Welcome to the modern working landscape. Perhaps you’ve joined the movement to entrepreneurship. Maybe you’re in the job market now. Or, somehow, you’ve landed a gig you like and want to stick with and grow in. Wherever you find yourself, at some point, for your website, LinkedIn profile or on your company’s site, you need to write an ‘About Me.’ And, I would bet money, you’ve avoided doing it. It’s an uncomfortable sensation for most people, describing yourself, putting words around your experience, talents and value. If you want to take a crack at it, he are some Do’s and Don’ts to make it easier
DO: Write in first person
The purpose is in the section’s title. It’s ABOUT YOU. Think about it, do you describe yourself , your life, or tell stories in the third person? Me either. Speaking in this voice sounds pretentious and writing about yourself in this context, sounds flat, lifeless. You want to sound professional, sure, but you also want to sound like you. We all, even in professional mode, bring our personality with us to work, so feel free to start showing it off here. If you’re resisting, consider this; asking for help is hard, and that is what the visitor reading exploring your site is looking to do. During this vulnerable time, we want to turn to someone who not only brings their expertise, but understanding and empathy, a person who makes us feel comfortable. If your ‘About Me’ pages can give them a sense of who you are, that makes the ask a bit easier.
DON’T: Repeat your resume
Here, its desirable to include your experience without digging too deep into the details. In fact, it’s preferable. Why? They want your expertise, the skills you have that can help them, more than your experience, the road traveled to get those skills. More important, this is your chance to explain the journey you took to get here and why you feel passionate about your business and what it can do for them. This is a huge part of the unique value proposition you bring to what you do. Mine it here. More important, they want a sense that working with you will be easy. That is its main purpose, improving their future, not telling your past.
DO: Include a fun personal fact
Welcome to your professional life, and, for better or works (depending on your temperament) part of doing business is working with people. Given a choice, we want to work with people we like, but, in order to determine if we do, we must talk to them. Small talk, this is part of the dance of doing business. For some, this comes natural. For other of us, those uncomfortable with social intercourse, this is torture. By including one fun, askable hobby or interest, you’ve give them an in to talking to you and saving them some stress in the process.
Obvious, yes, but also important. And I don’t mean apply this only to your experience. Of course, you must back up your word, solve the client’s problem and be honest about your past. But I also mean, don’t try to present a version of yourself that isn’t authentic. There is a temptation to assume clients want a certain type of person to solve their issue and you must stifle parts of yourself to fit into that box. Resist temptation. Be professional sure, but be yourself. They will meet you anyway, so present the real you from the start. Don’t let them be surprised by a disconnect between your on and off-line selves.
DO: Expect to revise
Ever looked at those articles about this topic online, the ones that includes examples? My experience is that as inspiration, they’re great. As help for creating your own, however, they’re worthless (yes, I said it!) Why? Because they never get into the weeds. For example, how many revisions did it go through before reaching that perfect final form? How many people had a hand in writing it? Was there a template or some other kind of standard? Instead, they give the impression that these emerged in their pristine form. Trust me, they don’t. Go in expecting to spend 75-90% of your time in the revision process. I did. Don't believe me. I included a picture of this post to prove it.
DON’T: Spend too much time looking at examples
I get it. We learn by mimicking, doing it enough so that we get the basics and then find our own style. That’s good, if you’re a writer. If not, then it can induce something else. Something not helpful—comparison syndrome. And we all know how well we feel about ourselves coming out in that exercise. Give yourself a limit, 10-15, just enough to know good from bad, and then get to work.
‘About Me’ pages seem like a simple exercise. After all, who knows your skills and your story better than you do? The reality is, this part of the business journey often brings up uncomfortable feelings. It can feel like bragging to discuss your accomplishments, salesy to realize that this is a business that requires clients, and often invokes imposture syndrome for many. I know it did all of the above for me. Yet, this can also prove enlightening, highlighting your passion and ability to help people. Giving it the attention it deserves not only serves your business, it serves your being as well.
PS-if you get stuck, we’re always here to help!