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Creative Career Path

Beyond a Boring Bio2010.10.26

    There are two self-defeating habits that condemn people to anonymity, or worse irrelevance on a career path.


    The first self-defeating habit is speaking about yourself in self-effacing terms. The word efface means to annul, to erase, to withdraw. The list of synonyms for efface makes you shudder when you consider how people do this to themselves.


    Self-effacement may be a hard habit to break, if you were brought up in a family or culture where staying in the shadows was the best way to avoid criticism. While humility is a virtue, it is best expressed in terms of sharing the credit and showing appreciation to others, rather than removing yourself from the picture.


    Peggy Klaus is a Fortune 500 Communications Coach. She makes a distinction between bragging in a positive way, and boasting to inflate your ego. Her message in a nutshell is, "To brag is to talk about your best self with pride and passion in a conversational manner." She provides great questions to help uncover and talk about your strengths in a manner that builds credibility and attraction. A positive way to brag could be talking about the most interesting things you have done or have happened to you, obstacles you have overcome, or new skills you have picked up in the last year.


    Such an approach leads easily into stories that other people can relate to. Her book is an excellent resource, Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing it, by Peggy Klaus at


    The second self-defeating habit is describing yourself and what you do in a boring, conventional bio. Why do we do this? Often it is because we are copying a conventional style, emphasizing things that give no clue as to what makes us unique individuals, or what value we offer. Much of what goes on a resume is minutia, which belongs in a short list toward the bottom, almost as a footnote that, of course you have also have the expected qualifications.


    Today there are many platforms for a bio. The content and format depends on the audience and the purpose. A bio that works for you in one situation can actually work against you in another. For example, if you are the author of a book, chances are that the content and writing style of your author bio which looks good in print, may actually bore an audience if used as is to introduce you as the next speaker.


    Profiles on Social Media sites are so short that you have to make the point and create interest in a few lines.


    Nancy Juetten is an expert on helping people get their message and expert status seen, heard, and shared. She identifies Four S’s that set you apart: stunning results, succinct stories, sassy sound bytes, and social information. There are many ways to deliver such information without offending or confusing people. It might be in the domain name of your website, an interesting visual element on your business card, or in what someone else says about you.


    Find out more about her street smart media savvy, and get the Bye Bye Boring Bio Action Guide, by Nancy Juetten at


    Credibility is the key to gaining like, trust, and respect. You cannot fake a bio for long. People can usually sense when someone is trying too hard to impress.


    The challenge is when you are young or new to a field, and don’t have much to talk about in the way of experience or achievements. This is only a problem if you think of inexperience as something to hide. A good question or sign of intelligent interest can be far more attractive than a jaded know-it-all attitude.


    If you lack the experience that you desire, then the smart thing is to position yourself to gain that experience. If you read just 3 well-selected books on a subject, you will already know more than most people on that subject, and at the very least you will be able to carry on intelligent conversation about it. Moreover, your ability to learn and respond is more valuable to an employer or business partner, than what you learned in the past or used to do.


    The biggest challenge is going beyond the boring bio, and learning to talk or write about yourself in a way that makes people want to know more.


    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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