How to Write a Biography Analysis
Shannon lausch, 29 sep 2017.
A biography analysis differs from an ordinary biography in one key way: instead of focusing on telling a person’s life story, your purpose is to critically examine that person’s life. The analysis can focus on a single aspect such as personality or career or can encompass a person’s entire life. According to Professor Sara Warner, the successful biography analysis has “short segments of narration” and “long sections of analysis.” The analysis itself, Warner advises, should consist of recognizing relationships among different parts of a person’s life, and showing how those parts relate to your overall thesis.
Explore this article
- Research your subject
- Pick your focus
- Craft a thesis
- Write your introduction
- Write the body of your paper
- Proofread the final paper
1 Research your subject
Research your subject. Encyclopedias can help you with an overview, but they lack the details you need for a good paper. When choosing articles and books, be sure to check the author’s credentials. You should also gather primary sources: any diary entries, letters, articles, or even books written by your subject. Newspaper articles written about that person can also provide insight on how the public viewed your figure.
2 Pick your focus
Pick your focus. Choose a certain aspect of this person’s life to focus on (unless of course you’re covering their entire life). Examples of focuses could include analyzing what influence a president’s personality had on his foreign policy or what effect an author’s childhood had on her writing style.
3 Craft a thesis
Craft a thesis. You should make a claim based on this focus. A compelling thesis informs readers why they should care about this topic.
4 Write your introduction
Write your introduction. Some effective ways to open your paper include a relevant anecdote or quote that illustrates your thesis. Just remember to include the thesis itself, which is the most important part of an introduction.
5 Write the body of your paper
Write the body of your paper. Separate each of your reasons supporting your thesis into paragraphs. Support each reason with evidence, which can include expert opinion and writings from the subject himself, and discuss how it supports your thesis.
Conclude by summarizing your main points supporting your thesis. Remind your readers of the importance of your topic. You should also point out whether your biography analysis sheds any new light on this person and what makes it different from other research.
7 Proofread the final paper
Proofread the final paper. Since a biography analysis should have many sources, you should pay special attention to whether you cited everything correctly.
About the Author
Shannon Lausch is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science (with minors in French and journalism) from North Central College. Besides writing for Demand Studios, she enjoys contributing to Associated Content and Helium. Her favorite topics to write on include education, politics and fiction.
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Analyze Sample of a Biography and Learn to Write it
A biography is a non-fiction about a person's or a figure's life. Since it is written from the third point of view, a sample biography aims to give you the knowledge and accurate characterization. It is written after a particular person's narration and research materials, such as recordings, journals, interviews, and press conferences. You can find plenty of biography samples online about old and modern heroes in your local library.
While surfing the Internet , it is very common to find a sample of a biography about a famous person. For example, it is common for people to write about athletes, politicians, founders of a country, artists , or even criminals. It is always interesting to see how writers plot their narratives. By going through different examples of biography, you would feel what it was like to be in their position when the main subject does something that is only known to us through history books.
However, when you learn how to write a biography, remember that it is extremely rare to identify a sample of a biography that would express the subject's feelings. Therefore, all biography samples will only go through the steps the subject has taken throughout their life journey but not how they felt at that moment.
What is a Sample of a Biography?
A biography is a detailed third-person of another person or a historical figure. If the biography is about a person , it will contain all the essential information, such as the date of birth, education, and interests. Biography may also discuss that person's relationship with their family members. For example, it can discuss the subject's life in childhood and how the family members influenced their upbringing.
Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website
Biographies include numerous accomplishments and landmarks of a person. However, it is not just about facts and figures like you see in Wikipedia. It is more than that and discusses great stories from the beginning till the end.
What is the Purpose of a Biography?
When you go through a biography sample, your objective is to learn how to share another person's life with a target audience . For example, some authors may write a biography because they feel that the subject's life has themes that can be applied to life today. On the other hand, some authors have the urgency to write about a person because they need more information about them.
Biographical stories are inspirational as they highlight the achievements of a particular person. Moreover, they identify how the subject overcame difficulties, which gives the readers motivation and signs of encouragement. Similarly, if authors write about corrupt people or criminals, they warn the readers on who not to become.
How to Write a Biography Today?
To write a biography about someone's storyline , you must know more than just the basic facts. A quality sample of a biography goes into the exciting aspects of a person's life, which doesn't just include the achievements, the moments of adversity, and the steps taken to turn the corner. The best biography samples interestingly encapsulate a person's life and give basic personal details to give the viewers an intimate look at the subject. If you want to learn how to write a biography, here are the steps you must follow:
1) Take Permission
Once you have chosen the subject of a biography, you must take permission from your subject to write about their life. Although it may not be necessary in some cases (if the subject is deceased or a public figure), getting information will make your research process easier. If the subject wants you to write a biography on them, they will provide important details about their storyline up front, making your writing piece more compelling.
2) Do Your Research
Regardless of how much information you have about your subject, extensive research is always important to create a thorough picture of a particular person. If they are historical figures or ambassadors, you can talk about the period they lived in and how that period affected their way of life. For example, in the biography of Mohandas Gandhi, there was special mention of his time in South Africa, when he saw people suffering from poverty. It changed his life, and he started to look at people in the same boat as his country from a different perspective.
While doing your research, remember that the authenticity of the sample of a biography depends on two types of sources, i.e., primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are first-hand accounts of your subject's life and tend to be the most reliable. Journal entries, emails, press conferences, and interviews are all examples of primary sources. On the other hand, a primary source can be any authentic information about the subject, such as a personal website , social media account, or professional bio.
On the other hand, secondary information can only be used by the authors if they are proven accurate. In other words, their authenticity needs to be checked before they can be included. Magazines and documentaries are examples of secondary sources.
3) Form Your Thesis
In the sample of a biography, your first paragraph or chapter will inform the target audience about what to learn about the main subject. A thesis will make a declaration, whereas the rest of the biography will provide relevant information to support it.
4) Make a Timeline
When you look at the examples of biography, you will see that they usually structure the main points of a person's life in chronological order. Therefore, you must know the order of key events before writing a biography. It will eventually save you from the desperation of reorganizing your whole story later and achieve peace of mind .
5) Use Flashbacks
When writing the text of your biography, you should create a combination of your subject's school life and professional life. In this case, the best approach is to use flashbacks because it makes your viewers almost feel as if they were with the subject at that moment. In addition, flashbacks make the authors include relevant past information without breaking them down into paragraphs of background exposition.
6) Include Your Thoughts
A biography isn't just about writing facts and figures. It is also about sharing your feelings about the subject's life. For example, if the subject has achieved something unique, you can include content to make viewers understand why that landmark was unique and how it influenced that period. This approach will give you another reason why this subject deserves to be written about.
There are plenty of biography samples you can find on the Internet. However, in recent years, individual biographies, such as movies or plays, have become an art. Individual biographies converted into a movie include the following:
- The Theory of Everything (Stephen Hawking)
- Ford vs. Ferrari (Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles)
- Moneyball (Michael Lewis)
Interestingly, individual biographies are used for some musical plays . For example, a sample of a biography written in 2004 by Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, shows the amazing transformation of biography into musical plays.
Write Biography Samples on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly
Many entrepreneurs have started learning to write a biography about a specific person and post it online. You can provide your readers with quality information by writing quality biographies. Eventually, you can create a name for yourself in the writing world. Strikingly is a high-quality website builder that enables you to establish a home for the sample of a biography. When we talk about biography, Strikingly provides you with the following options:
- Display your biography examples through a simple blog
- Make your sample of a biography the main content of your website
Here are how you can integrate your biography examples in a simple blog:
- Complete your registration on Strikingly
- Add a new section with the help of our website editor
- Finalize the layout for your Simple Blog
- Manage your blog posts appropriately. You can choose to update your existing content or delete the unwanted blogs from your website
If you don't want to publish your biography samples in the form of blog posts , you can also display your biography as the main text of your website. Here is how Strikingly can help you make your biography the focal point of your website:
- Add a new section through our website editor
- Click on "Plain Text."
- Add a quality title before writing your sample of a biography
Even if you are experienced, you must understand that writing a sample of a biography is not a walk in the park for anyone. Whether you want to write biography samples about a person or a historical figure, you must be aware of all the details that make it attractive.
Some authors write samples of a biography because they feel that the subject line is interesting. On the other hand, some authors write biographies because they want to update information on the existing content of a certain person or a figure.
If you are new to writing biography samples, you can rely on Strikingly. We don't just provide you with an avenue to place yourself and your writing but also give you a platform to showcase the storytelling that you have created with time and mind.
If you cannot use the 'Simple Blog' feature or need to integrate your content properly, you can collaborate with our Happiness Officers immediately. Take advantage of Strikingly's features to add a sample of a biography that the next generation would be going through.
IB DP Language A Language and Literature – sample text analysis – biography
Text: Biography. “Vin Diesel.” “https://www.biography.com/actor/vin-diesel
Before analyzing the text make sure to have a look at the following page for a better understanding of how to use the text to help you with your assessments: https://language-literature.com/sample-text-analysis-blog-posts/
Some elements of this text to consider:
- The audience for a fairly brief biography on an action movie star
- Different elements of the text such as the social media links, menu bar, , quick facts, photo of Vin Diesel, etc
- The structure of the main section of the text – brief intro, more in depth intro, then moving on to more information roughly in chronological order
- The register of the text, the complexity of the sentence structure, etc.
- Links to biographies of other actors
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27 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We've Ever Seen [+ Templates]
Published: November 16, 2023
80+ Professional Bio Templates & Examples
Create a compelling professional narrative for a proper, attention-grabbing introduction.
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Your professional bio is not only relevant when applying for jobs, seeking new clients, or networking — it also gives the world a brief snapshot of who you are and your professional ideals.
To help you author one that packs a punch, we’ll teach you how to write a professional bio, give you professional bio templates, and show you the best professional bio examples you can get inspiration from.
Skip to one of these sections if you know what you're looking for:
What is a professional bio?
Professional bio templates, how to write a professional bio, best professional bio examples, how to write a short bio.
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A professional bio or biography is a short overview of your experience. Professional bios usually include details about education, employment, achievements, and relevant skills.
Purpose of Professional Bios
A bio tells an audience about who you are, what you've done, and what you can do. It can help potential employers, fans, or customers get a sense of your personality and what you stand for.
Writing your bio may be hard to achieve without a starting point. Below, we've included professional templates to expedite the process of writing a great bio.
With professional bios, keeping your message honest and to the point is best practice. So how do you write one that will effectively market you and your brand? You use a professional bio template.
By sticking to a predetermined format, all you have to do is fill in the blanks with your most relevant career information. These bio templates will guide you on where you should place your:
- Occupation or job title
- Passions and goals
- Skill set and expertise
- Work history
Of course, while there is no one-size-fits-all template for a professional bio, these templates are a quick way to start building your long or short bio before customizing it.
But before choosing your bio template, there are some key elements to include to ensure yours is effective.
For example, say you're looking for a job. Your professional bio should give recruiters a peek at your career accomplishments and experience.
What if you've recently published a book or are applying for a grant? In those situations, highlight organizations you support or include catchy anecdotes.
And if you’re a recent graduate? A well-written professional bio helps you communicate how your life experience makes you the best candidate for the roles you’re seeking.
Bottom line: Tailoring your professional bio to your goals and who you want to reach will make it more effective.
To structure your professional bio to stay true to these objectives, try our 80+ downloadable professional bio templates — for both short- and long-form bios — to start creating a bio that hits the mark.
What should a professional bio say?
Your professional bio should be as unique as you.
When writing your bio, include important professional roles and achievements. Add your passions, interests, and how you bring your values to your work. Finally, your bio should give readers a chance to know you and reflect your personality.
Here are the elements I recommend including when writing a professional bio:
Professional Roles and Achievements
It's essential to highlight your career roles and achievements in your bio. This can include your current position, previous roles, and notable accomplishments. It will not only help establish your expertise and credibility, but start your bio on the right note.
Passions and Interests
This might not be as essential, but it will help humanize you. Remember: Bios are shared via an impersonal medium, like a screen, and can sometimes feel distant if we don't take the right steps.
Share your passions and interests, whether or not they're related to your work or industry. That way, you can show your enthusiasm and dedication outside of your professional life. Plus, you could potentially find common ground with readers — which is always beneficial.
Values and Work Approach
Your values can sometimes show your work ethic more effectively than your career path. It can also help you endear yourself to employers and colleagues who want to work with people with similar values.
So don't be shy: Share how you incorporate your values into your work. Whether it's a commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, or ethical decision-making, explain what drives you, and be enthusiastic about it.
Don't forget: Your bio should always include a taste of your personality! Your sense of humor, creativity, or collaborative nature could all give readers a sense of who you are. This helps readers connect with you on a more personal level.
Remember to tailor your bio for different platforms and audiences. Also, keep it concise and impactful while highlighting the most relevant information in each context.
Next up, we cover first-person and third-person bios, and when you should use each one.
First-Person Bio vs. Third-Person Bio
While first-person bios are quite common, third-person bios can be more effective in formal situations.
Your decision to write your professional bio in the first or third person depends on your desire to leave a more personable or assertive impression.
Both approaches work, provided you tailor them to your goals and audience. What’s important is to be clear and tell your story in a way that connects with your reader.
How to Write a First-Person Bio
Writing in the first person can be a great way to connect with your audience when building a personal brand. When you write a first-person bio, use "I" or "me" to make yourself relatable and approachable.
Here's one way to write a first-person bio:
"I’m a freelance writer specializing in small business content. I’ve worked with companies in a variety of industries like home care to fine leather goods."
By speaking in the first person here, you connect with a client or brand based on your personal experience and opinions. Put another way, writing a first-person bio is like telling your story to your audience.
Here are a few tips to make your first-person bio great:
Don’t start every sentence with "I."
Showing instead of telling is a great approach.
Let’s say you’re a writer who wants to create a short professional bio. Instead of saying, "I love to write," you can say, "Writer. Bad but enthusiastic dancer."
This portrays your writing skill, shows your personality outside of writing as a dancer, and includes a little sense of humor, which is essential for a writer.
Remember, you know yourself better than anyone.
Adding a back story to your bio helps create context for the roles and successes you write about. Think of it like a case study about who you were, what you are now, and the process that got you to your current position.
Focus on useful details.
Quick facts about you can showcase your identity and values. For example, if you're writing a bio for LinkedIn, think about how you can tie your hobby into what you do.
Let's say Animal Crossing is your hobby. Does it align with your career aspirations? If your goal is to pursue a video game career, it can be a great addition to your bio.
However, if your interests lie elsewhere, including a more relevant hobby is better.
How to Write a Third-Person Bio
Third-person bios sound more authoritative and objective. So, if you’re job searching in a formal industry, applying for grants, or trying to get published, you may want to stick to the third person.
For instance, when you write a third-person bio, you may start with:
"Jasmine Montgomery is a Senior Hiring Manager at L’Oreal based in New York. She recruits across several business units to connect with the brightest talent from around the globe."
By only using your name and pronouns to speak about yourself here, you are letting your title and skill set speak for themselves.
These bios create distance between the subject of the bio (you) and the reader through a third person. This person could be anyone, but they usually speak in a tone that emphasizes their expertise.
This makes third-person bios feel aloof or overly formal sometimes.
Ideally, your third-person bio should sound friendly but polished, like a message from a close colleague at work. Here are a few tips on how to write a great third-person bio.
Write from the perspective of someone you know and trust.
It can be tough to write about yourself, so try to see yourself from the perspective of your favorite person at work or a mentor you trust. This can help you write from a position of authority without feeling self-conscious.
Show the reader why they should trust your opinion.
A professional bio often reflects a specific industry or niche. With this in mind, your text should include relevant details that professionals in your industry know. Avoid jargon whenever you can.
Remember, you're telling a story.
If you want a third-person bio, but you're used to writing in first-person, it may help to write it the way that's most comfortable for you.
Your professional bio is an important piece of writing, so edit it carefully. Edit your writing from both points of view and see which works best for your target audience.
Here's how to write a professional bio, step by step.
- Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.
- Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.
- Mention any associated brand name you might use.
- State your current position and what you do.
- Include at least one professional accomplishment.
- Describe your values and how they inform your career.
- Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.
- Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.
If you’re anything like me, you probably don't think about your professional bio until you’re suddenly asked to "send one over via email."
You have approximately one afternoon to come up with it, so you scramble together a bio that ends up reading like this:
"Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, a CRM platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing."
To be fair, in certain contexts, your professional bio needs to be more formal, like Mr. Erickson's up there. But there are also cases where writing a personable and conversational bio is good.
Whether you choose the formal or casual route, use the following steps to create a perfect bio.
1. Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.
You need an online space to keep your professional bio. Here are a few to consider (some of these you might already have in place):
- Facebook Business page .
- Industry blog byline .
- Instagram account .
- Personal website .
- LinkedIn profile .
- Industry website .
- Personal blog .
As you'll see in the professional bio examples below, the length and tone of your bio will differ depending on the platforms you use.
Instagram, for example, allows only 150 characters of bio space, whereas you can write as much as you want on your website or Facebook Business page.
2. Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.
If your readers remember nothing else about your bio, they should remember your name. For that reason, it's a good idea for your first and last name to be the first two words of your professional bio.
Even if your name is printed above this bio (hint: it should), this is a rare moment where it's okay to be redundant.
For example, if I were writing my bio, I might start it like this:
Lindsay Kolowich is a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot.
3. Mention any associated brand name you might use.
Will your professional bio represent you or a business you work for? Ensure you mention the brand you associate with in your bio. If you're a freelancer, you may have a personal business name or pseudonym you advertise to your clients.
Here are a few examples:
- Lindsay Kolowich Marketing.
- SEO Lindsay.
- Kolowich Consulting.
- Content by Kolowich (what do you think ... too cheesy?).
Maybe you founded your own company and want its name to be separate from your real name. Keep it simple like this: "Lindsay Kolowich is the founder and CEO of Kolowich Consulting."
4. State your current position and what you do.
Whether you're the author of a novel or a mid-level specialist, use the next few lines of your bio to describe what you do in that position. Don't assume your audience knows what your job title entails.
Make your primary responsibilities known so readers can know you and understand what you offer to your industry.
5. Include at least one professional accomplishment.
Just as a business touts its client successes in the form of case studies, your professional bio should let your audience know what you've achieved.
What have you done for yourself — as well as for others — that makes you a valuable player in your industry?
6. Describe your values and how they inform your career.
Why do you do what you do? What might make your contribution to the market different from your colleagues? What are the values that make your business a worthwhile investment to others?
Create a professional bio that answers these questions.
7. Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.
Transition from describing your values in work to describing who you are outside of work. This may include:
- Your family.
- Your hometown.
- Sports you play.
- Hobbies and interests.
- Favorite music and travel destinations.
- Side hustles you're working on.
People like connecting with other people. The more transparent you are about who you are personally, the more likable you'll be to people reading about you.
8. Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.
End your professional bio on a good note — or, more specifically, a funny note. By leaving your audience with something quirky or unique, you can ensure they'll leave your website with a pleasant impression of you.
It's important to follow the steps above when writing your bio, but don't obsess over any one section. People consume lots of information daily. So ensure your bio hooks 'em in the first line, and you won’t lose them.
(P.S. Want to boost your professional brand? Take one of HubSpot Academy's free certification courses . In just one weekend, you can add a line to your resume and bio that over 60,000 marketers covet.)
Why Good Bios Are Important for a Professional
Now you may think, “How many people read professional bios, anyway?”
The answer: A lot. Though there's no way to tell who is reading it, you want it to be catchy. Done right, your professional bio will delight the right people who come across it on multiple platforms.
Professional bios can live on your LinkedIn profile , company website, guest posts, your speaker profiles, Twitter bio , Instagram bio , and many other places.
And, most importantly, it's the tool you can leverage most when you're networking.
Bottom line? People will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it, and whether it makes them care about you, is a matter of how well you present yourself to your intended audience.
So, what does a top-notch professional bio look like? Let's go over a few sample bios for professionals like you and me. Then, we'll cover bio examples from some of the best people in the industry.
Short Sample Bios
Your bio doesn't have to be complicated. Here are five samples to glean inspiration from.
Example 1: Friendly Sample Bio
"Hey! My name is Ryan, and I'm a marketing specialist with a passion for digital advertising. I have five years of experience managing a wide range of online campaigns and improving brand visibility for clients across multiple verticals. I love analyzing consumer behavior and leveraging data-driven strategies to maximize ROI. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, taking funny photos, and exploring new hiking trails."
Example 2: Mid-Career Sample Bio
"Jennifer Patel is a versatile graphic designer known for her creative approach and attention to detail. With a background in visual arts and eight years of experience, Jennifer has worked on diverse projects ranging from logo designs to website layouts. Her ability to understand client needs and translate them into visually striking designs sets her apart. Jennifer finds inspiration in nature, music, and pop culture."
Example 3: Sales Sample Bio
"I'm a seasoned sales executive with a track record of exceeding targets and building strong client relationships. With a background in B2B sales, I've built a natural ability to understand customer needs and consistently exceed quota every month. I pride myself in my communication skills and strategic approaches, which have helped me thrive in highly competitive markets such as SaaS sales. Outside of work, I enjoy playing basketball and volunteering at local charities."
Example 4: HR Sample Bio
"I am a dedicated human resources professional with a passion for fostering a positive workplace culture and facilitating employee development. With eight years of experience in talent acquisition and HR operations, I've played a key role in building high-performing teams. I'm known for my strong interpersonal skills and ability to create inclusive and supportive work environments. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga and exploring new culinary experiences."
Example 5: Software Engineer Sample Bio
"David Chang is a senior software engineer specializing in backend development. With a strong background in computer science and six years of experience, David has successfully built scalable and efficient solutions for complex technical challenges. He is well-versed in various programming languages and frameworks, such as C++, Java, and Ruby on Rails. In his spare time, David enjoys reading science fiction novels and playing the guitar."
Below, we've curated some of the best professional bio examples we've ever seen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the various places where you might describe yourself.
Check 'em out and use them as inspiration when crafting your own.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Author
- Chima Mmeje: SEO Content Writer
- DJ Nexus: DJ
- Lena Axelsson: Marriage & Family Therapist
- Mark Levy: Branding Firm Founder
- Audra Simpson: Political Anthropologist
- Marie Mikhail: Professional Recruiter
- Wonbo Woo: Executive Producer
- Chris Burkard: Freelance Photographer
- Lisa Quine: Creative Consultant
- Nancy Twine: Hair Care Founder
- Trinity Mouzon: Wellness Brand Founder
- Alberto Perez: Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness
- Ann Handley: Writer and Marketer
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie : Author
Bio platform: personal website.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie begins her professional bio with an invitation to her roots.
In a few paragraphs, she describes when and where she was born, her family, her education, her honorary degrees, and the depth of her work, which has been translated into 30 languages and several publications.
Along with her notable writing career, Chimamanda highlights her annual creative writing workshop, which introduces readers to a well-rounded view of who she is as a professional.
From there, her bio seamlessly flows into her recent work and a glimpse into how and where she spends her personal time — the United States and Nigeria.
Finally, Chimamanda’s bio ends with a call to action to read a more detailed biography, giving the reader a choice to read the information available about her life and career.
Why We Like It
- It’s written in the third person, allowing it to show authority.
- It provides a brief but engaging account of Chimamanda’s life and experiences.
- Mentioning her honorary doctorate degrees makes readers know Chimamanda is one of the best writers in the world.
2. Chime Mmeje : SEO Content Writer
Bio platform: linkedin.
A bio with a hook will keep you reading. Chima Mmeje is a freelance SEO copywriter who’s "extremely good at one thing" — helping companies rank for their target keywords.
By leading with a powerful hook that aligns with her target audience’s marketing needs, she’s able to keep readers engaged.
What comes next is a unique differentiator in Chima’s professional bio. Instead of listing accolades, Chima shares a few wins secured for clients.
This nifty section does two things: it builds the readers’ confidence in Chima’s ability to deliver results, and it’s a practical way for Chima to name-drop some clients in her professional bio.
In the body of the professional bio, Chima briefly lists the processes that can help potential clients get a bird's-eye view of what they can expect.
The simple call to action "Drop a message" is a casual invitation to learn more about Chima's services.
- There’s clarity about who Chima serves.
- The hook is bold, catchy, and compels anyone to read further.
- Including client results make clients visualize what they can expect.
3. DJ Nexus : DJ
Bio platform: facebook.
This New England-based DJ has single-handedly captured the Likes of over 2,000 people in and beyond Boston, MA. And even if you don't listen to the type of music he produces, it's hard not to read his compelling Facebook bio.
For instance, consider his tagline, under "About" — " Quiet during the day. QUITE LOUD at night! " DJ Nexus tells you when he works awesomely. I got goosebumps just imagining a dance club in which he might play his music.
DJ Nexus's bio brilliance doesn't stop there.
DJ Nexus links his Facebook account to his personal website , where he has the space to tell the full story of his background. Here's a preview:
In this story, DJ Nexus describes how he got his name, including information about a company he founded before going to college.
This is a terrific lesson for professional bios: Customers want to learn about you. Consider how you might also lead your visitors off your Facebook page and onto your website to learn more about who you are.
- The eight compelling words in the bio pack a punch and grab attention.
- The bio gives off the feeling that DJ Nexus is great at his craft.
4. Lena Axelsson : Marriage & Family Therapist
Bio platform: industry website.
No matter where it lives, your professional bio does not differ from any other persuasive copy. One common mistake people make is thinking of it as its own beast, separate from other pieces of writing.
If you think about it that way, you’d likely write a painfully uninteresting bio.
When you sit to write your professional bio, don’t watch that cursor blinking on the screen. Instead, think about how you would introduce a blog post. You don't dive right into the meat of the thing, do you? No. You start with an introduction.
The best bios are often concise (around 200–300 words), so you don't have a lot of room to play around.
But a single sentence that sets the stage for your reader and provides a context for your accomplishments could make the rest of your bio more persuasive.
Take Lena Axelsson's bio, for instance. She's a marriage and family therapist — a job where empathy and compassion are a big part of the job description.
That's why she opens her bio with a great introductory sentence: "When human beings experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel."
Then, she goes into why she's passionate about her job, how she helps her clients, and how she caters her approach to each patient. The necessary educational information is left for the end after the reader has been hooked.
Your bio doesn't have to be super serious, nor does it have to start with a joke. This bio shows how you can capture your reader's attention by being empathetic and showing how that empathy shapes a valuable professional.
- It summarizes Lena’s background as a therapist, including her approach to therapy.
- The tone of the bio is professional and informative, rather than overly personal or casual.
- The bio focuses on Lena’s audience. This makes readers know that Lena wants to help.
5. Mark Levy : Branding Firm Founder
Mark Levy is a small business owner. While the professional bio on his website takes a traditional approach, it still speaks to Mark’s audience.
What we love about his bio is the way he's set it up: On his business' "About" page, he's listed two biographies, which he's labeled "Mark Levy's Biography #1" and "Mark Levy's Biography #2."
Click here to see the full version .
The first biography is a "short version," which includes a combination of bullet points listing his credentials and a few brief paragraphs.
The second is the "long version," which is even more interesting than the first. Why? It reads like a story — a compelling one, at that. In fact, it gets hilarious in some parts.
The second sentence of the bio reads: "He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books."
Here's another excerpt from the middle:
Of course, the fantastic copywriting isn't a surprise, given that Mark wrote several books. But the conversational tone and entertaining copy let his quirky personality (and great writing skills) shine.
- Mark’s funny and approachable personality shows all over his bio.
- Mark writes his bio in the third person, which positions him as an expert.
- It uses storytelling to humanize Mark and pull the reader into Mark’s world.
6. Audra Simpson : Political Anthropologist
With a classic take on the professional bio, Audra Simpson crafts an overview of her career in just a couple of paragraphs.
She emphasizes the "why" behind her work in the first half of her bio before transitioning to the way she carries out that work in practice.
The second half of her bio combines her body of work and the awards she’s won. This subtle timeline gives readers a picture of her experience in political anthropology without listing her resume in detail.
- Audra’s bio shows how experts can succinctly discuss their years of experience in a few words.
- It proves Audra is an expert political anthropologist.
- It shows Audra’s interests, giving readers a sense of what she likes as a professional.
7. Marie Mikhail : Professional Recruiter
Marie Mikhail checks nearly every box that makes an excellent bio.
A professional recruiter, she expresses her "passion for recruiting" in the first sentence, while using that sentence to hook her profile visitors into a brief story of her background.
But there are a lot of recruiters out there, and Marie knows that.
So, to differentiate herself, she closes the first paragraph of her bio by explaining that she likes "getting people excited about the things [she's] excited about."
It's a well-put value proposition that sets her apart from the rest of the HR industry.
Marie concludes her bio with a smooth mix of professional skills, like her Spanish fluency, and personal interests, such as podcasting and Star Wars (she mentions the latter with just the right amount of humor).
- Straight off the bat, Marie uses a story to share her experiences of how she began as a recruiter.
- It provides a subtle pitch for readers to check out her podcast.
- The bio exudes Maries approachable, fun, and playful personality.
8. Wonbo Woo : Executive Producer
Wonbo Woo is the executive producer of WIRED's video content and has several impressive credits to his name. What does this mean for his professional bio? He has to prioritize.
With this in mind, Wonbo opens his bio with the most eye-catching details first (if the image below is hard to read, click it to see the full copy ).
Not only does Wonbo's bio start strong, but he also takes readers on a suspenseful journey through some of his most harrowing assignments — where he was when news broke and how he responded. You can see this quality below.
The accomplished journalist concludes his gripping bio as strong as it began. He mentions his experience with the states and countries he's visited in his career. Overall, it's a fantastically concise bio for as much detail as it holds.
- The first sentence of the bio leads with authority and instantly gets the reader’s attention.
- The bio dives into the many exceptional projects Wonbo Woo has executed.
- Wonbo Woo uses lots of specificity to pass points across, like WIRED's YouTube channel nearly quadrupled subscribers (+375%) and views (+391%), publishing over 100 videos annually with over a million views each.
9. Chris Burkard : Freelance Photographer
When writing your bio, you don't want to boast while showcasing your accomplishments. Chris Burkard's LinkedIn bio does this well.
Written in third-person, his bio tells a fluid story, starting with his ultimate mission — "capture stories that inspire humans to consider their relationship with nature" — before diving into more tangible accolades (giving a TED Talk, publishing books, etc.).
Best of all, rather than using his bio as an opportunity to brag, he instead ties his talents into how he hopes to help others , writing, "Through social media, Chris strives to share his vision … and inspire [his followers] to explore for themselves."
I wouldn't necessarily be inclined to follow Chris if his bio had simply read, "I post beautiful images." But images that inspire me to travel? Now that's something I can get behind.
Last, he ends on a humble, sweet note: "He is happiest with his wife Breanne raising their two sons." So inject personal information into your bio — it makes you seem approachable.
- It highlights Chris’s achievement without bragging.
- The last sentence portrays Chris as a responsible man who loves his family.
- The well-written bio speaks to nature lovers who like the outdoors, surfing, and more. This gives them reasons to follow Chris.
10. Lisa Quine : Creative Consultant
Bio platform: portfolio website.
Creative professionals who specialize in visual art may find it challenging to balance the writing of their bio and displaying of their portfolio. Not Lisa Quine. Lisa has an exceptional balance of her professional bio and creative work.
Throughout her bio, you’ll notice the number of murals she’s completed and a brief timeline of her career. This helps her paint the picture of who she is as a professional.
- Lisa’s bio checks the box on nearly all of our recommendations for a great bio. She begins with her full name, her location, and what she does best.
- Lisa gets creative by mentioning the brands she’s worked with and highlighting some of her favorite projects.
- Written in the third person, this bio invites the reader behind a metaphorical door to meet Lisa as a professional, traveler, learner, wife, and mother.
11. Nancy Twine : Hair Care Founder
Bio platform: company website.
As Founder and CEO of Briogeo — a popular natural hair care line that's received rave reviews in publications such as Allure and InStyle — there are undoubtedly plenty of accolades Twine could boast about.
But she starts her bio from a humbler place, stating: "Nancy Twine is no newcomer to the beauty-sphere — in fact, she made her first foray into the world of natural product formulation at the ripe age of five."
The rest of her bio similarly focuses on Twine's strengths as someone who's able to take hair care "back to basics."
Similarly, you might use your personal bio as an opportunity to highlight your bigger purpose or vision. As Twine shows, sometimes it's best to keep it simple and let your message resonate with the right audience.
- The bio explains why Twine started her company and what ultimately drives her.
- It uses the founder’s story to connect with its audience.
- Using a video further shows the face behind the brand and helps Twine connect with her audience.
12. Trinity Mouzon : Wellness Brand Founder
From the first sentence, I gravitated toward Mouzon's bio: "I'm obsessed with leveling the playing field."
Mouzon effectively grips the reader's attention with this introduction and then dives into some of her impressive accomplishments — including a brand now sold at Urban Outfitters and Target.
The language used throughout Mouzon's bio is authentic, real, and honest.
For instance, in the second paragraph, she admits:
"While building a brand may have looked effortless from the outside, starting a business at age 23 with no resources or funding quickly forced me to realize that early-stage entrepreneurship was anything but transparent."
- It tells a story and quickly transitions into how Trinity built her brand.
- This bio highlights Trinity’s impressive background, including how she can help her readers start and scale their businesses.
- Focusing on the reader lets Trinity show that a good bio can convert new readers into leads and customers.
13. Alberto "Beto" Perez : Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness
As an avid Zumba fan, I was excited to include this one. Perez styles his LinkedIn bio as a short story, starting with his background as a hard-working teen who held three jobs by age 14.
His bio tells the fun and fascinating origin story of Zumba, in which Perez, an aerobics teacher in Florida at the time, forgot his music for class and used a Latin music cassette tape instead ... "And it was an instant hit!"
His bio continues:
"Shortly after he was connected to Alberto Periman and Alberto Aghion, and Zumba was officially created ... What started as a dream now has 15 million people in more than 200,000 locations in 186 countries who take Zumba classes every week."
Learn how to write your professional bio with more free tips, templates, and inspiring examples.
- Perez tells the story of his business, rather than list out his accomplishments.
- The bio positions Perez as both relatable and inspirational.
14. Ann Handley : Writer and Marketer
If you're a marketer, you've likely heard of Ann Handley. Her list of credentials is lengthy, and if she wanted to, she could go on and on about her accomplishments.
But when people list their accomplishments in their bios, they risk sounding slightly egotistical.
Sure, you might impress a handful of people with all those laurels, but many people who read your bio will end up feeling either intimidated or annoyed. Think about it: Is that how you want most readers to feel when they read your bio?
To minimize the egoism that comes with talking about yourself, think about how you can list out your accomplishments without sounding like you're bragging. Ann does this really well, choosing a tone in her bio that's more approachable.
Best of all, Ann focuses on her readers' challenges and motivations, rather than her own.
For instance, she writes, "Ann Handley writes and speaks about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to achieve tangible results. >And she will inspire you to do work you're proud of. "
Follow the link , and you'll see the page dedicated to a fuller bio, which she's divided into two parts: a "short version" (literally a bulleted list of key facts) and a "long version," which includes traditional paragraphs.
There's something in there for everyone.
- The last section of the bio shows Ann’s warm personality — “Ann lives in Boston, where she is Mom to creatures two- and four-legged.”
- Written in the third person, this bio has lots of proof (like followers), which shows Ann is a terrific marketing leader.
If you're posting a bio on a social media account or sending a quick blurb to a client, you want to keep it short and sweet while showcasing your accomplishments.
To get started, use these best practices for writing your short professional bio:
- Introduce yourself.
- State what you do.
- Add key skills or areas of expertise.
- Include a personal mission statement
- Celebrate your wins.
- Provide your contact information.
- Show them your personality.
1. Introduce yourself.
Your introduction is your first impression, so always begin by telling people who you are. You may start with a greeting like, "Hello, my name is" or "Hi! Let me first introduce myself …" when sending your bio as a message.
If you’re writing a bio for an online platform, stating your name at the beginning works as well.
Leading with your name — even as a question — is important for recognition and building relationships.
2. State what you do.
Give people an idea of what you do daily and where you work. Your job title is how the people put you into context and consider whether your profession relates to their industry.
So detail your most relevant work in your short bios, like CEO, professor, and author.
Take a cue from Angela Duckworth , who specifies what she does in her LinkedIn bio:
If your specialty is writing, your title could be "Freelance Writer," or if it's Help Desk or Information Technology, you may use "Freelance IT Specialist."
3. Add key skills or areas of expertise.
If you send a bio to a client or potential employer, highlight your most valuable skills. For instance, if your expertise is in social media marketing and content creation, like Ivanka Dekoning , list these skills.
4. Include a personal mission statement .
What do you hope to achieve through your work? Why do you do what you do? Answering these questions can help give your bio’s mission statement some direction.
For instance, Farmer Bea has a goal of helping to raise awareness about all things bees.
5. Celebrate your wins.
Your short bio can be a proud showcase of your accomplishments, so add one to two successes you’ve achieved through your skills or mission.
For instance, if you got recognition from industry leaders like Art Critic Jerry Saltz , you can list your wins like his:
6. Provide your contact information.
People who visit your profile or receive your message already know your social media account. But to take business off the app, include your email address, website, or any other professional profiles where they can reach you.
Political Commentator and Sports Correspondent, Angela Rye , shows a great example of this in her short professional bio on Instagram:
7. Show them your personality.
Don’t be afraid to add a bit of charisma to your short professional bio. “Professional” doesn’t have to mean plain. You can best portray your personality through:
- A joke. "Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. At least that’s what I learned when I created…"
- Mention a hobby. "I’ll be honest: for me, tennis is life — Go Nadal!"
- A fun fact. "Every year, I watch 100 new films! I’m a cinephile and love every movie genre."
- A few emojis related to your interests. "🎶🤖🎾🎬🎭"
Whichever way you choose to get personal, give people a glimpse into who you are as an individual.
When writing a short bio, it can be tempting to pack in as much relevant information about yourself as possible — but this isn’t the most effective approach.
Instead, focus on including the details that you and your audience care about most and leave out the fluff.
Let's dive into a few examples of short professional bios.
Short Professional Bio Examples
- Corey Wainwright: Principal Marketing Manager
- Lianna Patch: Copywriter
- Precious Oboidhe: Content Strategist and Writer
- Rebecca Bollwitt: Writer
- Megan Gilmore: Cookbook Author
- Bea Dixon: Feminine Care Founder
- Tammy Hembrow: Instagram Influencer
- Dr. Cody: Chiropractor
- Larry Kim: Founder
- Dharmesh Shah: Founder and CTO
- Lily Ugbaja: Content Strategist
- Ian Anderson Gray: Marketer
- Van Jones: Political Commentator, Author, and Lawyer
1. Corey Wainwright : Principal Marketing Manager
Bio platform: blog byline.
Corey Wainwright is a Principal Marketing Manager here at HubSpot. She's written content for HubSpot's Marketing Blog for years, and her blog author bio caught my eye before I ever started working for HubSpot.
(Back then, it started with, "Corey just took a cool vacation.")
What I love most about Corey's bio is that it's a great example of how to deliver information about yourself without taking things too seriously. And in this context, that's totally appropriate.
Despite having several impressive accomplishments under her belt, she simply doesn't enjoy displaying them publicly. She prefers making her author bio a little "light."
Her bio reads, "Corey is a Bruce Springsteen fan who does content marketing, in that order."
It works in this context because, at HubSpot, our blog authors prefer to make themselves friendly and approachable — while letting their content speak for itself.
It helps that authors' social media accounts are located right below our names and above our pictures. This lets folks click the LinkedIn button and go to the author's LinkedIn page.
( You can read this blog post to learn how to create social media buttons and add them to your website.)
- It’s short and simple.
- It pitches her company’s product as the best CRM software.
- Pairing her perfect smile and the mention of a popular singer — Bruce Springsteen — adds humor to her bio, shows singing may be one of her interests, and makes her appear friendly.
2. Lianna Patch : Copywriter
Lianna Patch is a rockstar copywriter who has written for popular publications like Copy Hackers. What’s striking about Lianna’s bio is that it sums up everything you want in a copywriter.
I mean, see the first sentence of her bio — “Lianna’s greatest dream is to make your customers pause, smile, and click (in that order).”
- It’s punchy and welcoming.
- It shows the outcome companies can get by working with her.
- It has a call-to-action (CTA).
3. Precious Oboidhe : Content Strategist and Writer
I don’t check out an author's byline unless the post is interesting. My guess is you do the same. And most times, you do this because you may be interested in working with the writer.
This is where a short bio that speaks to your needs comes in. An example? An example? Precious' bio that shows off his skills as a freelance content strategist and writer.
- It states that Precious is for hire, causing interested prospects to contact him.
- It includes his website, where prospects can learn more about him.
- People can connect with Precious on social media to learn more about his work.
4. Rebecca Bollwitt : Writer
Bio platform: instagram.
Instagram is a notoriously difficult platform on which to write a good bio. Similar to Twitter, you don't have room for a professional bio that includes everything about you.
And because Instagram is primarily a mobile app, many viewers read about you passively on their mobile devices.
Instagram's limited bio space requires you to highlight just your most important qualities. Blogging icon Rebecca Bollwitt does just this in her own Instagram bio excellently.
Rebecca's brand name is Miss604, and she cleverly uses emojis in her Instagram bio to tell visitors what makes her a valuable content creator. See the screenshot below:
The rest of her bio follows suit, breaking up the text with an appropriate emoji and a perfect collection of nouns to tell me who she is as a person.
She even links out to her husband's Instagram account after the heart emoji (an adorable addition) and assures her followers that all of her pictures are authentically hers.
Take a lesson from Miss604 and show your personal side. Branding yourself as a professional shouldn’t involve discarding many things that make you human . Often, your most personal attributes make for the best professional bio content.
- Using emojis gives off Rebecca as a friendly person.
- Rebecca highlights her most important qualities in a few words.
5. Megan Gilmore : Cookbook Author
Bio platform: instagram.
Megan Gilmore is a best-selling cookbook author. She often posts healthy recipes on her Instagram page and inspires her followers to learn not to sacrifice taste for the sake of health.
You can glean most of this information immediately from her Instagram bio, which is short and to the point: "Gluten-free recipes and meal plans."
Gilmore further includes a CTA link within her Instagram bio that leads followers to free, ready-to-use recipes. You might think, " Why would she do that since it discourages people from buying her book?"
But that couldn't be further from the truth.
By giving her followers the chance to try out her recipes, she's slowly turning leads into customers. After I tried a few of her Instagram recipes and loved them, I bought her book, knowing I'd like more of what she offered.
- The bio is short and direct.
- The CTA link includes an invitation for people to join her newsletter. Meaning, she can build her email list.
6. Bea Dixon : Feminine Care Founder
Bea Dixon, Founder and CEO of The Honey Pot Company, efficiently uses the space on her Instagram profile to highlight who she is as a well-rounded human — not just a businesswoman.
For instance, while she highlights her girl boss attitude with a tiara emoji, she equally calls attention to her fashion interests (Free People), her pets, Boss and Sadie, and her love for ramen noodles.
- It shows who Bea is outside work.
- It includes a CTA that lets people check out everything Bea offers.
7. Tammy Hembrow : Instagram Influencer
Tammy Hembrow is a founder, fitness model, Instagram Influencer, and entrepreneur. These are a lot to fit into one Instagram profile. And this is where a summary of what you do and where people can find you take center stage.
If you wear many hats like Tammy, be sure to mention your biggest traffic driver in your Instagram profile and include a link to all you do.
- It shows Tammy’s core channel besides Instagram — YouTube.
- It includes a CTA that lets people learn more about what Tammy does.
- It links out to other pages owned by Tammy.
8. Dr. Cody : Chiropractor
Dr. Cody is a Sydney-based chiropractor. Like Tammy, Dr. Cody brilliantly uses the limited space on his Instagram profile to convey vital info to his audience.
Adding his TikTok account with almost three million followers is another excellent move.
- No one gets three million followers by doing a poor job. By including 2.9M+ TikTok followers in his bio, Dr. Cody instantly proves his expertise to his audience.
- Including his TikTok handle is a subtle pitch for people to follow his account on TikTok.
- The CTA link is great for those who want to learn more about Dr. Cody’s offers.
9. Larry Kim : Founder
Bio platform: twitter.
Forget about words for a moment. Looking at Larry’s bio, you immediately know what he prioritizes above all else — his family.
This could endear people to him. And don’t forget the inclusion of “Christian” — this instantly shows what he stands for.
- It shows what Larry takes seriously besides work — his family and his faith.
- The popular publications give people a reason to follow Larry.
10. Dharmesh Shah : Founder and CTO
Dharmesh Shah is the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot. Dharmesh’s bio is exciting because it has social proof, gives people a reason to follow him, and shows what people can expect.
- It shows what followers can expect.
- Dharmesh’s warm smile is welcoming, and his personal mission is inviting.
- It calls attention to Dharmesh’s business — HubSpot.
11. Lily Ugbaja : Content Strategist
Look no further than Lily's if you want inspiration for a Twitter bio packed with social proof.
Lily is a content strategist and writer for popular companies like HubSpot, WordPress, and more. When you read Lily’s bio, the second sentence grabs your attention immediately because it shows the result you can get by working with her.
- It has catchy social proof elements.
- It contains a CTA encouraging people to subscribe to her newsletter.
12. Ian Anderson Gray : Marketer
Details matter, especially when there’s a cap on the number of words you can use to express yourself.
For instance, the funny and impactful bio of Ian Anderson on his Twitter page reads:
"Dad & Husband. Confident Live® Marketing Podcast 🎧 & Show 🎥 Helping you level up your impact, authority & profits through the power of Confident Live Video."
What more do you need to know?
Ian doesn't take his bio too seriously but uses every character to highlight everything about him.
He includes his skill as a marketer and podcast host, who he is outside work as a dad, and what he can help you do. His smiles also give the bio a sense of humor and realness.
- It highlights everything about Ian in a few words.
- It includes a CTA to check out Ian’s podcast.
- It shows Ian’s fun personality, an important trait for podcast hosts.
13. Van Jones : Political Commentator, Author, and Lawyer
Someone known for various talents and skills may find it difficult to capture who they are in a professional bio. The feat is nearly impossible when limited to just over 100 characters on Twitter.
But Van Jones effortlessly explains who he is and why it matters to everyone who visits his Twitter profile.
He starts his professional bio with a token of personalization and prioritization of his values. By mentioning that he is a dad first, we recognize what’s important to him in his long list of successes.
As we’ve seen in other bios, sharing who we are outside of work makes us more personable and should find its way into your bio, if possible.
What’s great about Van’s Twitter bio is his ability to link valuable offerings to his readers. He invites us to check out his latest book and has his website magiclabsmedia.com linked at the top.
- It includes a CTA.
- It shows Van’s personality and what he cares about.
- It shows one of Van’s accomplishments as a 3X NYT bestseller.
Create Your Own Professional Bio
Prim and proper, relaxed, or studded with accomplishments, your bio reflects your best professional self. Your professional bio will often precede your physical presence. Before people meet you for the first time, they’ll probably read your bio.
Whether you’re creating an about page for your website or social media profile, one thing’s for sure: You’ll want to put your best foot forward with a top-notch professional bio.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Imagine what it would be like to experience someone else's life. To relive the life of someone who has accomplished things or has experiences that stand out as unique and exciting. To know the secrets behind someone else's success, their motivations, feelings, struggles and failures. Well, that is exactly what a biography allows its readers to do. By reading a biography, readers get to experience someone else's life from birth to death. This article looks at the meaning of biography, its different formats and features, and a few notable examples to add to your reading list.
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Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken
Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.
Imagine what it would be like to experience someone else's life. To relive the life of someone who has accomplished things or has experiences that stand out as unique and exciting. To know the secrets behind someone else's success, their motivations, feelings, struggles and failures. Well, that is exactly what a biography allows its readers to do. By reading a biography, readers get to experience someone else's life from birth to death. This article looks at the meaning of biography, its different formats and features, and a few notable examples to add to your reading list.
The word 'biography' is a combination of the Greek words 'bios', which means 'life', and ' graphia', which refers to 'writing'. Simply stated, this means that a biography is a written account of someone else's life.
Biography: a detailed written account of a real person's life authored by a different person.
The subject of the biography, that is, the person whose life the biography is describing could be a historical figure, a celebrity, a politician, an athlete or even an ordinary person with a life full of stories worth telling.
A biography is a factual recording of a person's life from their birth to death (or the time that the biography is being written). It contains detailed descriptions of the person's childhood, education, relationships, career and any other key touchstone moments that defined that person's life. Hence, a biography is a non-fictiona l form of writing.
Non-Fiction : Literature that is based on real-life events and facts, rather than imagination.
The first-ever biographies can be traced back to Ancient Greece and Rome, where people celebrated gods as well as notable men by writing about their personalities and life's accomplishments. Plutarch's Parallel Lives , published about 80 A.D, is the earliest ever recorded biographic work written solely about humans. In this work, Greeks are paired with Romans and are held up against each other and compared, with one being a good example to follow whilst the other's life serves as a cautionary tale
A biography is a written account of a person's life written by someone else. In this case, the subject, that is, the person the biography is written about is NOT the author or the narrator of the biography. Usually, the author and narrator of a biography, also known as the biographer, is someone who takes a great deal of interest in the subject's life.
A biography is usually written in a third-person narrative voice. This distance from the subject and their experiences allow the biographer to view the subject's experiences in the larger context of their life by comparing them to other experiences or analysing the impact of certain experiences on the subject's personality and life.
Now that we know what a biography is, what is an autobiography? The hint lies in the word 'auto', which is a Greek word meaning 'self'. That's right! An autobiography is a self-written biography.
Autobiography: a written account of a person's life, written by the person themselves.
In an autobiography, the subject of the biography and the author are the same person. Hence, an autobiography is usually when the author is narrating their own life story, in the way they experienced it themselves. They are written in first-person perspective.
Here is a table summarising the difference between a biography and an autobiography:
Features of a biography
Although every biography is different in the sense that its content is unique to the life of its subject, all biographies have several building blocks.
The success of a biography is largely dependent on its subject.
While choosing a subject, biographers must consider why this person's story would be of interest to the reader. Perhaps this person was extremely successful, or perhaps they discovered something new? Maybe they've had experiences that are unique or faced struggles and conquered them in a way that is inspiring and motivational. Biographies are all about making the mundane and everyday sound interesting and new.
While reading a biography, readers should get the sense that they are reliving the life of their subject. This requires a great deal of detail and accuracy from the biographer, who must gather enough information on their subject to paint a complete picture of their life.
Biographers most often use primary sources such as interviews with the subject and their family and friends to provide first-hand accounts of the subject's life. However, in cases where the subject is dead, the biographer may use their diary, memoirs, or even secondary sources such as news stories and articles about them.
- Key background information
The most essential part of research for a biographer is gathering all the key background information about their subject. This includes the following factual details about their subject:
- The date and place of their birth
- Their family history
- Their language, culture and traditions
- Key stages in their education and career
- Knowledge and history about the various settings in the biography- the subject's birthplace, home, school, office etc.
- Relationships with other people (and relevant details about these people)
Most biographies begin with a description of the subject's early life, which includes their childhood and early education, their upbringing, stories about their parents and siblings and their familial traditions and values. This is because the early developmental stages of a subject's life usually play a significant role in shaping later events in their life, their personality and worldview.
- Professional life
Just as important as it is to share the subject's early life, biographers place special emphasis on their subject's career. This is because this is the part where the subject's contribution to the world is discussed. This could serve as a major inspiration for people who are building a career in the same field, as readers could gain insight into the subject's motivations, secrets, successes and losses throughout their professional journey.
Typically, biographies follow a chronological order where they begin with the subject's birth and end with either their death or the present time. However, flashbacks are often used to show connectivity between the subject's early experiences and adulthood.
A biographer is not only responsible for presenting a factual recording of events in their subject's life but is also responsible for adding life to these moments by elaborating on the person's experiences and intimate thoughts and feelings during these moments. The best biographers are able to recreate their subject's life in the way that that person lived it.
Oftentimes, the biographer even provides their own opinions on the events they are detailing in the biography, perhaps to explain how these moments were significant to the subject and should be of significance to the reader.
Usually, a biography carries with it an important life lesson that it imparts to its reader. Biographies, where the subject has encountered several hardships, may advise the reader on how to overcome adversity and deal with failure. Biographies of successes can teach the reader how to achieve their goals and may become a source of inspiration and motivation for them.
While all biographies work to present the life of real people, biographers can follow different formats while writing them. A few important ones have been discussed below.
- Modern biography
A modern or ' standard' biography details the life span of someone who is still alive or who passed away very recently. Usually, it is done with the permission of the subject or their family.
Journalist Kitty Kelley published His Way (1983), a highly detailed biography on the American singer and actor Frank Sinatra. However, this biography was unauthorised by Sinatra, who tried to stop its publication but failed. The biography consists of government documents, wiretaps, and interviews with Sinatra's colleagues, family and friends and was considered extremely revealing and controversial.
- Historical biography
Historical biographies are written on historical figures who have passed away and seek to highlight their life and contributions during the time in which they were alive. Sometimes they provide a look into the personal lives of famous historical figures or even shine the spotlight on people who were not recognised for their contributions.
Alexander Hamilton (2004) by Ron Chernow is a famous example of a historical biography written about Alexander Hamilton, one of the revolutionary founding fathers of the United States. The biography details Hamilton's contribution to America's birth by painting him as a patriot who made countless sacrifices to lay the foundations of a prosperous and powerful country.
In fact, no immigrant in American history has ever made a larger contribution than Alexander Hamilton.
- Ron Chernow
- Critical biography
Critical biographies usually tend not to focus as much on the personality or personal life of their subjects but are centred around their professional work, which is evaluated and discussed in the biography. In case matters where the subject's personal life has intervened in their work, these are then addressed as inspirations or motivations behind their work. These biographies usually contain less description and storytelling from the biographer. Instead, the biographer's skill is required in selecting, labelling, and arranging all the work created by their subject.
In 1948, Doughlas Southall Freeman won his second Pulitzer Prize for publishing the most comprehensive biography of George Washington (1948-57). The entire biographic series consists of seven well-researched volumes, each containing objective facts on George Washington's entire life span.
As discussed before, this is a self-written biography where the author narrates stories from their own life. The autobiographer is the subject and the author of the biography.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) is the first edition of a seven-volume autobiographical series written by Maya Angelou . It details her early life in Arkansas and her traumatic childhood, where she was subjected to sexual assault and racism. The autobiography then takes us through each of her multiple careers as a poet, teacher, actress, director, dancer, and activist and the injustices and prejudices she faces along the way as a black woman in America.
Fig. 2 - Maya Angelou, the author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
Yes, you heard that right! There are some instances where writers incorporate fictional devices in biographies to create biographies that are more entertaining rather than informative. W riters of this Style may weave in imagined conversations, characters and events in their biographies. Sometimes, writers may even base an entire biography on a fictional character!
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (2013) is a fictionalised biography where writer Theresa Anne Fowler imagines the life of Zelda Fitzgerald and F. Scott Fitzgerald from the perspective of Zelda herself and details the glamourous yet turbulent married life of the couple that defined the Jazz Age (1920s) .
Biographies can seem extremely tedious and uninteresting to those who enjoy fictional writing. However, here are a few notable examples of biographies that employ creative storytelling techniques to both inspire and entertain their readers.
- Steve Jobs (2011) by Walter Isaacson
This is one of the most classic examples of a well-researched and written biography. This biography by renowned biographer Walter Isaacson is based on more than 40 interviews over two years with Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, alongside other first-hand accounts provided by Jobs' family, friends, colleagues and even competitors. The biography takes readers through Jobs' creative journey and passion for technology and provides inspiring lessons on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and success.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot
This biography is the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells were taken for medical research in 1951 without her consent. Lacks' cervical cancer cells were later discovered to be an immortal cell line that could be used to study the effects of poisons, drugs, hormones and viruses on cancer cells without human trials.
This biography honours Henrietta's contribution to science and serves as an example of how literary works can start a discussion on ethical issues regarding race and class in medical research.
Christopher Johnson McCandless disappeared in 1922 while hitchhiking in Alaska. Later, his dead body was found in an abandoned bus on the same hiking trail with no obvious cause of death. So a year later, biographer Jon Krakauer retraced McCandless' steps by going through anecdotes from his journal and pictures in his camera to hypothesise what led McCandless to undertake such a dangerous journey that ultimately resulted in death. Through the course of the biography, Krakauer realises the many parallels between McCandless' personality and childhood experiences and his own. The biography discusses the struggles of finding oneself whilst being accepted into society.
Biography - Key takeaways
A biography is a detailed written account of a real person's life authored by a different person.
A biography is a written account of someone's life by someone else, whereas an autobiography is a self-written account of one's own life story.
- Fictional biography
- Into the Wild (1996) by Jon Krakauer
- Alexander Hamilton (2004) by Ron Cherno
- Fig. 1 - Public domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plutarch%27s_Lives.jpg
- Fig. 2 - Public Domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Angelou_at_Clinton_inauguration_(cropped_2).jpg
- Fig. 3 - Public domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steve_Jobs_and_Macintosh_computer,_January_1984,_by_Bernard_Gotfryd-_border_cropped.jpg
Frequently Asked Questions about Biography
--> what is a biography.
A biography is a detailed written account of a real person's life authored by a different person.
--> What is in a biography?
A biography usually contains factual recordings of a person's life from their birth to death (or the time that the biography is being written). It contains detailed descriptions of the person's childhood, education, relationships, career and any other key touchstone moments that defined that person's life.
--> What are the features of a biography?
These are the features that make a biography:
--> Examples of biographies?
A few notable examples of biographies are:
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot
- Alexander Hamilton (2004) by Ron Chernow
--> What is the difference between an autobiography and a biography?
A biography is a written account of someone's life by someone else, whereas an autobiography is a self-written account of one's own life story.
Final Biography Quiz
Biography quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is a biography?
What is the difference between an autobiography and a biography?
Is a biography fictional or non-fictional writing?
The subject of the biography is also the author of the biography. True or False?
What is the typical structure of a biography?
Typically, biographies follow a chronological order where they begin with the subject's birth and end with either their death or the present time
What is a historical biography?
Historical biographies are written on historical figures who have passed away and seek to highlight their life and contributions during the time in which they were alive.
Which type of biography is centred around the subject's professional work?
Which type of biography includes fictional elements?
Who wrote the biography on Steve Jobs?
Which of these biographies formed a key part of medical research?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot
Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards
Which type of biography is centred around the subject's professional work?
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Definition of Biography
A biography is the non- fiction , written history or account of a person’s life. Biographies are intended to give an objective portrayal of a person, written in the third person. Biographers collect information from the subject (if he/she is available), acquaintances of the subject, or in researching other sources such as reference material, experts, records, diaries, interviews, etc. Most biographers intend to present the life story of a person and establish the context of their story for the reader, whether in terms of history and/or the present day. In turn, the reader can be reasonably assured that the information presented about the biographical subject is as true and authentic as possible.
Biographies can be written about a person at any time, no matter if they are living or dead. However, there are limitations to biography as a literary device. Even if the subject is involved in the biographical process, the biographer is restricted in terms of access to the subject’s thoughts or feelings.
Biographical works typically include details of significant events that shape the life of the subject as well as information about their childhood, education, career, and relationships. Occasionally, a biography is made into another form of art such as a film or dramatic production. The musical production of “Hamilton” is an excellent example of a biographical work that has been turned into one of the most popular musical productions in Broadway history.
Common Examples of Biographical Subjects
Most people assume that the subject of a biography must be a person who is famous in some way. However, that’s not always the case. In general, biographical subjects tend to be interesting people who have pioneered something in their field of expertise or done something extraordinary for humanity. In addition, biographical subjects can be people who have experienced something unusual or heartbreaking, committed terrible acts, or who are especially gifted and/or talented.
As a literary device, biography is important because it allows readers to learn about someone’s story and history. This can be enlightening, inspiring, and meaningful in creating connections. Here are some common examples of biographical subjects:
- political leaders
- historical figures
- serial killers
- notorious people
- political activists
- religious leaders
- military leaders
- cultural figures
Famous Examples of Biographical Works
The readership for biography tends to be those who enjoy learning about a certain person’s life or overall field related to the person. In addition, some readers enjoy the literary form of biography independent of the subject. Some biographical works become well-known due to either the person’s story or the way the work is written, gaining a readership of people who may not otherwise choose to read biography or are unfamiliar with its form.
Here are some famous examples of biographical works that are familiar to many readers outside of biography fans:
- Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow)
- Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Caroline Fraser)
- Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
- Churchill: A Life (Martin Gilbert)
- The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Simon Winchester)
- A Beautiful Mind (Sylvia Nasar)
- The Black Rose (Tananarive Due)
- John Adams (David McCullough)
- Into the Wild ( Jon Krakauer )
- John Brown (W.E.B. Du Bois)
- Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo (Hayden Herrera)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
- Shirley Jackson : A Rather Haunted Life ( Ruth Franklin)
- the stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit (Michael Finkel)
Difference Between Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir
Biography, autobiography , and memoir are the three main forms used to tell the story of a person’s life. Though there are similarities between these forms, they have distinct differences in terms of the writing, style , and purpose.
A biography is an informational narrative and account of the life history of an individual person, written by someone who is not the subject of the biography. An autobiography is the story of an individual’s life, written by that individual. In general, an autobiography is presented chronologically with a focus on key events in the person’s life. Since the writer is the subject of an autobiography, it’s written in the first person and considered more subjective than objective, like a biography. In addition, autobiographies are often written late in the person’s life to present their life experiences, challenges, achievements, viewpoints, etc., across time.
Memoir refers to a written collection of a person’s significant memories, written by that person. Memoir doesn’t generally include biographical information or chronological events unless it’s relevant to the story being presented. The purpose of memoir is reflection and an intention to share a meaningful story as a means of creating an emotional connection with the reader. Memoirs are often presented in a narrative style that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Examples of Biography in Literature
An important subset of biography is literary biography. A literary biography applies biographical study and form to the lives of artists and writers. This poses some complications for writers of literary biographies in that they must balance the representation of the biographical subject, the artist or writer, as well as aspects of the subject’s literary works. This balance can be difficult to achieve in terms of judicious interpretation of biographical elements within an author’s literary work and consideration of the separate spheres of the artist and their art.
Literary biographies of artists and writers are among some of the most interesting biographical works. These biographies can also be very influential for readers, not only in terms of understanding the artist or writer’s personal story but the context of their work or literature as well. Here are some examples of well-known literary biographies:
Example 1: Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Nancy Milford)
One of the first things Vincent explained to Norma was that there was a certain freedom of language in the Village that mustn’t shock her. It wasn’t vulgar. ‘So we sat darning socks on Waverly Place and practiced the use of profanity as we stitched. Needle in, . Needle out, piss. Needle in, . Needle out, c. Until we were easy with the words.’
This passage reflects the way in which Milford is able to characterize St. Vincent Millay as a person interacting with her sister. Even avid readers of a writer’s work are often unaware of the artist’s private and personal natures, separate from their literature and art. Milford reflects the balance required on the part of a literary biographer of telling the writer’s life story without undermining or interfering with the meaning and understanding of the literature produced by the writer. Though biographical information can provide some influence and context for a writer’s literary subjects, style, and choices , there is a distinction between the fictional world created by a writer and the writer’s “real” world. However, a literary biographer can illuminate the writer’s story so that the reader of both the biography and the biographical subject’s literature finds greater meaning and significance.
Example 2: The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens (Claire Tomalin)
The season of domestic goodwill and festivity must have posed a problem to all good Victorian family men with more than one family to take care of, particularly when there were two lots of children to receive the demonstrations of paternal love.
Tomalin’s literary biography of Charles Dickens reveals the writer’s extramarital relationship with a woman named Nelly Ternan. Tomalin presents the complications that resulted for Dickens from this relationship in terms of his personal and family life as well as his professional writing and literary work. Revealing information such as an extramarital relationship can influence the way a reader may feel about the subject as a person, and in the case of literary biography it can influence the way readers feel about the subject’s literature as well. Artists and writers who are beloved , such as Charles Dickens, are often idealized by their devoted readers and society itself. However, as Tomalin’s biography of Dickens indicates, artists and writers are complicated and as subject to human failings as anyone else.
Example 3: Virginia Woolf (Hermione Lee)
‘A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living’: so too with the biography of that self. And just as lives don’t stay still, so life-writing can’t be fixed and finalised. Our ideas are shifting about what can be said, our knowledge of human character is changing. The biographer has to pioneer, going ‘ahead of the rest of us, like the miner’s canary, testing the atmosphere , detecting falsity, unreality, and the presence of obsolete conventions’. So, ‘There are some stories which have to be retold by each generation’. She is talking about the story of Shelley, but she could be talking about her own life-story.
In this passage, Lee is able to demonstrate what her biographical subject, Virginia Woolf, felt about biography and a person telling their own or another person’s story. Literary biographies of well-known writers can be especially difficult to navigate in that both the author and biographical subject are writers, but completely separate and different people. As referenced in this passage by Lee, Woolf was aware of the subtleties and fluidity present in a person’s life which can be difficult to judiciously and effectively relay to a reader on the part of a biographer. In addition, Woolf offers insight into the fact that biographers must make choices in terms of what information is presented to the reader and the context in which it is offered, making them a “miner’s canary” as to how history will view and remember the biographical subject.
Examples of Biographical Statement and Abstract
Once articles have been selected and accepted for publication each year, authors will be asked to submit a biographical statement to be included in the Advocates’ Forum . The biographical statement should include the author(s) full name. In addition, it is also appropriate to discuss your personal history, academic program and/or field placement, and interest in the article’s subject. The biographical statement may not exceed 75 words. Below is an example taken from the 2009 volume of the Advocates’ Forum :
"Kathryn Saclarides is a second-year social administration student at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. She received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in bioethics from La Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid, Spain. Her current field placement is with the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). She is interested in migration patterns, ethnic neighborhoods, and transnational communities."
The abstract should appear on the second page of your manuscript, immediately following the title page. The abstract should briefly summarize the argument advanced in your manuscript, and should be limited to no more than 100 words. For additional guidance on composing abstracts, refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Below is an example taken from an issue of Advocates’ Forum (Charlotte L. Hamilton, “Anti-Drug Legislation and the Rising Incarceration of Women: Recommendations for Future Sentencing Reform,” Advocates’ Forum : 33-43).
The Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988 led to a rapid increase in the number of incarcerated Americans. The rate of female incarceration has risen at a particularly high rate over the past 20 years. This article discusses the evolution of drug sentencing policy since 1986. It looks at characteristics of incarcerated women in order to understand how drug policy has influenced this population. The way women participate in the drug trade interacts with minimum sentencing laws to contribute to the rise in female incarceration. The article concludes with policy recommendations for a more equitable drug sentencing system.