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Personal Branding

How To Write an “About Me” Page That Gets You Hired

An about page doesn't have to be anxiety-inducing. Keep it simple and put your inner-critic aside.


About pages are hard. You have one page to summarize who you are, what you do, and how you’re different in a clear, concise, and confident way. No big deal! Just tell us why you matter in two to five paragraphs, without bragging.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who enjoys this process. Even if you’re comfortable writing about yourself, it’s hard to know where to start or what to leave out. You know yourself better than anyone, but that only seems to make it worse.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to help all sorts of people get their websites into shape. I’ve taught workshops on honest marketing and developing portfolios, and I co-wrote a book about writing useful, friendly content. Whenever About pages come up, these are the tips I share:

  • Write to your dream audience.
  • Highlight the kind of work you want to be doing.
  • Tell the truth in your own voice.
  • Read it aloud to make sure it sounds like you.
  • Treat it as a draft. Share it early and update it regularly.

Think of your About page as a way to introduce yourself. It doesn’t need to be exhaustive, and you don’t have to say anything that makes you uncomfortable. Find a balance between being personal and professional, and try to have some fun. This is a great time to step away from the computer, put your self-critic aside, and do some exploratory writing to take the pressure off.

I’ll walk you through the process that I share with my clients. This is focused on freelancers and solo practitioners, but you can use the same steps for your company or project.

Think It Through

It’s tempting to start by looking at other people’s work for inspiration—and we’ll get to that. But before you dive into design blogs or Pinterest, find a quiet place to reflect and write about your goals.

Give yourself at least two minutes with each of these exercises. (You may want to grab tea or coffee, a favorite notebook, and a timer.)

  • Where do you see yourself in one to three years?
  • How does your work fit into the world you want to live in?
  • What kinds of projects interest you? (It sometimes helps to list tasks you want to stop doing first.)
  • What kinds of people do you want to work with? Who are your dream clients?
  • What do you want people to do after visiting your website (e.g., hire you, subscribe to your blog)?
  • If someone were telling a potential client about you, what would you want them to say?

These notes will guide your writing later in the process.

Gather Ideas

Next, make a list of different kinds of information you might include. We’re still exploring here, so don’t worry about finding the “perfect” words just yet. (I like to use sticky notes to gather ideas so I can arrange them visually afterwards.)

Start with the basics. About pages don’t have to be cutesy or clever. A simple bio with concrete facts goes a long way. Tell us who you are, where you’re from (if it matters to you), where you live, and what you do. And if you have a photo or video of yourself you want to share, make a note to include that.

Share your experience. What are you most proud of? This isn’t your CV, so don’t worry about outlining every job you’ve ever had. Summarize your biggest accomplishments, and feel free to link to publications, talks, interviews, events, or recent clients. If you’re a freelancer, you may want to include a short list of skills or services you offer.

This isn’t your CV.

Show your passion. Don’t be afraid to get personal, especially in your bio. After all, if someone visits this page, they’ve expressed an interest in you as a person. List a few things you love doing, eating, reading, listening to, or thinking about. If you have any special talents or strongly held beliefs, jot those down. How did you get into this field? What do you love about it? Take some time to think about how your process or perspective differs from your peers.

Link it up. Don’t forget that you’re writing for the web. Add links to your online shop, newsletter, or side projects.

Tell us what to do next. What do you want people to do after meeting you or reading your bio? Point us in the right direction. Maybe you’re taking on illustration projects, looking for blog sponsors, or hoping to do more public speaking. Make it easy to contact you—and if you’re booked up for a while, include a note about your availability or response time.

Once you have these notes together, whittle it down to the essentials.

Write a Short Bio

Pick a small section of your About page to begin with. A quick Mad Libs exercise can help you write your bio. Look back at your notes as you fill in the blanks:

I’m a ______.
I help ______ {make/build} ______.
When I’m not ______, you can find me ______.
Want to work together? I’d love to hear from you.

Play with the structure and rewrite it until it sounds like you. When you’re happy with it, use it as a headline or the first part of your longer bio. (If you like these kinds of exercises, Alexandra Franzen has some great ones on her site.)

Tie It All Together

Move the elements around and see what you can leave out. Focus on answering questions you’d expect your dream clients to have. I love this diagram from Mitch Goldstein.

If you’re stuck, look at sites from other people and companies in your field. See how they present their work and levels of experience. Here are some of my favorites:

Instead of copying them, look at the language they use. Did they write in the first or third person? How do they describe themselves? Do they use formal titles, casual wording, or a combination of the two? (I love how Eileen Ruberto calls herself a designer, researcher, and information wrangler.) How do the words make you feel? See what you can learn from their choices and the way they talk to readers.

Once you have a rough draft, take it to the next level:

Make it sound like you. Use simple words you’d say to a friend or neighbor. Skip the industry jargon, unless your clients are looking for common keywords like responsive web design or mindfulness coaching.

Be honest. This is the perfect place to show your true colors. Don’t say you love collaborating if you’d rather work alone. Tell the truth, and if something’s hard to express, think about how you’d explain it in person. It’s better to be upfront than to have to reveal these details at your first client meeting.

Keep it short and sweet. Check over your main points. Is the most important information at the top? Don’t overcomplicate things with hefty phrasing. Try to limit your sentences to one main idea with 20 words or fewer.

Read it out loud. Editing is about listening, so listen to your writing. Read it aloud in a quiet room. You’ll naturally notice where the words are jumbled, repetitive, or imprecise. Ask yourself:

  • Is it clear?
  • Does it sound like you?
  • Is every word true?
  • Can you cut any adjectives or modifiers?

Keep Refining It

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to perfect their writing the first time. You’re writing for the web—not a print publication. You can change your mind, add things, remove things, and polish it as much as you’d like.

Don’t worry if your About page is short, missing information, or overly detailed. Go ahead and put it out there. Ask a few friends or colleagues to read over it and give you feedback. See if people write to you with better questions or spend more time on your site.

After a few weeks, come back to it. Does it reflect how you feel now? If your goals have changed or you have a clearer picture of your ideal client, make a few adjustments. Keep revising as you learn more about yourself, the work you care about, and the people you want to work with.

How about you?

What do you like about your about page?

Nicole Fenton

Nicole Fenton is the coauthor of Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose. You can find her in Brooklyn and on Twitter: @nicoleslaw.

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