Updating Your Bio? 10 Mistakes to Avoid

Have you looked over your biography recently? Many advisors seem to be so relieved to get theirs written, that they post it on their website or LinkedIn and never look at it again. BAD IDEA!

Here are some of the typical mistakes financial advisors make when writing their bios:

  1. Starting with a boring, predictable statement instead of connecting with their audience. Over 90% of the bios we see begin with how long the advisor has been in the business or with their current firm or practice. Is there anything LESS interesting about you than that? Instead, start with a sentence or two that illustrates your value to clients in a way that gives them a glimpse into the benefits of getting to know you and working with you.
  2. Forgetting that a bio isn’t the same as a résumé. Don’t cram it full with as many facts as you can. Instead, describe your background as a story, emphasizing the knowledge and experience you have gained along the way. Talk about what you have done and why it matters, rather than a boring list of titles and responsibilities.
  3. Using superlatives and other fluff. You don’t have to tell anyone that the Wharton School is prestigious. (They already know that!) Present yourself simply and accurately, and let the facts sell your story on their own merit.
  4. Assuming that clients will be impressed by a long list of initials after their name. Spell out the names of your certifications rather than using just the initials unless you’re certain your prospective client will recognize what they are and why they matter.
  5. “Padding” their lists of business, community and charitable organizations. Nothing shouts “padded” like the word “former.” List the name of the organization followed by a comma and your current title or role (such as president or board member) in lower case. If you are simply a member, just list the name of the organization, as one would assume that you’re a member.
  6. Including “vintage” honors. If you want to include honors or awards, they should be recent. Something you received fifteen years ago or while you were in college is probably no longer relevant and begs the question about what you have done lately.
  7. Thinking their bio should be only about business. Instead, finish with a paragraph or two that describes you as a person – something about your family and interesting hobbies or recreational activities. Your goal is to provide common interests or other reasons that might encourage the reader to want to connect with you.
  8. Including the same worn-out phrases or financial-speak that everyone else uses, such as, “works with his clients to achieve their investment goals,” or “enjoys spending time with her family.” Your goal should be the description of a real person, not the product of an unimaginative corporate marketing writer.
  9. Using an outdated photo. The background, lighting and attire provide clear clues to the age of the image. Add a recent, high-quality photograph of yourself wearing whatever you typically wear when meeting with clients, but no flashy patterns or jewelry. First impressions matter.
  10. Neglecting to proofread. Appropriate sentence structure, word choice, spelling, and punctuation are critical to how you present yourself. Be especially careful about catching typos and the bizarre choices of your auto-correct. We recently saw a bio that referenced their investment “mythology” instead of “methodology.” Really?!

If it appears that you don’t pay attention to details in your bio, how would a prospective client have any confidence in your ability to do complex financial planning or manage their entire investment portfolio?

Would you like a custom review of your bio…or perhaps some help writing a new one? Send us an email, and let’s talk.

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