about me page

Your About Me Page: A No-Résumé Zone

Your About Me page should tell your story in a way that delights your audience. But if it reads more like a résumé, let’s reimagine it.

Anyone who knows me has heard my one unbreakable rule when creating an About Me page: “It’s not really about me, it’s about the customer.” Pretty simple, right? Or is that easier said than done?

Many of my clients find writing about themselves to be a challenge. I understand what they go through, as I’ve struggled with it myself. Is it because we know ourselves so well that we lose perspective on the more compelling aspects of our lives? Possibly.

If we fail to recognize this, we risk creating an About Me page that resembles a résumé in the form of a cover letter. Unless your readers work in HR or recruitment, it won’t make for an engaging read. In the end, you’ll be just listing your career experience, credentials, and passions. That might not sound too bad, but everyone else has those too. So how do you stand out?

The key to a great About Me page is to recognize that you DO have a unique, compelling story. We just need to flush it out.

The No-Résumé Zone

Many people craft their About Me page like a résumé, thinking that doing so will attract customers. While it’s true that these are all important parts of a successful whole, they’re not the bottom line when trying to grow your business. In fact, I would argue that these factors fall further down the list than most might think.

Let’s take education, for example. The fact that you hold multiple degrees from Harvard may read well, but doesn’t necessarily mean you can understand your customers’ problems. Conversely, a well-written story that demonstrates how relatable you are might impress your audience more.

You may have heard of these wildly successful people:

  • David Karp (founder of Tumblr)
  • Richard Branson (founder of Virgin)
  • Mike Hudak (founder of Blip.tv)
  • Vidal Sassoon (hair products magnate)

No one would ever dispute their professional credentials today. However, if you judge them solely by their academic achievements, you might not consider them hireable.

Why? Because these professionals, like many others, never finished high school. And we didn’t even expand this list to include famous college dropouts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Napster founder Shawn Fanning.

Make no mistake, great credentials are important. But when it comes to your About Me page, a compelling story is even more important. And these guys have some great ones.

[tweetthis]Why your About Me Page is a No-Résumé Zone: #digitalmarketing #onlinemarketing #contentmarketing[/tweetthis]

Building Your New Story

There’s an old saying in writing: “Show, Don’t Tell”. In short, show me what you’re trying to say, don’t just tell me.

In my case, instead of just declaring my passion for writing, I talked about my first novel, which I self-published at 11 years old. The story grew from there. I didn’t dwell on that first book; rather I spoke about how using words to touch people moved me, and how that feeling still persists today.

In other words, we don’t want live in the past, but we do want to reference our humble beginnings as a starting point in our career.

Are you a restauranteur who started with a lemonade stand? A mechanic who disassembled and rebuilt a lawnmower as a child? A software developer who envisioned improvements to Atari in its heyday? Start from there, and tell us about it. We promise to read with interest.

Connecting to Now

The idea is to apply all the compelling elements of your life into your overall story without making them the focus. Now that we’ve established your beginning point, let’s connect it to how you’ve grown, and where you are now.

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  • What was my “Aha!” moment, when I decided to turn my childhood passion into a career
  • What sets me apart from my competition?
  • Looking back, what was the biggest lesson I learned?

The restauranteur who started out running a lemonade stand might answer the questions this way:

  • When my customers complimented my lemonade and sunny disposition
  • Understanding what customers want, and finding a way to provide it
  • That when you work hard, and treat people well, good things happen

Although these answers might seem glib and simplistic, they can be used to create an overall theme that clearly demonstrates your enthusiasm, customer-focus, and forward-thinking attitude that will resonate with your audience. People love stories, especially those of the rags-to-riches type, as they demonstrate the dreams that so many have themselves.

Final Wise Words

I could go on and on to provide tips and insights on writing a great About Me page. But when you get right down to it, you can be as compelling and engaging as can be, but without this last bit of wisdom, all of your efforts will be for naught.

That last bit of wisdom is to be authentic. Always.