Have you been wondering if you need a professional bio? No, we don’t mean a book-length work such as Cash or Red Comet, which profile Johnny Cash and Sylvia Plath, respectively (both are interesting reads). But like those long-form biographies, a good professional bio does tell a story.
In short, a professional bio presents an overview of what you currently do and how you got there. A compelling and well-crafted professional bio also establishes credibility and leaves a lasting impression on potential clients, partners or new colleagues. It’s also a synopsis of your personal brand narrative—and by extension, an important component of any cannabis marketing or PR strategy.
Unlike a resume or CV, it is not intended to provide a comprehensive work history. Rather, it should note your current role and what that entails, along with other relevant work experience and responsibilities that speak to what you are doing now. That relevancy extends to education, achievements, skills and even your day-to-day responsibilities.
Whether you’re a seasoned executive, are moving into a new industry or a recent graduate, a smartly written professional bio will showcase your expertise, values and personality. Consider it a snapshot that demonstrates your integrity and character while also making clear those qualities that differentiate you from your peers.
What Your Professional Bio Should Include
Let’s dive right into what your bio needs to be most effective: The best professional bios are written in third person with a formal (yet friendly and approachable) tone that avoids hyperbole.
But it all starts with a name, right? Begin with your name, job title and your company. Next, grab the reader’s attention with a strong statement that highlights what you do in your role and what motivates you.
Here’s an example:
Jane Smith, Senior Product Developer, TopCat Vapes
Jane Smith drives vaporizer innovation by using her product engineering knowledge to continuously refine all aspects of TopCat’s proprietary hardware, from internal performance to design.
We immediately gain an understanding of what Jane does and we begin to see what sets her apart from others in her field. We also know that she has relevant industry expertise. The next step is to highlight positions in her career that helped her gain that technical expertise and contribute to her current role.
When you describe your past positions, try to highlight key strengths, qualifications and accomplishments. Use quantifiable achievements—but only if relevant—to add credibility. Any particular passion for your work or industry could be included too.
Next, note what brings you a sense of pleasure and purpose outside of the workplace. Outside interests can lead to common ground with readers or offer unexpected context and nuance to a diverse or unconventional professional skill set.
This extends to sharing where you grew up, where you live now, how you spend your free time—with your family, your love of nature, curling up with a good book or taking your dog on fun outings. We’ve even had a client spotlight their “side hustle” as an international breakdancing champion.
Finally, if you think your education is worth mentioning, include it. If it’s not relevant, leave it out. In the cannabis industry especially, education history can be very diverse. Maybe you dropped out of college to start a cultivation site. Maybe you earned an advanced degree from MIT that informs your current work in extraction. Or perhaps you graduated from the proverbial school of hard knocks after involvement with the justice system.
Each scenario has its own value and validity, but it’s up to you to decide how you want to present yourself.
Give the Reader the Best Idea of Who You Are
Remember that a killer professional bio isn't just a list of achievements. It should reflect your values and shed light on your personal journey and career progression—in short, it should tell a story. If you are proud of something, let people know.
Highlighting significant milestones and the lessons you've learned along the way will resonate with readers in different platforms, whether it’s social media sites like LinkedIn, owned media like your brand’s website and news releases, op-eds and commentary, as well as thought leadership in speaking engagements at conferences, trade shows and networking events.
It's essential to include the relevant details, but remember to aim for brevity. A concise professional bio that’s capped at a couple hundred words is more likely to be read and remembered. Not only will it save you money on news releases, which are priced by word count for publication on the wire, it will boost media relationships with editors and journalists who seek insight from trusted sources. A top-notch professional bio also gains credence with event organizers and conference leaders.
Ultimately, your professional bio represents your personal brand, so be sure to do it right.
We’re always ready to talk through your brand’s unique needs and pain points to find a custom solution. But if you aren’t ready to start that conversation yet, check out our cannabis public relations services and cannabis marketing services to learn more about how we transform brands like yours with our proven process.