Writing short biographies is becoming more popular with the establishment of company websites. Businesses often include staff biographies on their websites, and publish biographies in newspapers when a new employee is hired.
Make your biography accurate and current. Do research. Interview your subject, as well as people who know the individual well, if possible. Ask where the person has lived, worked and attended school. Inquire about the highlights of their education and professional life, as well as their personal interests and family. Jot your notes on separate notecards in pen, so your notes do not smudge. Use the Internet, library books and other sources to fact check your biography where necessary.
Identify the audience and format in which the biography will be presented. Arrange and rearrange your notecards around until you get them into an ordered arrangement that will make the most sense to your audience. You might choose to write the biography in chronological order, for example, or according to the person's accomplishments. Create an outline.
Use your outline to construct your first draft. Ignore limiting yourself to the 200 word limit in your first draft. Focus instead on getting all the material in a logical order and written well. Type your draft, save it to your computer and print out a copy. Write your word count on the top of the page in pen.
Place your draft aside for a few hours, or even a day or two if possible. Revise it after some time has elapsed. Focus on your content first. Eliminate adverbs and excessive adjectives, making sure your sentences are concise and interesting. Read your draft aloud to catch missing or extraneous words and edit accordingly.
Check your word count to see how close you are to the 200-word limit. Reduce your word count if necessary by truncating quotations and by tossing out excess or minor details. Focus on major achievements and degrees, rather than listing every small award. Make certain your biography is written in active voice, as passive sentence construction is wordy. Delete cliches and reduce lengthy phrasing to fewer words. Avoid redundancies.
Proofread for grammar and punctuation after you've streamlined your content.
- Make certain to keep your biography focused and organized.
- Write the draft out in full before you start editing for length.
- Do not plagiarize material from a website, book or neglect attribution of direct quotes.
Alison Diefenderfer is a higher educational professional with experience in teaching and tutoring. She has been a freelance writer since 2007 and has been published in the science publication "AWIS Magazine." Diefenderfer has book reviews in both the "Journal of Latin and Caribbean Anthropology" and "Journal of International and Global Studies." She holds a Master of Science in interdisciplinary social science.