Yesterday I showed you how to write a simple business bio in 5 steps. Today I’ll help you refine what you have by looking at some dos and don’ts.

Animated Blocks spelling out "Dos & Donts"

DO write in the 3rd person.

It’s standard to write your bio in the third person. A bio written in the third person (that is, using “he” and “she” rather than “I”) can be used as is in event programs and other printed literature. It’s also preferable for bios to be in the third person on a website that features several people in the About section. (Mine is in the first person, but I am the only person on this site.) What’s even worse than writing a bio in the first person? Mixing first and third in the same bio. Stick to third person.

DO keep it succinct.

This is a business bio, not your autobiography. Keep to the point. A short bio should give the reader a little insight into you and your background, and hopefully spark some interest in your work. If you want to write a longer bio that includes your hopes and dreams, how you got to where you are, and all the irrelevant (but interesting) things you did before your current position, go for it. But a short business bio is not the place for it.

DO keep it real.

This is also not the place to editorialize, exaggerate, or use hyperbole. If you say “Janet Moreno sells the best fudge brownies in North America” then you’d better back that up with something like “according to the 2012 survey of the Brownie Society of America.” Even something that seems innocuous, like “Mr. Petrowski is a graduate of the prestigious Wharton School,” is too much. If it’s prestigious enough, people will have heard of it.

DON’T be too modest.

No, you don’t want to exaggerate, but you do need to mention your great accomplishments. When someone has finished reading your bio, the ideal reaction should be, “Wow, I’d love to do business with this person.”

DON’T use jargon.

This bio will probably be read by people outside your industry. Don’t assume that they know the lingo you use on a regular basis. Also, make sure to spell out acronyms unless they are extremely common.

DON’T forget to proofread

Put your bio away and come back to it a day or two later to catch mistakes you didn’t see the first time. Or have a professional do it!

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