TV’s Mad Men – copywriters extraordinaire
Copywriting is essentially the art of persuasion, and it’s vital to your business success. Although copywriting is usually though of in terms of advertising, it can be used successfully in any form of communication, from speeches to classified ads.
In this article, let’s look at how you can use your copywriting skills to maximize your results with resumes and bios.
The resume and biography is a perennial business tool, used by everyone from the lowliest intern to CEOs with million-dollar paychecks. Using copywriters’ skills on your bios ensures that they get attention.
Copywriting Creates Out-standing Resumes and Bios
“Who are you?” – this is the question you’re asked, directly or indirectly, by everyone with whom you want to do business. That question is answered with a resume and bio.
Resumes are primarily used for job hunting, but bios are used everywhere, from your Web site to your press releases and email signatures.
Although resumes are standardized, meaning they cover the information in a specific format, bios are freeform. You can also target bios narrowly to a specific audience, so that you get exactly the response you want.
Big tip: a bio is not your autobiography. A bio is always short, and it’s written in the third person singular, like this: “Outstanding athlete John Smith… “; not in the first person singular “I’m an outstanding athlete…”
Aim to create a long bio of around 250 words, and a brief bio of around 50 words.
Let’s look at four copywriting tips for creating powerful bios:
Who’s your audience? A bio should always be written with a specific audience in mind, because the aim of your bio, as is always the aim with all copywriting, is to get a response.
So before you start writing, think about your target audience. What do they need to know so that they’ll get in touch with you or respond in another way?
If you’re writing a bio to include in your company’s annual report for example, you’ll have a different target audience (shareholders) from a bio written for a media package, where your target audience is journalists.
2. Just the gist, please – keep it short
Bios are tools, and they’re short. Keep your bio under one print page: this is around 250 words.
Once you’ve written it, you can summarize your bio to less than 50 words, so you can use it as a short introductory snippet. You can also create several short bios, of less than 50 words, for specific audiences.
3. Make it active and alive
As we said, your aim with your bio is to get a response. This means that your audience needs to read it. Use active voice, rather than passive. For example: “John Smith drove profits”, rather than “Profits at company X were driven by John Smith.”
Use short words, and short sentences so that your bio reads quickly. Readers scan. So when you use run-on sentences with dependent clauses you increase the likelihood that your readers will stop reading.
4. It’s all about the response
Getting a response is the goal of all copy, and especially with bios.
Often the response will be indirect. For example, a Web site visitor might check out your site’s About Us page, read your bio, and continue to make a purchase from the site. Your bio has had an indirect response – it’s built trust, which led to the sale.
Your bio may also have a direct response. When attached to a letter, it may result in a job offer.
Have you created a bio yet? Create one today, using the copywriting skills we discussed – your bio is a powerful tool for your business (and job hunting) success.
Want copywriting instruction? Angela Booth’s Copywriting Master Class – Ten Weeks to Copywriting Genius teaches you copywriting secrets of the masters.
Angela Booth’s ebook “Seven Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success” takes you from novice to pro copywriter in just seven days. You could be signing up your first clients within two days.
If you’d like Angela to write your resume and bio, she’s happy to help.