An older engineer at a small manufacturing company emailed to ask: “Is it ok to put personal information in our bios? Call me a stuffed-shirt, but putting in personal details seems unprofessional. We should stick with listing our experience, education and credentials. Yes?”
This is a great question, and one that customers used to ask on a regular basis.
These days, thanks for social media, people feel more comfortable adding personal details to their team bios. These details help prospects get to know people on your team and an interesting detail or two can help spark conversation.
But, not everyone is comfortable with adding personal details; some companies still don’t include team bios for various reasons.
“Some of the women on our team don’t want their names and photos on the website,” said one customer. “They have reasons for this and I respect them,” she said.
We agreed and proceeded with the website minus a few bios.
Appearing “too small”
This reason is common. If the management team consists of three people, the customer is afraid the company will appear “small” or like a “mom and pop.”
Prospects can usually guess you’re small — all they have to do is use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator feature to see the number of employees for many companies. And, it’s usually the case prospects are looking for a smaller company.
Lori Malitsky, Founder of Flood Solutions, used her company’s “smallness” to an advantage. A very small manufacturer, Lori presented her team on the About page with a brief company history.
Lack of good photos
In the last year, we’ve had to deal with companies not having access to a good photographer due to COVID and/or travel restrictions. Plus, so many people were working remotely.
What to do? For Kays Engineering, we simply used the photos team members had family or co-workers take.
Were they highest quality and professionally done? No, but they worked — and can be updated once Kays is ready.
Tips for creating team bios
✔️ Use the same format for each bio
By “format,” this means the order of information: the person’s current responsibilities and expertise in the first paragraph, brief career history in the second paragraph, education in the third, etc.
✔️ Highlight credentials, experience, and awards / honors relevant to the job
Be sure that each bio presents the person’s credentials, any honors or industry awards, and all relevant experience. By adding this information, you help build trust and authority in the minds of your prospects.
What should you do if someone didn’t graduate from college? Simply highlight all relevant experience. You can also focus on supplementary education — e.g. industry certifications. Be sure to include whether the person is active or holds leadership positions in industry associations.
Don’t forget military experience as well as any honors or medals earned.
✔️ Add personal information as desired
Often, people have interesting outside interests and it’s this information that adds color and texture to an otherwise standard bio. Consider asking people to include volunteer or community activities, church / synagogue leadership, club memberships, and hobbies or athletic endeavors (e.g. marathon runner, cyclist, etc.).
Note the interesting bit Tom Stanek added to his bio about playing in the family friend’s auto wrecking yard as a kid, as well as working in his dad’s machine shop — and how that led to him being a ferrous broker.
✔️ Have professional photos taken!
We know right now it can be tough to get a professional photographer onsite, so if you do end up resorting to smartphone photos, follow these tips: Take the photos outside (for natural light) and in the same place. Make sure the background isn’t cluttered or distracting.
If possible, though, have a professional take people’s headshots. The quality will be significantly better. And too, a professional sees things in photographs that you never see: background clutter, “dead space,” hairs and dust on your clothes, poor lighting, etc. He or she is also patient and knows that it may take a dozen or more photos to capture the “essence” of you.
We post these tips each Wednesday on the Huff Industrial Marketing LinkedIn page. Be sure to give us a follow.