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David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

Writing a Professional Biography

Regardless of what your plans are, both as a student and beyond, it is important and necessary to have a biography that reflects who you are as a person and what you have accomplished both academically and professionally.

There are three types of biographies that you will want to have at the ready, which I will detail below. Don’t worry; they all build on each other so it isn’t as bad as it sounds. First, though, I want to give some general rules to follow when writing your biography.

  1. Write in the third person and start with your name
  2. Begin with your current experience and work backward
  3. Mention awards and specific recognition
  4. You may end with one or two personal facts, but try to keep these to a minimum
  5. Avoid exaggeration as much as possible and NEVER lie
  6. A small bit of humor can be acceptable, but don’t over do it

The first type of biography you should have is a micro biography. This is basically once sentence that says who you are and what is currently going on in your life. These work very well for social media sites.

Ronald T. McKearns is currently a student at the University of Rochester majoring in Astrological Philanthropy.

The second type of biography is a short biography. This type of bio is generally up to 100 words and starts with the sentence you created for your micro biography. You then expand on it by including your recent activities and accomplishments. Short biographies are sometimes asked for if you win an award or are otherwise recognized publically. Avoid exaggeration as much as possible and NEVER lie!

Ronald T. McKearns is currently a student at the University of Rochester majoring in Astrological Philanthropy. He has recently completed research on congressional space program funding under the supervision of Dr. Seques Tration. Additionally, etc…

The final type of biography that you want to have on hand is your long biography. This biography will generally be up to one page in length and allows you the opportunity to expand on the activities mentioned in your short bio. These types of biographies can be requested if you win a major award, or sometimes during the application process for various types of programs or scholarships.

Ronald T. McKearns is currently a student at the University of Rochester majoring in Astrological Philanthropy. He has recently completed research on congressional space program funding under the supervision of Dr. Seques Tration. Ronald conducted interviews on Capitol Hill with sitting members of Congress as well as analyzed historical vote records. He was able to show a statistically significant relationship between congressional vacation time and reduced funding for NASA. Additionally, etc…

It doesn't matter what you need it for. A well-written biography will make you appear more professional than you otherwise would have. In many ways, this will be your chance to make a positive first impression. Make sure you are taking the time to put your best foot forward in order to capitalize on every opportunity you can.

Chris Grant
chris.grant@rochester.edu
10/3/13


About the Author

 

Chris Grant


Chris Grant is the Information Analyst at The David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity.


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