another of the author's best-known works, 1965's The Autobiography of Malcolm X , a collaboration between the journalist and the civil rights activist who was assassinated in Harlem in 1965, also sold in comparable numbers to Roots .

Michelle Obama

michelle obama discusses her book becoming with sarah jessica parker at barclays center on december 19 2018 in new york city

When they went low, Michelle Obama's sales numbers went high. Although it was only released in November 2018, the first-time author and the former first lady's memoir, Becoming , has already made history.

With reading enthusiasts buying more than three million books shortly following its publication, not only did the tome sell more copies in just one-and-a-half months than any other book in all of 2018, it also is “among the fastest-selling nonfiction books in history and already among the best-selling political memoirs of all time,” according to the Associated Press.

Toni Morrison

toni morrison photographed in new york city in 1979

In 1988, Toni Morrison won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel Beloved , which told the harrowing story of a formerly enslaved person following the Civil War. After writing the 1987 release, which was also adapted into a 1998 film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover, Morrison went on to earn 1993's Nobel Prize in Literature for her 1997 book, Song of Solomon .

Additional titles, like her first novel, 1970's The Bluest Eye , as well as 1973's Sula were but a few of Morrison's works that made a lasting mark on the record of the African American experience.

READ MORE: Oprah Winfrey Once Described Longtime Friend Toni Morrison as 'Our Conscience'

Alice Walker

alice walker

Also adapted into a 1985 film starring Winfrey and Glover and directed by Steven Spielberg , The Color Purple , which Alice Walker had published three years prior, won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in the fiction category. In addition to her 1930s-set book, which also spawned a Broadway stage adaptation, Walker's later bestsellers included 2006's We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For and 2010's The World Has Changed .

James Baldwin

james baldwin

Famed essayist, playwright and novelist James Baldwin rose to literary prominence through works such as his insightful semi-autobiographical 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain , 1955's Notes of a Native Son , 1962's Another Country , and 1963's The Fire Next Time . After selling more than one million copies, his 1961 collection of essays, Nobody Knows My Name , earned him a spot on the bestsellers list.

The Harlem-born writer, who was highly adept at tackling issues of race, sexuality and spirituality, had several of his pieces adapted for the big screen. Among them: 2016 Academy Award Best Documentary Feature nominee I Am Not Your Negro which was based on his unfinished Remember This House manuscript, as well as the 2019 Barry Jenkins-directed (and also Oscar-nominated) If Beale Street Could Talk , based on Baldwin's 1974 novel.

READ MORE: Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin’s Complicated Relationship

Terry McMillan

terry mcmillan

Waiting to Exhale , Terry McMillan's breakout female-centric third novel that she published in 1992, spent several months on The New York Times bestseller list, and, by 1995, sold more than three million copies. The same year, a Forest Whitaker -directed big-screen adaptation hit theaters, with Whitney Houston , Angela Bassett , Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon leading the ensemble cast.

Another of the Michigan native's bestsellers, 1996's How Stella Got Her Groove Back , was adapted into a 1998 film also starring Bassett, this time alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Taye Diggs.

Black History

inventor garrett morgan helping responders lift the body of a tunnel disaster victim while wearing his safety hood device on his back

Get to Know 5 History-Making Black Country Singers

frederick mckinley jones, may 1949, by sharee marcus, minneapolis tribune, inventor

Frederick Jones

lonnie johnson stands behind a wooden lectern and speaks into a microphone, he wears a black suit jacket, maroon sweater, white collared shirt and tie, behind him is a screen projection showing two charts

Lonnie Johnson

bob marley smiles and wears a red, yellow and green knit hat with a denim collared shirt over an orange v neck sweater

Benjamin Banneker

josephine baker

Josephine Baker

lewis howard latimer stares at the camera in a black and white photo, he wears a suit with a patterned tie and wire framed glasses

Lewis Howard Latimer

jackie joyner kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

rubin carter

Rubin Carter

toussaint l'ouverture

Toussaint L'Ouverture

neil degrasse tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Washington Examiner

How to write a biography without biographical information

O n the first page of Sarah Ruden’s biography of Vergil, she states the problem that any biographer of the ancient poet and author of the Aeneid faces: We know almost nothing about him. “The man is like Shakespeare ,” she writes. “He disappeared into his writing.”

So, why write a biography of him, and how might one go about it if one did? The answer to the first question might be money. That was certainly Stephen Greenblatt’s motivation in writing a highly publicized biography of Shakespeare nearly 20 years ago. Greenblatt got a six-figure advance for Will in the World , which sold 150,000 copies on the first day of publication and was on the New York Times’s bestseller list for nine weeks. But only Shakespeare is Shakespeare, of course, and no other author, living or dead, comes close to generating the amount of interest he does.

KEEPING THE NOVEL ALIVE BY READING, AND ARGUING, WELL

Ruden in her preface stated that she decided to write a biography of Vergil largely out of curiosity. She is the author of an acclaimed translation of the Aeneid , and she became increasingly intrigued, she writes, as she worked on the translation by how a “mere life” could “produce such beauty”: “After much hesitation, I set off on a quest to know Vergil the man better through what probably follows from such things as his physical, social, and literary contexts and his own literary innovations.”

Thus, we have the answer to the second question. How to go about writing a biography of someone who left behind no memoir, no collection of letters, and whose entire biographical record consists of a few pages in Suetonius Tranquillus's On Illustrious Men ? Use historical contexts to speculate as to what he might have thought or could have done. Call it the Might-Have-Could-Have approach to biography.

The risk of such an approach is obvious. The subject of the biography becomes a mere object of our own projections. What we get is not Vergil himself, but the proto-fascist Vergil or the anti-imperialist Vergil, the proto-Christian Vergil or the gay Vergil. I am reminded of Daniel Mendelsohn’s article in the New Yorker a few years ago in which he presented Vergil as something of a tragic, bleeding-heart liberal, whose sympathies are on the side of the victims whom "‘empire’ leaves in its wake” but who was pressed into the service of empire nonetheless.

Ruden is aware of this risk. “We need to make our own peace with our own histories,” she writes, “and leave Vergil out of them.” She proposes to avoid it by sticking closely to what Vergil wrote and extrapolating only those biographical tidbits that seem plausible. H. L. Mencken may have been right when he wrote that criticism “is no more than prejudice made plausible.” But a biography that is no more than prejudice made plausible is no biography at all.

Problematically, Ruden proposes to compare Vergil to his modern “descendants” — that is, to modern writers — to gain insight into his life. She argues that because writers are categorically different from other people, it makes sense that Vergil might have more in common with other writers, even those who lived 2,000 years after he died, than he did with the people of his own time. After all, wasn’t Vergil, like so many modern writers, an eccentric who lived an unconventional life marked by an unwavering commitment to art? “Many things about Vergil’s life made more sense to me,” she writes, “once I dared to grasp that this shy young man from nowhere, who struggled from line to line as he composed and revised, sensed in some part of his mind that if he tried hard enough he could cause the world to welcome millions of copies of his work.” She goes on to compare him to Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, among others.

Alas, rather than getting us closer to the “real Vergil,” Ruden’s biography simply gives another Vergil — Vergil the brooding, sensitive modern writer who sacrifices everything for his art. This leads to problems.

One thing we know about Vergil from Suetonius is that he was frequently ill and rarely “appeared in public in Rome.” We're told this was because his fame made it difficult for him to move about freely in the capital. Ruden claims (and I think she is right) that he also avoided going to Rome because he was shy and committed to his work. But she suggests that he may have even faked illness to avoid social contact and was something of a misanthrope. “I am convinced,” she writes, “that his characters tend to fall short in differentiation and believable thoughts and feelings because he did not like other people much or find their minds reliably interesting compared with his own.” Her further evidence of this misanthropy is that he wrote a lot about nature.

She wants to see Vergil as a modern artist who eschews authority and “civic and professional duty,” but she is at pains to explain how he could be one while also writing an epic poem whose primary purpose was to celebrate the Roman empire. This leads her to make muddled statements like this:

The poet’s quasi-propagandistic work remains worth reading now that all its ideological and cultural assertions but the most universal have been discredited, at least in liberal democratic nations. Modern ethics reject unquestioning religious, filial, and patriotic 'duty,' and most especially the divinely decreed 'fate' of one race to conquer and rule others. But the Aeneid is still running on its literary steam.

This divorce of content and form forces Ruden to identify Vergil’s literary accomplishment with something like verbal decoration. Ruden means it as a compliment when she writes that “Vergil was the only poet” who could “relieve and decorate” the “necessary heavy-handedness” of a “full-length epic poem about the ruling dynasty’s purported ancient foundations.” But this diminishes, rather than heightens, Vergil’s accomplishment. Immediately after this, she admits that Vergil and Augustus likely did not disagree on the work’s “major themes.” So why divorce those themes from style and prosody in the first place?

Even more problematically, Ruden suggests that several of the poems of the Appendix Vergiliana , a supposed collection of Vergil’s juvenilia that many scholars dispute, were indeed written by Vergil because it is implausible that he would not leave a record of his development. Why? Because Vergil was more of a modern poet than an ancient one. “If Vergil was, as he appears to have been,” Ruden writes, “a modern type of conspicuously isolated author with an independent, obsessive drive to perfect certain literary forms, rather than the typical ancient author who wrote for public occasions and communal edification, then a large archive makes sense.” Talk about begging the question.

Ruden even wonders whether Vergil became so obsessed with perfecting the Aeneid that Augustus became paranoid and killed him. Vergil died of heatstroke in Athens, which doesn’t make much sense according to Ruden. “If the Romans knew anything, it was how to deal with hot climates," she continues. "Did Augustus, alive to the difficulties of either controlling or sidelining the popular, well-liked author who had written the great national poem but then fled the nation, turn his mind to the advantages of Vergil’s bad health worsening to a lethal degree? ... Was treatment of Vergil’s condition withheld? Or was sunstroke a cover story for something else? Was there something in Vergil’s refreshments?”

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She quickly adds that this is all “speculative reconstruction.” A better phrase for it is “pure speculation.” The only thing she insists on is that the ancient account of his death doesn’t make sense.

Fine. But why not leave it at that? Because word counts must be met, I suppose, for book contracts to be kept.

Micah Mattix is a professor of English at Regent University.

Tags: Books , Book Reviews , Media , Literature , History , Roman Empire

Original Author: Micah Mattix

Original Location: How to write a biography without biographical information

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How Companies Should Weigh In on a Controversy

  • David M. Bersoff,
  • Sandra J. Sucher,
  • Peter Tufano

best person to write a biography on

Executives need guidance about managing their organizations’ engagement with societal issues—including hot-button topics such as gender, climate, and racial discrimination. Success in this realm does not mean avoiding public controversy or achieving unanimous support among key stakeholders, the authors write. Rather, it results from adhering to certain processes and strategies, which they have derived from recent global survey research along with examples from managerial best practice.

They offer an approach that is anchored in data but sensitive to values and context. It can be helpful in figuring out which issues to address and how; in ameliorating disappointment among stakeholders; and in managing any potential blowback.

Data can tell you what your various stakeholders care about, they write, but judgment is necessary to act in careful consideration of conflicting preferences while being consistent with your company’s values.

A better approach to stakeholder management

Idea in Brief

The challenge.

Given today’s widespread social and political polarization, executives need better guidance as they navigate hot-button topics such as gender, climate, and racial discrimination.

The Insight

Success at handling these subjects does not mean avoiding public controversy or achieving unanimous support among key stakeholders.

Executives can take stands on issues and skillfully address both internal and external pushback if they acquire a more sophisticated understanding of their stakeholders’ concerns.

On April 1, 2023, just as the March Madness college basketball tournament was getting underway, the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney uploaded a sponsored post to Instagram to promote Bud Light. The backlash was immediate and cut deep. The beer brand was condemned by social conservatives across the United States, who launched a boycott.

  • DB David M. Bersoff is the head of research at the Edelman Trust Institute, a think tank dedicated to advancing the study of trust in society.
  • Sandra J. Sucher is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. She is the coauthor of The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, and Regain It (PublicAffairs 2021).
  • PT Peter Tufano is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School , senior advisor to Harvard’s Salata Institue for Climate and Sustainability, and a former dean of Said Business School at the University of Oxford.

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    Conventional structure: Charlie Chaplin's My Autobiography begins at the beginning: "I was born on 16 April 1889, at eight o'clock at night, in East Lane, Walworth.". This springs out of the Victorian literary instinct to tell the whole story of a person's life, from beginning to end.

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    How to Write a First-Person Bio. Writing in the first person can be a great way to connect with your audience when building a personal brand. When you write a first-person bio, use "I" or "me" to make yourself relatable and approachable. Here's one way I'd write a first-person bio: "I'm a freelance writer specializing in small business content.

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