4 tips for writing about me pages that work

This article about “about me” pages is written by Vanessa Chiasson, a freelance writer based in Ottawa who specializes in travel and human interest stories.

Tips for Writing About Me Pages that Work

Do you have an “about me” page on your freelancing website? I bet you do.

Do you feel squirmy thinking about that page?

And do you feel you should update it, refresh it, make it less awkward, more dynamic or just…something?

I’m guessing that’s a “yes” too.

“About me” page stress is one of the most common complaints I hear from my fellow freelancers.

And it doesn’t matter what kind of work they do or how long they’ve been doing it. It’s just one of those things that’s constantly weighing on people’s minds. Writing a great “about me” IS important. But there’s something that most folks are doing wrong, and it has nothing to do with the actual writing.

What most people get wrong when they write their about me page

Here’s what most people get wrong: they treat their “about me” page as if the page itself is the goal.

Reality? The “about me” page is a task, an action item—something that needs doing to support a bigger goal.

What IS the goal of an “about me” page?

What, exactly, will that revamped “about me” page support?

Here’s an example. If a travel photographer is keen on securing more press trips, an “about me” page would be one of several items needed to boost their position as a dynamic, adventurous worker.

Another example. A freelancer keen to improve their confidence may view a swishy page as just one part of a more extensive set of efforts that allow them to put their best foot forward.

A third example. A writer eager to make a strong impression on editors might view polishing their “about me” page as one step towards becoming a go-to contributor.

Updating a page or crossing something off your list doesn’t matter if it’s not part of a bigger strategy or serving a higher goal. This sounds like a lofty order, but identifying the goal you’re fighting for makes action items, tasks, and chores much more manageable.

Next time you think about your “about me” page and chide yourself for not updating it, take a breather and ask yourself why it matters.

What do you want more than anything else?

What is your goal for this week, this quarter, and this year?

Now, ask yourself what that page can do to help make those things happen.

Practical tips and common questions about “about me” pages

Should you mention where you grew up or other aspects of your personal life?

If growing up in coastal British Columbia informs your reporting on fish habitat or sets the scene for your mystery novels, it’s well worth mentioning in your “about page” and bios.

But, as a general rule, there’s no need to talk about where you grew up, who your parents were, or what your family life is like now.

Here’s a cool example from the biography of bestselling author Dan Brown:

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books.

No wonder Brown went on to write The Da Vinci Code!

One thing to avoid on your “about me” page: Cliches like “Nahla loves spending time with her family.” That’s a given!

Instead, try this on for size: “Nahla loves hiking with her children and their adventures in Algonquin Park inspired her latest travel guide.”

Should I talk about past bylines and clients?

Absolutely! It’s fantastic that you have bylines with The Globe and Mail and worked with the country’s best-known museums. But you shouldn’t open with that. This isn’t about what you’ve done in the past. It’s about what you can do for clients and partners now.

Instead of saying, “Omar’s photography has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Geographic, and Chatelaine,” consider the following: “Omar specializes in macro-photography. He combines his technical skills with a passion for food to create innovative images for recipes, cookbooks and chefs.” The first version talks about who they’ve worked with in the past but the second version talks about who they help and what makes that help so remarkable.

Should I mention my academic degrees?

Sure, if they’re a big part of your work or you’re in a field that demands extra credibility, but it’s not necessary.

A science writer’s credibility benefits from a degree in nursing!

A videographer who often works at festivals can leverage their training in early childhood education to prove how sensitive they are to the needs of families.

However, just like past bylines, you don’t need to lead with this.

What do I do if I’m just starting out?

What matters most is knowing who you serve and why, not showing off all your accomplishments. Lean into the things that made you start freelancing.

Why did you start blogging, editing, or creating social media content? Did your career as an illustrator begin when working the night shift as a security guard and you started sketching to pass the time?

Author Kevin Kwan was a relatively new writer when he wrote Crazy Rich Asians. He leaned into his expat experience to enrich the story and his biography.

Kevin Kwan was born in Singapore and left when he was 11, living in the U.S. since then.

Your career is constantly growing, your “about me” page will reflect that. What works for you today may change significantly in three years or even just three months!

How can I make this process easier?

Collaborate with a friend!

Writing someone else’s page is often much easier than your own. Partner up with a buddy to write and edit each other’s work. Don’t hesitate to take inspiration from another freelancer’s “about me” page, but remember that your story and voice make all the difference in the world. Dan Brown and Kevin Kwan lean into their own experiences, and so should you!

Posted on April 23, 2024 at 6:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: 

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