A professional bio and headshot are often the first impression a client or employer will have of you. Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself and influence their impression while you have their full attention.
Yes, you need a headshot
I am often asked whether lawyers really need to use a headshot in their marketing materials, because they feel slightly self-conscious about including their photo. My response is that headshots are critical in developing relationships and a photo makes your bio warmer and more personal.
When you do not have a photo where people expect it they assume you are hiding something. Imagine trying to attend a networking event or interview with a bag over your head—people would wonder what you were concealing. Your photo allows clients to develop a better sense of who you are and then when your advice can be seen through the lens of a trusted advisor instead of a stranger.
How to write your bio
The development of your bio should be well crafted and evaluated by your most reliable critic, someone who will offer you constructive feedback. Once your bio has been created it can be easily updated and refined and adjusted for appropriate audiences over time, so spend a little extra time on it.
To begin, gather as many items as you can that describe your experience, accomplishments and background such as your resume, current social networking profile, and list of awards and references.
Your bio should be written in the third person and address the following four questions in relation to your potential client:
1. Who you are.
This should be your elevator pitch: what your product or service is, what it does for the prospect (i.e. the benefits), who you are and why you will be successful.
2. Your expertise and how it addresses their needs.
Briefly highlight your main achievements and include:
- Official awards and recognition
- Testimonials and/or references – ask current or former employers, colleagues, advisers or professors to write short testimonials about you or your work
- Include names of the organizations, clubs, or community associations you belong to
- Certifications and designations. Make sure you write out their names in full, rather than use abbreviations. Not everyone might know that CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant. And, perhaps, in a different discipline, it might represent something else.
- Published articles, presentations, or important cases
3. Their problem or goal
Your client wants to know if you are the right person for their needs, so define and address their concerns immediately. Specify your niche and how you have successfully helped other clients just like them. Show your prospects that you are the expert they are looking for.
4. How they can contact you
Include complete contact information: name, address, telephone, fax, e-mail, and website address, as well as any social networking links and profiles that are relevant. This information should be easily found in the last paragraph of your bio and with links that make contacting you a simple click.