According to Backstage.com, “A bio is a summary of the highlights of your career—your training, credits, and something about you personally, i.e. what you do when you are not acting. It tells the industry in sentence form—unlike the columns in your resume—what *genres you can voice and why to hire you” (*changed for VO purposes).
Your voice-over bio, or at least a portion of it, will be used on your website and LinkedIn (and any other of your social media pages). You may use it when you contact a new client, included as part of a services guarantee. It could also be used if you’re asked to speak at a luncheon or are interviewed by your local newspaper because what you do is so darn cool!
Here are some ideas of how to create a compelling voice-over bio:
Decide if you want to use first or third person. This can be tricky to decide which one to use, but often times, it depends on what medium you’re using. Keep in mind that a bio is not an autobiography. You should use your name and pronouns to describe yourself – it shows your professionalism.
Make it relatively short and sweet. Direct communication is the best way to convey your point. There is no need for flowery or overly clever language in a voice-over bio.
Include personal experiences and special skills. Write a couple of sentences about any experiences that you have had that could explain why you belong in the voice-over industry, even if you haven’t worked in voice-over before. Add a couple of sentences about your voice-over training, assuming you have some, or about genres that you excel in. If you’ve done any recent projects, include them as well. You could add some background about your personal life. I prefer adding something about how hiring me benefits the client and the project.
If you are new to the voice-over industry and are wondering how in the world you are going to make it sound like you are qualified to do this, here are some examples:
1. “Jillian has used her voice throughout her 11-year sales career to persuade her clients to buy products and services. She looks forward to using her voice to help compel more of your customers to buy your products and services.”
2. “Jillian’s background in corporate finance has her uniquely poised to understand your company’s needs to deliver a project that is both on time and within budget.”
3. “Jillian’s background in education gave her the true understanding of the importance of conveying not just the words, but the emotion behind the words. She’ll bring that emotion of your project to life.”
Ultimately, my goal is to get hired, so I always like to end any correspondence reminding my potential client how I can be a resource to their business. The last line of your voice-over bio can be used as another way to remind them of the benefit of hiring you and that you know how to get voice work done effectively and efficiently.
Here is my bio. Keep in mind, the name of my business is Well Said Jillian:
Jillian Nielsen is an expressive voice talent with over 20 years of experience in radio & television commercial and promotional voice overs, e-learning, documentary narration, on-camera and event emcee work. She intuitively understands the need to produce a project that accomplishes YOUR goals, and that is truly WELL SAID down to the last word!
Soon after graduating with a degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Jillian built a successful career working for a variety of radio and television stations. Along the way, she acquired a vast knowledge of the commercial and promotional voice-over industry while continuously training with some of the best in the VO biz.
Whether you’re looking for a youthful and upbeat or smooth and peaceful sound, Jillian delivers with the reassurance and playfully smart talent that her clients trust and every listener loves.
Sometimes I use the whole thing, sometimes I just use the first paragraph. There are tons of great bios out there to look at. I suggest you start searching online for voice-over bios. See what you like and what you don’t like, and get started on writing your own. Make sure not to copy anyone else’s bio word-for-word, and instead use those bios for structure and inspiration. I hope this gives you an idea of how to get voice work with a compelling voice-over bio, keeping in mind that this is just one of the first steps in the entire process. Remember to keep your bio unique to you and be confident in yourself. Enjoy the process and good luck on your journey!
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About the Author
Jillian Nielsen is an expressive voice talent with over 14 years of experience in radio and television commercial and promotional voice-overs.