Professional Biography Pages are Awful

Punch Up your Biography or Lose Potential Clients.

Most biography pages on professional services websites are so boring and lifeless that they could be handed out to insomniacs at a sleep clinic.  Since I work mostly with lawyers and expert witnesses, I will use them as an example, but as a general rule – professional services biography pages are awful.

Example A of a Poorly Done Professional Biography Page:

“Ms. Smith went to law school at a big name law school.  She wrote for this legal journal and that legal journal.  She practiced here and here at these big law firms before she founded her own firm and now tortures her own associates.  She wrote this article for this legal publication and spoke at these seminars.  She worked on this case, this case and this case

…ad infinitem….and YAWN!”

What is wrong with the above paragraph?  Well, to start with, it doesn’t make me want to hire Ms. Smith.  It’s basically a CV that might impress other lawyers, but it doesn’t address the client’s problem or potential interests. It doesn’t tell me that she might be someone I would comfortable talking to, or spilling my inner most embarrassing and personal secrets (which is what lawyers are often called upon to listen to), nor does it inspire any confidence that the person behind the bio is human or has ever taken on a case like mine before.  It makes Ms. Smith seem a little dull and not the vibrant, capable lawyer that I know she is.

What the client wants to know is very simple.  Can this person help me?  The client doesn’t care what school we go to, what our professional honors are or where we published our latest opus on an arcane and dull subject…the client simply wants to know – does this lawyer, expert, consultant know what they are doing and have they successfully handled a case or a project like mine in the past?  You don’t hire a plumber because they went to the Harvard of trade schools – you hire a plumber because they know what they are doing, they come highly recommended and they have worked on antique pipes like the one that is spilling sewage into your backyard.   Lawyers, plumbers, architects, doctors – you are being hired to fix a particular problem.

We are all drilled to write a professional biography that strips our personality out of it and pumps pomposity into the void.  I wasn’t immune from professional biographitis myself so before writing this post, I went back to my own biography, stripped most of the accolades and schooling and put in the simple text of “yes, I work in the legal market and association spaces and yes, I can help you.”  I hope it is more reflective of the weird and strange path my career took and why I can help associations, law firms and expert witnesses become better at marketing themselves.

Go back and take a look at your own biography and if you feel the need to fill up space with your education, speaking engagements and career highlights, at least put that stuff at the end.  Your biography needs to make a powerful – and personal – first impression that conveys to potential clients, “Yes, I love helping people with problems like yours and I have done so successfully many times. Let’s talk.”