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Have you ever been asked to give somebody "a brief bio"?

The biggest challenge is to know what it means to be 'brief', if only because there appears to be an inverse relationship between length of your brief biography and your importance. David Cameron only has to say he is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, while your most junior member of staff may tell you that used to be deputy head boy and speaks good conversational French.

So you need to strike a delicate balance: say too little and nobody knows who you are; say too much and nobody is likely to care.

Twitter profiles level the playing field, by requiring us to broadcast our professional affiliation, history, identity, interests, tweeting policy and disclaimer ('all views my own, retweet is not endorsement' etc) in 140 characters. It sounds impossible, and yet people somehow manage.

Through Twitter I came upon the following piece in the FT by Lucy Kellaway, who writes thoughtfully about how to pen the perfect brief biography.

Some highlights include:

  • Adjectives should be forbidden. e.g. if you are 'well-known', 'high profile', 'renowned' etc...then you shouldn't have to say so.
  • Hobbies are well worth a mention- they humanise you.
  • Pepper your stories of success with a little bit of failure; it indicates realism and confidence.
  • Anyway, to be brief, it's well worth a read.


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