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Chere Estrin originally blogged this post in July of 2011 on The Estrin Report. Perhaps you saw it way back when! If so – our question to you is this – did you actually revamp your bio? Let me guess….mentally you said to yourself “wow, what a brilliant post about bios, I’ll have to do that…” but somehow, you never managed to actually take action…and there it went…along the paralegal wayside. Whether this is your first time reading this article or your second, please consider this a call to action! The time to revamp your boring bio is now!!
By: Chere Estrin (Guest Blogger)
This article is being reprinted with kind permission from Chere Estrin and The Estrin Report: www.estrinlegaled.typepad.com.
A bio can be one of the most important career tools you have. How it’s written, however, can position you as a stellar player or just an average player. I’ll be the first to say it: most bios are boring. If you read one bio after another, you probably can’t tell one lawyer, paralegal, litigation support professional, consultant, etc. from the other.
A bio can open amazing career doors. It’s not your resume and shouldn’t read like one. When you’re using a bio, it has to get people excited. A bio is not a generic name tag that says, “Hello, My Name is…..” It’s used on your firm’s website, for speaking engagements, articles, association information, to land new colleagues and contacts, in social media and to sell your current skills and abilities as an authority in the field. Why people spend more time deciding on what new outfit to buy than time writing a bio is a good question.
Most bios generally follow a format and include:
1. current employer or firm
2. expertise and experience
3. previous employers
4. education and training
5. awards and honors
6. community and professional service
7. teaching, writing and publishing
8. special projects and accomplishments
Don’t be afraid to put a marketing spin on your bio. If you want people to take notice, you have to assume that they are not going to read between the lines. In a world filled with spectacular technology and impressive visual aids combined with short attention spans and fast-paced Internet surfing, people need something that will capture their attention immediately. Your bio needs to be in line with the mind-set of today’s readers.
Let’s take a look at an average bio:
Libby Del Monte is a six- year litigation paralegal specializing in eDiscovery at Birdseye, Hormel, Oscar & Meyer.
In 2005, Ms. Del Monte began her career at Coffee, Coffee & Whines. Prior to becoming a paralegal, she worked as an entrepreneur for 20 years. In 1998, Libby won an award from Erie County Coalition for Persons with Disabilities. In 2007, she was recognized for significant achievements as an inaugural member of the Bighorn Paralegal Association. Her article, “What’s a Paralegal to Do” appeared in the WalkandTalk Paralegal Association Newsletter. Ms. Del Monte graduated with a B.A. degree in English from Ohio State University and earned her paralegal certificate from the ABC Paralegal Institute in 2005. She is currently on the board of the Bighorn Paralegal Association, a member of NALA and Women in eDiscovery. Ms. Del Monte is a contributing author for KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals and LawBuzz, a blog.
With more than two decades of legal and business experience, Libby Del Monte has developed a sharp eye for how businesses get bloated with inefficiencies, cross-purposes and miscommunication — and how they can retool for a sleeker, smoother, strategically focused organization.
As a paralegal who has quickly built a successful career path, Libby assists lawyers at Birdseye, Hormel, Oscar & Meyer in creating litigation readiness systems and risk management controls. Her previous paralegal positions at two well-respected major firms, Mango & Tango and Somebody, Nobody & Everybody, has given her the skills to master the booming new field of eDiscovery.
She has assisted attorneys on cases ranging from telecommunications giants like POP to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees and up to $4 million in annual revenues. A leader in the paralegal community, she is the current Chairperson of the eDiscovery Paralegal Section of the Bar. She began as an inaugural member of the Bighorn Paralegal Association and currently serves on its board. She is an active member of the Ohio Bar Association and Women in eDiscovery. She writes a popular column for KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals and LawBuzz, a trendy blawg for paralegals. She has been featured in the WalkandTalk Paralegal Association Newsletter. Ms. Del Monte is an honors graduate of Ohio State University and received her paralegal certificate from ABC Paralegal Institute, an ABA approved paralegal program.
Spend the time revising your bio. The worst that can happen is you’ll get more attention and better opportunities.
Now go breathe some life into your boring bio! Seriously. You will always be busy (let’s face it, you’re a paralegal…), there will always be more work than time and you will always have umpteen thousand things to do! All you need is one hour. Find your one hour!
If you’re really serious about taking this bio revamp challenge, please leave a comment to indicate your commitment!
The Paralegal Society said:
In May of last year, I had to travel to Michigan because my brother was hospitalized following a motor vehicle collision. I printed this article off when it initially ran on The Estrin Report and it made its way into a redwell folder I have for “all the things I need to do at some point.” I decided to take it along on our trip, so I could work on revamping my bio as my husband drove. I was surprised at how easy it was to rewrite my bio once I actually sat down and started working on it. I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner!
I think when we, as people write our bios, profile pieces, and even articles, we tend to want to write them “how everyone else writes it.” We even seek out examples by other people before we begin, so we can tailor ours in a similar fashion. Why is that? It makes no sense. I have to say that the profile pieces I’ve received the highest compliments on were ones where I went out on a limb and breathed some “soul” into them…they were not like everyone else’s. That’s what made them good! I think the same is true of bios.
Like Chere said, it’s not a resume — it’s a bio!! Your bio! It tells people about who you are, what you’ve done and what you’re really good at doing!! This advice really helped me to transform my bio…and I hope it helps you to tranform yours too! Happy writing, TPS members!