How to Write an About Page That Doesn’t Sound Like a Boring Resume

So, about that About page in your professional service website. You have a lot of credentials, and you want to be sure that you’ve included everything, so you’ve done you’re best to write a verbal summary of your CV, right?

Hold on. When was the last time you actually wanted to read someone’s resume to figure out if that person was worth knowing?

Your About Page Is All About You
Your About page is all about how you want to introduce yourself to your ideal client. It’s your opportunity to get personal, to talk about what you love most about your work, to build trust and encourage your visitors to do business with you.

In short, it’s your chance to tell a great story, all about you.

You can work in the details about your education and experience, but think in terms of what matters to you most and what matters most to your ideal client—and how those answers intersect.

Keep the Details Relevant
When I sat down to write the About page for Herwitz Associates, I struggled with fitting in all the details of my professional career. My first draft made the common mistake of describing my path chronologically—because, of course, everything I’ve ever done was so very interesting and meaningful . . . to me.

But I’ve held positions that have no direct relationship to my current work as a marketing consultant. Fresh out of graduate school, I got a job as an analyst for the Illinois Bureau of the Budget, reviewing the multi-million dollar operating budget for the state’s 29 facilities that housed people with severe mental health issues and profound developmental disabilities.

While I could tell some great anecdotes about site visits in the late ’70s at institutions where lobotomized patients sat in a common room for “TV Therapy,” that doesn’t have much relevance to helping clients create great website content in 2011. At least, I hope not. Better to save that for future short stories.

Find a Unifying Theme
Which leads me to the unifying theme of my About page and this website—storytelling. That’s what I help my clients do best, and that’s how I organized the content in my own bio.

I chose not to include all of my work experience or my college degrees, because what matters most, here, is how I express myself through this medium, not the fact that I hold a bachelor’s from the University of Rochester and masters degrees from Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Illinois-Springfield (see, that didn’t really tell you much about who I am, did it?).

Your goal, as you think through what to include in your own About page, is to find a personal, unifying theme. When you structure your content, begin with a lead paragraph that draws your reader into your story, and develop your theme throughout your content.

A Few Key Questions to Get Started
Here are a few questions to help you get started. Write out your answers and see if you can find a common thread:

  • How did you get into this business? Summarize, please.
  • Why is your work important to you? What do you hope to accomplish for your clients?
  • Are there any significant experiences, turning points or mentors in your life that led you to the work you do today? What did you learn? How did you grow from those experiences?
  • What are the personal values that guide how you conduct your business? What’s your guarantee/promise to your client?
  • What are your relevant educational credentials? Are these essential to your narrative, or can you cover this and previous work experience by posting a link to a PDF of your resume?

Cut, Cut, Cut
Once you’ve answered these questions, write a draft that tells the kind of story you’d tell to a new friend if you met for coffee—about you, how you help others and why you care about your work. Let your personality shine through. Then cut your text to under 300 words.

Read it out loud to be sure it has a conversational tone. Ask someone who knows you well to read it for you and give you honest feedback. When you’re satisfied, before posting, run the file through a spell-check and grammar-check.

Your About page will hold your visitor’s attention if you take the time to tell a compelling story about who you are, why you care about the things your visitor cares about, and how you can help. Save the resume for your next job application.

 

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One Response to “How to Write an About Page That Doesn’t Sound Like a Boring Resume”

  1. […] I’m writing website content, I always save the homepage for last. Once I’ve created text for an About page and Professional Services, answered FAQs, and developed Resources and any Case Studies or […]

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