Your professional biography is the most important copy that you will ever write.

Today, more than ever, a compelling and aggressive biography (formerly the cover letter) must accompany your resume. In fact, it’s something that you just have to do if you’re hoping to land a new job.

I’ll be honest with you—this is a huge undertaking and certainly an arduous task. However, your bio, if written with intent and passion, will yield significant results.

In today’s competitive job market, HR managers read bios first and base their initial perception of your abilities, and importantly, your accomplishments on this prized document.

The important thing is to engage the reader and write a bio that stands out amongst a crowd of your competitors.

A bio is extremely useful in many ways—networking, personal/professional website, professional directories, articles and publications, public speaking engagements, public relations, blogs, emails, and social media.

Here are some tips and examples to get you started.

  1. Identify yourself and your purpose immediately. This needs to be a short and very concise statement. Don’t overwrite this section—no one wants to read a dissertation. Also, don’t forget to include a high-resolution headshot of yourself.
  1. Develop an elevator pitch. This is your way to present yourself in an elevator—in as little time as a ride from the 1st to the 5th It’s the 30-60 second persuasive discussion that positions you as a pro. You may use your elevator pitch as the introduction to your bio.
  1. Tell your story. Establish your professional vision and beliefs. Then lead into situations where you overcame adversities and challenges and how you came out on the other side.
  1. Think about yourself as a brand. This is your opportunity to really market yourself, to be viewed as an influencer, and a thought-leader.
  1. Quantify leadership, strategies, and initiatives where you lead change, instituted new processes, efficiently used resources to save time and money, and successfully created big returns. Include statistics.
  1. Write sentences in an active voice. Use verbs and communicate action. And feel free to use conjunctions and sentence fragments to lighten it up.
  1. Use a conversional tone. Don’t use a bunch of industry lingo because it makes you look like you’re “showing off.”
  1. Use humor— You want to add personality—something unexpected. Don’t be standard or boring. It will read like a “snoozer.”
  1. Keep your paragraphs short. You don’t need to write a long paragraph—two sentences are more than enough.
  1. Create three different versions of your bio. Micro (one sentence), short form (100-150 words), and long form (250 words.)

Check this out from Richard Branson—totally epic. This is his LinkedIn bio:

“Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr. Yes at Virgin!”