Thanks to the folks at Weebly for this great advice on personal websites for job seekers, as well as a bio that tells a story.
There's no better resume than a personal website. In a recent survey, 84 percent of respondents said they received tangible career benefits from their personal site. Elements of a successful online portfolio include clean design, a bio that tells a story, and work samples that show the work you want to do. Here are some tips on how to make your online portfolio shine.
A bio that tells a story
A professional “About Me" page is a great way to show the personality behind your work. This is where you can include additional information that's not in your online resume or in your cover letter, such as your point of view on your profession, your backstory, and your hobbies and interests. After all, you're far more than a list of accomplishments.
For people interested in your work, a cultural fit is often as important as your skills and qualifications. Let them know you're a good match with a bio page that tells a story about what kind of partner you will be to work with.
Reprinted from a recent blog post by Dental Warranty. Thanks, Guys, for the opportunity to contribute to this article!
Mom is looking for a new dentist. Here's a super-easy, super-fast, super-affordable way to make sure she chooses you!
She looked for it, and didn’t find it. She’s on your website, maybe because Google directed her there, or maybe because someone she knows recommended you. But then she goes to your About the Dentist page and finds… nothing. Or an old photo with nothing but your name underneath it.
Once someone lands on your website the first thing they look for is information about you, the provider. At this point, they assume you’re a good dentist and will only delve further into your credentials and experience once they have some idea of who you are as a person. Your bio is the perfect way to let potential patients know more about you, as a clinician and a human being. Even better, a good bio (and professional photo) is one of the most affordable, if not free, marketing tools available to you.
Read entire article here.
One of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure as a professional bio writer, is all the interesting and talented people I get to 'meet'.
Of course they, and probably you, don't think they're interesting. I hear it all the time -- "There's nothing really unusual or unique about me."
I beg to differ, which is why it's a good idea to let an objective professional write your bio for you, especially if any of the following common statements sound familiar:
Professional bio writers like me know how to deal with all these issues, because we've done it hundreds of times before, and I, for one, have never written a bio for someone who is not interesting, or talented, often far, far more than they believe.
One of my favorite comments after someone takes advantage of my professional bio writing services is this: "Wow, you made me sound really good!" (Hint, it wasn't me.)
So if you're in need of a professional bio, consider asking a professional bio writer to help. The investment is minimal while the return -- a professional bio that represents you well -- is priceless.
Often, when I am writing a bio, the person I am writing it for worries that they will a): come across as too 'cocky', or b): they will come across as less competent than the next guy.
My response is always the same: tell what you do with confidence, and don't worry about the next guy.
That's why this article caught my eye, as it applies to writing a bio just as much as it does giving a speech, or attending a job interview. Do any of these undermining phrases creep into your speech at times?
Words and Phrases that Undermind Your Authority, By Laura McMullen, U.S. News
We think this article should basically cover the kind of important aspects of the way we talk in the workplace. It's just that some words can actually make you sound sort of bad. Does that, like, make sense?
The words we use in the workplace are significant, and some make you sound weak. Career and presentation experts suggest you think twice before uttering these words and phrases:
"I think," "I feel" and "I believe"
Take a look at the following examples: "I think you'll be impressed with our final product." "I feel like option A is the better choice." "I believe we should be able to meet that Friday deadline." Why the buffer? In the first two sentences, of course they're your thoughts and feelings you're expressing, and by immediately stating the obvious, you dilute the power of the rest of your statement. When possible, nix those unnecessarily conditionals for a more assertive, assured sentence: "You'll be impressed with our final product," and "Option A is the better choice."
This nip and tuck isn't always an option, though. For forward-looking statements you don't want to guarantee, like the Friday deadline example above, Jerry Weissman, founder and president of Power Presentations Ltd., suggests replacing "think," "believe" and "feel" with what he calls "power conditionals," such as: "I'm confident/convinced/optimistic we'll meet that Friday deadline." Or: "We expect to meet that Friday deadline."
Read Laura's entire article here.
I am always interested in reading about tips that help people get hired, whatever their age. But it is harder for people over 50, which is why this article caught my eye. When helping people write their bios, I always advise again including their age, unless they are the world's youngest astronaut or oldest snowboarder. This article gives excellent advice on how to deal with the age issue in an interview, as well as two other 'elephants in the room' you may need to address. Here is a portion of what Mary has to say, with a link to the full article.
By Mary Eileen Williams, Author, 'Land the Job you Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers over 50'
Are you over 50 and feeling frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the job market? Do you think you're being overlooked simply because of your age? Are you tired of seeing the jobs go to younger, less experienced applicants? If so... read on!
There is little doubt that age bias is out there. In fact, many younger employers hold three main objections to hiring mature workers:
Read the full article here.
This is an excellent article, and has lots of good advice for someone who is writing a bio as well.
By Emily Brandon, U.S. News, March 23, 2015
It can be especially challenging to find a new job in your 50s and 60s. The unemployment rate for older workers is lower than that of younger workers, but once out of work, older workers seem to have greater difficulties landing a new position. The average duration of unemployment for job seekers age 55 and older was 54.3 weeks in December 2014. That's over five months longer than the 28.2 weeks younger workers remain unemployed, according to an AARP Public Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Here are some strategies to find a new position after age 50.
Start your job search right away. Don't wait until your unemployment runs out to start looking for a new position. "It does seem like prospects are best for the unemployed as soon as they leave their jobs, so it might be a good idea to start job searching in earnest right at the beginning, rather than easing into job searching while on unemployment," says Joanna Lahey, an associate professor at Texas A&M University who studies age discrimination. A large gap on your resume and a growing sense of frustration with the job search process can make it even more difficult to get hired again.
Read the entire article here.
I came across this interesting article on common phrases even those of us who write for a living might misuse. But what really got my attention is the Correcta tool mentioned in the article. What a great idea! When working with people who are writing their bio, I always recommend they have a third party read them before sending them out. Correcta sounds like it would work well!
Just for fun, see how many of these 20 phrases you may be misusing!
By Christina Desmarais, Contributor, Inc.com
When you hear someone using grammar incorrectly do you make an assumption about his or her intelligence or education? There's no doubt that words are powerful things that can leave a lasting impression on those with whom you interact. In fact, using an idiom incorrectly or screwing up your grammar is akin to walking into a meeting with messy hair. That's according to Byron Reese, CEO of the venture-backed internet startup Knowingly. The company recently launched Correctica, a tool that scans websites looking for errors that spell checkers miss. And the business world is no exception. "When I look for these errors on LinkedIn profiles, they're all over the place--tens of thousands," he says.
Correctica recently scanned a handful of prominent websites and you might be surprised at how many errors it found. Here is Reese's list of the some of the most commonly misused phrases on the Web.
Read Christina's entire article, here.
I see it all the time as a copywriter for dental websites — the “About the Dentist” page says “Coming Soon,” or it has a picture of Dr. Who with no information. I’m always tempted to pick up the phone and encourage Dr. Who to complete his or her bio, because the About the Dentist page is the first page potential patients read.
People looking for a dental provider want to know about you before they make any financial or emotional investment in you or your practice. They assume you’re good at your job, and will only delve deeper into your qualifications after they learn more about you as a person. Having a blank “about” page, or a picture with no information, is a huge waste of a free marketing and bonding opportunity.
I’ve heard all the reasons dental practices don’t have bios. It’s also common for them to have bios, but they haven’t updated them since the practice was formed. The top reasons I hear for no bios are:
Please read the full article here, as published in Dentistry iQ
I get the opportunity to review lots of bios from people who buy my Bio Review Service. I can honestly say they often leave me very little do to - a tweak here or there, but by following the guidelines in my "How To Write A Great Bio" e-book, they almost always come up with a really good bio on their own.
Having said that, I do often see other easy-to-make mistakes that lessen the ultimate impact of their bio that have nothing to do with the content, but with the 'packaging'.
Here a 5-point checklist of things to avoid, and not just in your bio, but across the board:
Take a few minutes to avoid these easy-to-make mistakes, and you will vastly increase your chances of your bio being found, read, and appreciated.
This excellent article by Neil Patel, an internet marketing guru and entrepreneur, has a lot of good advice for bio writers as well. You can read Neil's About Me page here.
Read Neil's entire article, How to Create the Perfect About Page, here.
Many of the bios I write, or review, are for About Pages, therefore I wanted to share some of what Neil had to say that is relevant to writing a great bio for your own About Page or online profile.
Don't write just about yourself.
Your About Page doesn’t have to focus completely on you. Sure, it can include your personal story, but it’s wise to focus on how you solve a problem for your readers.
Use a headline.
Every pages needs a headline, and your About Page is no exception. Make it clear, simple and descriptive of what you do. For example, my About Page headline is: Learn more about Jill Townsend, and why she loves writing bios!
Use a photo.
Usually of yourself, but it could also be a logo or relevant image.
Tell your story.
As well as telling people what you do, tell them how you got to where you are, warts and all. People love stories about other people. Don't overpraise or be overly critical.
Include a call to action.
Where do people go after they read your About Page? Don't leave this to chance, guide them with a call to action. This could be an opt-in form, a link to your blog, or something else, Just make sure it provides value to your readers.
Consider color and font choice.
Some colors and some fonts are more reader-friendly than others. Keep that in mind and go for simple over complex.
Use a conversational tone.
About Pages are not resumes, and should not read like them. As Neil says,
"You want your About Page to build a connection with your target audience and influence their decision-making process. A great way to do that is by using a conversational tone and evoking emotion with the words you choose."
There's lots more good information in Neil's article, but just remembering these few will go a long way toward ensuring your About page or bio is as effective and professional as you want it to be.
If you would like help writing your About page or bio, please contact me. I have several bio writing options to offer. See them here.
Jill Townsend is the author of "How to Write a Great Bio", an e-book with tips on writing a good bio fast, and with confidence.