It’s that time of year again—summer job and internship application time. Though your interview and cover letters are essential in the job-hunting process, your bios on Twitter, LinkedIn and your personal website are important parts of how you’re represented on the Internet. You probably have accounts on a bunch of different social media, and you can use them to your advantage!
A great bio displays your personality and professionalism year-round, and it’s also a quick and easy way for you to garner interest from potential employers, bringing you one step closer to the job of your dreams. Here are the most important things you need to know when writing different types of professional bios.
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how big an impact using a professional tone can make in your LinkedIn bio. LinkedIn is the perfect medium for getting your feet wet in the professional world, so be sure your bio fits the bill and doesn’t include sarcasm, witty comments, humor or quotes. Make your LinkedIn bio sharp and clean, not personal.
Describe who you are
The purpose of a professional bio is to “showcase your strengths and what differentiates you from others,” says social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer. He says that doing this can be challenging because as college students, we may not have a lot of prior experience. To differentiate yourself from other college students, Schaffer suggests you include what you’ve studied, what you excel at and any awards you’ve won or great academic successes you’ve achieved.
According to Schaffer, a keyword qualifies as “any word associated with your experience that would be valuable for the next job that you have.” Recruiters and hiring managers “search LinkedIn or they search word resumes looking for certain keywords.”
Keywords describe what experience you’ve had or what experience you’re looking to gain (e.g. journalism, graphic design, film production, business). Slip these into your LinkedIn bio to attract the attention of potential employers who use searches to find candidates who possess the qualities or skills they’re looking for.
LinkedIn bio example
Junior majoring in marketing at New York University with an interest in business, PR and social media. Seeking a summer internship to apply my experience assisting a company’s branding needs through social media promotion, digital marketing and ad sales research.
- Social networking
- Microsoft Office
- Public speaking
Include the most relevant information
Marta Steele, partner at PeopleResults, a change and human resources consulting firm, says that the biggest difference between a LinkedIn bio and a Twitter bio is the length. She notes that because Twitter only gives us 160 characters, we need to “make it punchy and to the point.”
It’s also a smart idea to put your college name, your graduating year and any awards you’ve received into your bio. Schaffer says that occasionally recruiters will check out your Twitter profile, so it should be very clear “who you are, where you are in your career right now and what you’re looking for.”
Add some personality, but not too much
It’s okay to add a little tidbit at the end of your Twitter bio about your favorite sports team, your heritage or what have you (e.g. “Puerto Rican, Red Sox fan, chocoholic”). However, Andrew Hindes, president of The In-House Writer, an L.A.-based copywriting service, advises you not to get too cute when writing your bio.
“Try to be focused on really what you’re interested in in terms of your professional career,” Hindes says. The less fluff you include in your bio, the better.
Link to your blog and/or LinkedIn page
Because your Twitter bio is so short, it’s a good idea to link to your other social media websites (e.g. your blog, personal website or LinkedIn page) on your page. Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success, notes that “people will use different networks to find you,” and the easier it is to do so, the better. This also allows job recruiters to get a quick taste of who you are in your Twitter bio and follow up on your personal website or LinkedIn page if they’d like to.
Twitter bio example
@nyuniversity ’15. Marketing major. @HerCampus contributing writer. Aspiring marketing consultant. Social media fiend. Lakers fan.
Personal Website or Blog Bio
Keep it all consistent
You likely have accounts on many different social media sites, and it’s important to represent yourself similarly on all sites. Schawbel says you need to “make sure everything you do online is consistent.” Regardless of the varying tones and lengths of your other online bios, your personal website or blog bio should tie it all together and keep it uniform. This credits you as professional and reliable and is the easiest way to show what you know.
Stick to what you know best
You may know about a lot of different things, but don’t represent yourself as someone who knows everything. Hindes stresses that employers want to find people who know exactly what it is they want to do. If you do have multiple strong skills or desired career paths, Hindes suggests creating several different websites so you don’t clutter your bio with too much extra information.
Schawbel adds that it’s crucial to specify precisely what you are good at and interested in. “If you try to be all things to all people, you get ignored,” he says.
Show your passion
Your personal website or blog is the perfect place for you to mix the professional and the personal without a character limit. Steele urges students to promote their individuality; she suggests that your personal website bio should “tell an interesting, unique story with a few sentences, excellent grammar and concise language.”
In terms of appealing to job recruiters, Hindes recommends “[making] up for what you lack in experience with your passions and dedications.” This means adding a sentence or two about your favorite pastimes or hobbies, because although you may not have a great deal of experience, employers like seeing that you have motivation and passion for what you do in your everyday life.
Personal website/blog bio example
Laura Reed is a junior at New York University. She is working towards her earning her degree in marketing and hopes to find a job after graduation that will allow her to apply her knowledge of consumer behavior with her love of sports. She hails from Los Angeles, where she grew up a die-hard Lakers fan and subsisted solely on a diet of In-N-Out and Pinkberry. Last summer, Laura interned for XYZ, a marketing company in Brooklyn, and gained valuable experience in social media promotion and ad sales research. During the school year, Laura writes for Her Campus, the #1 online community for college women, and is an active member of NYU’s marketing society and drama therapy club. She can be contacted at sample.bio[at]gmail[dot]com.
For all Bios
Finally, remember to proofread! Little grammatical and spelling errors are the fastest way to be seen as unprofessional. You know what they say: you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Your bio can be the key to getting where you want to be in your career, so it’s important that you do all you can to make it a succinct and professional display of your qualifications and your personality. Best of luck this internship season, collegiettes!