Our complete guide to describing yourself in 140 characters (or fewer).
Social media like Twitter has made bios like these all the more important — and the popularity of Twitter has led to one very interesting question making the rounds in job applications lately.
“Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.”
Hyper-short biographies or stories are nothing new.
Flash fiction has been gaining ground for years, while the advent of social media and blogging has made bite-sized bits of content into a necessity for many sites.
What’s more, author bios or personal bios for books or websites have been around for centuries, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.
But despite the short length, the actual process of creating one of these short bios can often be a stressful one.
Shakespeare always said “brevity is the soul of wit,” right?
Wrong. He said it once. But everyone remembers it because it was smart and pithy, and because he was Shakespeare.
They hardly even remember the fact that Shakespeare probably didn’t write his own stuff or was a pseudonym for multiple different authors or something.
It turns out that there are lots of good reasons that you should be able to describe yourself in relatively few words:
So it’s obvious that there are benefits — but how do you go about actually putting your 140-character bio together?
In short — which is the name of the game today — you should start big, then go small.
It can be tough trying to fit your entire life and work experience into such as short amount of space right off the bat, but it gets easier to decide what’s most important to mention once you list all your experiences out first.
Here are a few more things you should consider when putting together your 140-character biography:
Let’s say there are five main things a person feels are important to get across in their profile:
Based on that information, here are a few possible configurations:
- “Programmer based in San Francisco, comfortable with CSS, Java, Python. Experienced startup worker looking for new opportunities.” (128 Characters)
- “I’m a programmer based in San Fran. Comic book nerd. Contact me if you’re looking for an experienced coder to help bring your dream to life.” (140 Characters)
- “Coder and comic book aficionado with 1+ years experience in CSS, Python, Java. Looking for programming help? Contact for more info.” (131 Characters)
That’s all for this one! But keep one thing in mind:
You only have room to bring up 2-5 points about yourself, so the pressure is on for you to make sure that they’re as interesting as possible.
That is to say that people should know about your personal interests — they help you stand out — but if the first thing they see about you in a job-related setting is “loves Steven Universe,” then even the most diehard cartoon fan might think twice about you.
Just something to keep in mind, is all.
Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
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