Maximizing The Effect Of Your Freelancer's Bio
Your freelancer's bio is a vital job-hunting tool. While traditional job hunters have
CVs and resumes, independent writers and other independent professionals have
biographies, because as an independent, you're working with your clients as
a consultant, rather than working for them as an employee.
Yes, bios, plural. You need at least four bios of various lengths: 200 words, 100, 50
and 25. Over time, you'll create dozens of bios, as you emphasize your various strengths
to suit a situation.
Many writers find it excruciating to write about themselves. If you feel this way, don't
despair. You will get over this shyness in time. Until you do, force yourself to write
at least three bios. I promise, after you've created your fourth and fifth, writing a
bio will be a breeze.
It's not about you, it's about them
Self-interest rules. So before you write a word, ask yourself about the client and the
client's needs. You must approach your bio from your client's perspective. If you're
answering a job ad, this is easy. You know what the client wants, because she's told
you. Make sure that you slant your bio towards the requirements expressed in the ad.
Usually you'll introduce yourself to businesses without a job ad to guide you. The most
effective way to do this is with a mini-proposal. You send a mini-proposal, because you
should never, ever send out a naked bio; you must have a reason, other than self-interest,
for contacting a business. (More on naked bios below.)
A mini-proposal is a single page, with:
a description of a problem (or need) you perceive the business has;
an outline of the solution;
why you're the person to solve this problem -- what skills you have (your bio).
Mini-proposals are easy to write, and once you've written a few, you should be able to
write two an hour. And because your mini-proposal is focused on your prospect, it will
be kept by the business you send it to. I often receive calls from companies I sent a
mini-proposal to three or more years ago.
Did you notice how the mini-proposal focused on the client and the client's needs? After
saying who you are, you talk about the client, not about you. That said, you should
start your letter or email message with a very quick statement of who you are. Like this:
Dear Mr Jones
I'm Cindy Cooper, of Cooper Copywriting. I write for business. I found your Web site,
and ... (here's where you describe the problem or need you think Mr Jones has that you could solve).
After this super-fast introduction, the bulk of the letter/ email message will be taken
up with your outlines of the need the business has, and your proposed solution. KEEP
THE FOCUS ON THE CLIENT.
Finally, after presenting this information, comes your bio, and your bio should be no
longer than a quarter of the length of the entire letter. So let's say that your need/
solution outline takes 200 words; in this case your bio will be no longer than 50 words.
Your letter MUST focus on the client and the client's needs. Your bio needs to be short in comparison.