How to Create a Bio

Whether you’re looking for a job or already have one its helpful to have a selection of bios ready to go. Here you will learn how to write a bio and the three types to have on hand.

Bio Rules and Formatting

1. Know Your Audience

Just like a resume and cover letter, you’ll want to write your bio according to the purpose of the bio or who is going to read it. A company profile bio should contain only work for that company. LinkedIn can focus on your main career experience and goals, but may also highlight additional areas you work in. An author’s bio for blogs and/or articles you write most commonly include your work related to that area, but can also include what you do full time.

2. Be Specific and Concise

Being specific and concise with your bio will keep it short and easy to follow. Instead of saying worked in management, say what type of management. To be concise narrow down what accomplishments and experience you want to include. Choosing the three most impressive achievements is a great way to decide on what to include.

3. Write in Third Person

There is some debate about whether or not writing in the third person is always necessary. I personally like writing in the third person for my bios, especially when my bio is going to be featured on a site that is not mine. Look at examples of other similar bios that you’re writing for. If most of them are not written in the third person, then I would suggest writing in first person.

4. Edit, Edit, Edit

Be sure to proofread your bio at least three times. Ask a friend or colleague to look over it. Having someone else read your bio is a great way to see if it flows nicely and conveys what you wanted.

5. Keep Updating

Keep your bio up to date. If you start a new job, add it to your bio. The same goes for new accomplishments and other experience. It’s a good idea to go back to review your bio every 3-6 months. Keeping your bio up to date also shows your professional progress and keeps your written professional appearance fresh.

What to Include

1. Full Professional Name

You will want to start your bio with your full professional name. My full first name is Katie, but if it was short for Katherine I might choose to start with Katherine Robinson. Although, if you name is Patrick but you have always gone by Pat, then it is acceptable to use your shortened name as well. The key here is to keep consistency and stay professional.

2. Current Position(s)

Include the position and company you currently work for. You may also include, depending on what you are writing this bio for, side job or projects. For example, I include my Production Assistant job at Sesame Workshop and this blog, Ask the Young Professional.

3. Most Important Accomplishments

In addition to where you currently work you want to talk about your accomplishments and experience so the reader will understand where your expertise lie. Like stated above, choosing three accomplishments to include is a good number to aim for. Limiting yourself to three also helps keep your bio concise.

4. Contact Info

It is common practice for the last line of the bio to include your contact information. There are numerous ways to do this. Some include an email address and twitter handle. Others hyperlink to a LinkedIn profile, website or other social media.

5. Something Unique and Personal (Optional)

If you have room in your bio you can write some fun unrelated work facts about yourself. It can show off some of your personality and can add an unique way to stand out. If someone has something in common with you or thinks one of your hobbies is interesting it may be an easy for the reader to remember you.

Types of Bios

When someone asks for your bio they may have a size requirement. It is good to have these three bio sizes prepared.

1. One Sentence Bio

A one sentence bio can be used for an email signature, profile caption or a “one liner” for a profile featured on someone else’s site. To keep the bio short and not a run on sentence limit your self to the use of your full name, current position and one or maybe two accomplishments.

2. 100 Word Bio

Someone may ask for a 100 word bio simply because of their own limited space or perhaps there are other bios to be featured along side yours. 100 words may seem like a lot, but you’ll quickly fine it difficult to keep within the restriction. Try taking out description words to be more precise and use only the work related to the use of the particular bio.

3. 250 Word Bio

A 250 word bio is great for creating a full image of who you are, what you can do and what you can offer. Use the space to give more details about projects you work on and your responsibilities at jobs. This is also a great opportunity to select key terms to describe your current position and career path.

Here are some helpful articles I used to write my bios:

Do you have a bio? What helped you write your bio?

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How Fellow Millennial Bloggers Schedule Their Time

This morning I shared 5 Tips For Creating A Work Schedule. I asked some fellow bloggers how they schedule their work on twitter. Here’s a quick re-cap of the conversation.

1. A Calendar Cannot Be Overrated

Lindsay Shoemake from That Working Girl and Michelle Adams both share a common love for utilizing a calendar. Having a calendar on your phone, computer or going old school like Rebecca Fraser-Thill from Working Self with a paper planner can help keep track of important dates and split up your hours.

2. Using Lists and Emails

Erin Lowry from Broke Millennial comments on how she uses lists on post-it notes and marking unread emails as a way to stay organized. Lists can help you keep of tasks so nothing gets lost in the hustle and bustle of work. Marking emails as unread, or important for Gmail users, or flagging them for Microsoft Outlook users, can allow you to come back to emails when it is more convenient.

3. Combining Methods

Emmie Scott from World By Storm talks about using a combination of techniques. She too uses the calendar technique. For her lists and notes she uses Evernote to seamlessly keep track of notes, lists, brainstorms, etc. across all platforms wherever she is. She has synced Evernote on her computer, phone and kindle! It’s a great tool for organization, scheduling and prioritizing.

How do you schedule your work?

5 Tips For Creating A Work Schedule

Are you having trouble staying focused at work? Do you feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of projects you have? If all your work created an avalanche on top of you, do you wonder if anyone would be able to find you?

Try scheduling your time. Sure, you may have meetings and deadlines in your calendar, but what about the time in between? Scheduling your day can increase your productivity and reduce stress levels. Here are 5 tips to help you create the perfect schedule for you.

Prioritize

First things first, make a list of all your projects, any deadline dates, meetings to prepare for, daily office duties and any other personal tasks you need to complete. Now prioritize them. Number the most important item on your list as number one, then continue on from there. Be sure to take note of deadline dates while you’re prioritizing.

Be Realistic

Now that you have numbered your items in order of importance, think about how much time you need to do each item. Do some items have to be done in a day? Can you work on a project over a period of days? Lets look at some different examples:

Emails – This is a daily tasks that maybe could take 30-60 minutes. Depending on your work communication and flow of incoming mail you might want to spread out scheduled email time. Try a half hour in the morning and a half hour at the end of the day. Or an hour first thing when you come in, then 20 minutes at lunch and 20 minutes at the end of the day. Find something that works for you.

#1 Priority Deadline Project – This is the most important item on your list, but it can be completed over a period of days. Schedule yourself a block of time each day where you can create and keep momentum working on the project. You don’t want to schedule too little time because you don’t want to loose a good working groove. On the other hand, you don’t want to schedule too much time so you don’t have enough time to work on other projects. Try scheduling an hour per day to work on one specific area of the project. Or take two hours if you need it.

The key here is to be realistic about how much time you need and how much you can get done during that time.

Schedule Breaks

It is just as important to schedule breaks as it is to schedule your work. They can be a five minute music break, a fifteen minute walk, or an hour lunch. There are 3 types of breaks you should consider:

1. Screen Break

It is important to take the strain off your eyes. Look off into the distance while listening to music for five minutes or eat your lunch not looking at a computer screen.

2. Activity Break

Last week, Dominic Peters talked about avoiding RSI. Get up every couple of hours. Go on a walk during your lunch period or walk to someone on a different floor who you need to speak with.

3. Mind Break

Give your mind some stress relief. Read about something enjoyable or read about what’s going on in your industry. Giving your mind a break from the pressure of deadlines will do you good.

Bonus: Vacation

In The Daily Muse article , How to Avoid Burn Out When You’re Saving the World, you’ll see a suggestion to take time off every six weeks. Different industries and companies have different requirements for being in the office so this might not work for everyone. Find what works for you and schedule it. If you don’t schedule it, you may never take it.

“The Heroic Minute”

The heroic minute is a term used by St. Josemaria Escriva. The concept of the heroic minute is that when the time is up, you stop right then and there. Try it. It seems simple, but it is extremely hard to do (especially the heroic minute of starting after your alarm clock goes off), but your organized productivity will pay off.

Reflect

At the end of your day take 20 – 30 minutes to reflect on your day. Did you get done what you wanted to? If not, why? Did you give yourself too much or too little time? Adjust the time for that project tomorrow. Did you not stop working on one project so another project fell behind? Set an alarm to remind yourself to move on. Finish what you need to tidy up, then write down what you need to come back to tomorrow.

Remember, your days may not all look alike. You may have to make a different schedule per day. Be flexible. Adjust your daily schedule when needed. Or make a decision – Is keeping a consistent daily schedule more important or can you adjust to the requests of others’ work schedules? I would suggest being adjustable, but there’s a chance consultancy might work better for you.

Here’s an example of my daily schedule. My schedule is a little different because it depends a lot on when work comes in. I decided the best plan for me was to structure long periods of time for other work I can do for myself then adjust and take breaks after I get a feel for what my work load is going to be.

My Daily Post It Note Schedule

How do you schedule your time? Do you have any additional tips?

How To Ensure That Your Workplace Is Happy & Safe

This is a guest post by Dominic Peters who works for Axiclaim. In this post Dominic will teach you about health ricks in the office – how to recognize them and how to prevent them. I’m so glad Dominic reached out to me to write this post. There are some tips here I would never have realized on my own. I think you all will enjoy what he has to share. Leave Dominic a comment at the bottom of the post.

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If you work in an office and not on a building site, you may think that your job is fairly risk free. There are however, some things which can pose the risk of injury and illness in the workplace.

The fact that you spend so much time at work means that if you’re unhappy there for any reason it can really affect your life in a negative way. Creating a sense of teamwork is important not only for your happiness, but also for greater productivity and higher quality of work. Here are some ways to stay safe and healthy in the office and some tips for boosting morale within the team.

Avoiding RSI

Repetitive strain injuries happen when stress is repeatedly put on a joint without time to recover. Those who spend hours typing and using a mouse are at risk from RSI in the wrist. To avoid it:

  • Take regular breaks
  • Make sure your keyboard is close enough that you don’t have to reach for higher keys
  • Keep your fingers and wrist level when typing
  • Buy a wrist rest for added support

Avoiding back and neck pain

To avoid straining your neck and lower back you need to make sure your computer set up is correctly, that you have a decent, ergonomic desk chair and that you have good posture. Hunching over and looking downwards at your screen can lead to serious back problems over time.

Image credit: Berkeley Lab

Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your legs at a 90° angle to your spine. Invest in a lower back cushion to ensure you maintain a slight arch.

Looking after your eyesight

The proliferation of smart phones and tablets alongside time at your computer screen at work means that staring at a screen for hours on end every day is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. Not only can this make ‘switching off’ and sleeping difficult, but it can also lead to eyestrain. Symptoms include:

  • Sore, burning, itchy or dry eyes
  • Twitching eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

To avoid eyestrain take regular breaks, look away into the distance every once in a while and ensure that your office space and desk are well lit.

Keeping it clean

It’s a grim thought but nonetheless true that your desk can be a haven for bacteria, especially if it’s where you eat your lunch.

A microbiologist at the University of Arizona has even stated that ‘the desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times dirtier than your toilet’

Remember to wipe down surfaces, including the telephone and mouse, with antibacterial wipes. If you insist on eating at your desk, keep your keyboard out of harm’s, and crumbs’, way.

Keeping stress levels low

Stress is perhaps the most common risk to your health at work and can lead to a multitude of health issues, including sleep loss and digestive problems.

To keep stress levels low, take exercise during your time off and practice breathing techniques to help you relax at your desk. In some cases where conflict is causing you stress, you may need to speak to an unbiased mediator to resolve the issue.

Offsetting your sedentary lifestyle with exercise

Office jobs can make moving around during the day impossible, but sitting at your desk all day and then getting home and sitting some more on the sofa will lead to reduced fitness levels.

To ensure a healthy lifestyle and to combat signs of stress, take 30 minutes of exercise per day. A walk during your lunch break is a simple way to achieve this.

Out of office team building events

Spending the day with colleagues in a relaxed environment will help you to get to know them as individuals and make working relationships and easier.

Once you know someone’s personality, their strengths and their weaknesses, communication at work can improve.

Activity days where team members are asked to work together towards a common goal, and have a laugh in the process, will lead to a stronger team, boosted morale and better quality of work.

Celebrating life events together

If one of the team is getting married, having a baby or celebrating a birthday, marking the occasion in some way helps to make employees feel valued as people and not just worker bees.

Whether it’s a card signed by everyone in the office, a round of coffees bought in the morning or even an embarrassing ‘Happy Birthday’ sing-along, celebrating together gives meaning to working relationships and will put a smile on everyone’s faces.

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Author’s Bio
This post was written by Dominic Peters. Dominic works for Axiclaim – find their website here – who specialise in work related injury claims; he also loves writing about business and health and helping people to lead healthier, happier lives both in and out of the office. Thanks for reading!

3 Signs It’s Time For A New Job

If you’re exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s time for a new job.

1. You can do the job with your hands tied behind your back, eyes closed, while twirling in circles.

If your job isn’t challenging you, you’ve learned all that you needed to. It’s great that you’ve masters your job, but you can be using your mastered skills somewhere else – and learning more new skills.

2. You’ve realized there’s no room to move up? Time to move on.

You don’t want to be stuck in one position forever. If there’s no room to advance at your company get the experience you need then move to a new company with opportunities.

3. You can’t remember when you stop counting hours and started counting the seconds to the end of the day and the milliseconds to the weekend.

Everyone has the right to enjoy their job. If you really hate your job find something you love. It will be worth the effort to find your passion.

These are short and sweet little red flags to move on, but that’s all it takes. One little red flag that you could easily ignore because its easier to just stay safe where you are. But staying where you are really isn’t safe, it holds you back. Staying for too long may prevent you from advancing later in your career. Look for the red flags, create a plan to move on and then notify your company.

Here’s what other people suggest:

101 Secrets For Your Twenties – “#69 If your office is permeated with a culture of complacency, especially from the top down – game over. Pack your bags. Time to leave.”

NY Daily News – 10 Signs Its Time To Find A New Job

US News – 16 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

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Choosing a Career Path and Sticking With It

We’ve talked a lot about getting a job, choosing a career and tips for being at work, but we haven’t directly talked about a career path yet. Knowing your career path early on is a big advantage. A career path can help keep you focused on your end goal. You may have a dream to work in a certain position or for a certain company. A career path tells you how to get there. If you haven’t chosen a career path yet, I’ve come up with a list of questions to ask yourself so you can find the right career path for you… and stay on track with that career path.

How do I know what job I want at the end of my career path?

Listen to your unthought knowns, as Dr. Meg Jay calls them in her book, The Defining Decade. There’s a voice inside you that knows what you like and what you’re good at. It also knows what you don’t like and what your weaknesses are. Listen to your inner unthought knowns. They’re called unthought knowns because you know them… You just haven’t thought about it yet.

To help focus in on your unthought knows try one of these techniques:

  • Make a list of all skills, interests, etc.
  • Pay attention at work – what aspects do you like and not like?
  • Have informational meetings to learn as much as you can and ask all your questions.
  • Find out the job descriptions of different positions.
  • Understand the different departments, how they work together, where their work ends, and another starts.

Nothing’s worse than working your way to a position, only to then find out its nothing like you thought it would be and you hate it. Do the research now while you still have the flexibility to move around to an area you know you will enjoy for the long run.

How do I get on a career path?

After you have chosen your end goal you can find out what your career path should be. Some of the techniques listed above can also help you discover the steps it takes to get to your end goal. Talking with co-workers who have been in the company or the industry for a few years can be very helpful. What’s even more helpful is if you can sit down with someone now who is in the position you would like one day. If you can find someone has been or currently is in a position you want here are some questions I would suggest asking…

1. What type of schooling do I need?

2. What type of experience and how many years of experience do I need?

3. Is there any additional experience outside of work you would suggest?

4. What skills should I be practicing?

5. Any final words of advice? Steps I should take? Positions I should hold? People I should talk to?

Will this job offer help me in my career path?

This is an important question to ask yourself every time a new job offer comes your way. My best advice, only take a job if you “side step” or move up on your career path. A”side step” is when you move to a different position, but you’re still on the same level as your previous position. You didn’t “move up in rank” is another way to look at it. Still a perfectly good option. This “side step” position can teach you new skills, give you more experience, introduce you to a new network or allow you to move to a new company.

Receiving a job offer is obviously a great sign that your boss, and the company likes you. They have faith you’ll do good for the future of the company. But, I would advise that accepting a position which leads you off your track does you no good. It would better serve you to politely decline and stay where you are. If you do have to decline, I would suggest having a conversation explaining the goals you have set up for your future. This conversation may also allow the employer to see the big picture you have for yourself and may look for opportunities to help you achieve it in the future.

Sometimes being offered a position that is lower than your current position can actually help on your career path. If your career path is for a position with a certain company, you may want to consider a lower job offer in order to start working for your dream company. However, I would not accept the job offer until I knew exactly what I would be doing, knew it would help me get to where I wanted to be, knew there was room for growth within the company, and knew I would be happy.

Am I currently doing everything I can for my career path?

It’s good to check on your own progress from time to time. But before you can check on your progress you need to have a set of clear goals with steps. From the information you got doing your research about the position you’re working towards and what the career path looks like you can make yourself a basic timeline. I say basic because I don’t want you over stressing and feeling completely depressed if you do not follow the timeline exactly. Still, a timeline will allow you to see roughly how long you should stay in a position to get the experience you need and tell you when its time to start thinking about getting a new position.

After you have your clear goals with steps, sit down to have a self evaluation or ask for a peer evaluation. To have a peer evaluation you could ask a co-worker or boss for feedback on how you’ve been doing. Then take that information and compare it to your time line.  Use the comparison to decide if you are where you should be, if you’re behind or meeting the bare minimum. Are you meeting work requirements? Have you required all the skills you can in your current position? Is there anything more you can be doing? In my opinion, there’s always room for improvement, that’s the way growing works. You grow as a better employee if you keep challenging yourself. It’s always better to be challenging yourself than to be safe. Safe keeps you in one spot, challenging keeps you moving up.

What career path have you started on? Do you have any additional tips or questions?

6 Job Search and Application Tips

Summer is coming to a close and companies are starting they search for new hires. If you’re looking to apply to a job think about these 6 tips during your job search.

1. List What You’re Good At and What You Like

Before you start sending out applications to any hiring company, know yourself. List your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, goals and dreams. You’ll waste much less time searching aimlessly online when you know yourself better. You can be more specific in your job search to find a job and company that suits you.

2. Find Something That Suits You and Makes You Happy

Now that you are properly prepared you can start the search. Find a position you can succeed in. Even better, find a company you can support and advance in. Finding a company you can support will give your work meaning and purpose. You’re passion about your work will give you the drive to make an impression and advance through the field.

3. Gather Your Experience and Qualifications

Narrow down what experience and qualifications you have that apply to the job. Think about what you’ll use in your resume, cover letter and portfolio. Do you have any online presence you can included? Or other “outside of the box” qualifiers? You don’t need to list everything on a resume, only items that most apply to the position and create a story about you.

4. Find A Way To Stand Out

When that big pile of black and white resumes lands on the employer’s desk, how are you going to stand out? Will you stand out by the design of your resume? The story in your cover letter? An unique experience? Come up with something creative so you will be remembered.

5. Represent Yourself Correctly

Sometimes we can get caught up in the formality of the job search. Don’t lose yourself in all the paperwork. Make sure you’re presenting yourself in the right way. Don’t sell yourself short. Show some personality and what you can bring to the company. You can do this through what information you choose to share on your resume and cover letter; how you design your resume; and your online presence.

6. Complete The Process

You can find numerous articles and resources on how to create a resume, write a captivating cover letter, properly dress for an interview, and how to prepare interview question and answers, so I won’t dwell on that. Just remember when you are doing the professional thing, be the charismatic you. Show your true self. Let the interviewer get an idea of you are. Genuine personality is more attractive than dishing out answers you think they want to hear.

Today I will be posting more articles and tips on job searching, applying and interviewing on Ask the Young Professional’s Facebook page! Follow today! 

What other job search and application tips do you have?