How To Write A Professional Background (Details and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Professional background sections highlight the essential details of your work experiences and let you make a positive impression on the career front. By understanding the necessity of writing a professional background for job applications and professional promotions, you can write an impactful one to improve your chances of finding a job and attracting potential customers. In this article, we discover how to write a professional background, why it is important to include one in a job application or a professional biography, what information to include, where to place it and tips for developing an impactful professional background.

How to write a professional background

Review these steps to learn how to write a professional background:

1. Know your audience

You can benefit from knowing who is likely to read your professional background information, the details they might want to know and why they might want to know these. It could be a recruiter who wants to make a hiring decision, a fellow professional who wants to connect with you or a customer who wants to hire your services or buy your products. It may be necessary to customise your professional background as per the specific readers. For instance, you might want to provide the recruiter with more details about your professional expertise and capacity to meet their job requirements.

Related: Functional Resumes: Tips, Steps, Sample And Advantages

2. Write in first person or third person

It might be a good idea to write two versions of your professional background, one in the first person and another in the third person. The first person involves writing "I am." With the third person, it is "He/She is." After you have written both, you can compare them and see which one seems effective. You can also use them for different purposes.

For instance, you might include the professional background written in the first person in your job application. In this context, preceding your achievement with "I did this or that" is appropriate and might make a stronger impression on the recruiter. You can use the one written in the third person to give your details more objectively on an introductory biography for online or offline use, professional networking sites and social media.

3. Include relevant experiences

You can begin the draft version of your professional background section by listing every job position you have held, your work experience, work responsibilities, work accomplishments, educational qualifications and work-related skills. Write everything that you think is professionally relevant. You can give the exact details of what you did, how you did it and the difference it made to your employers. It does not matter if the draft gets too long. You can trim it later to the size you require for a job application or an "About Me" section on your website, professional networking site or social media platform.

Related: How To Write "About Me" In A Resume In 4 Steps (With Tips)

4. Highlight significant details

Once you have written all the professional background information, you can decide which key details to keep and which to trim or remove in the version you make available to various people for different purposes. You want each person to get the exact information they need about you. For instance, if you use your professional background in a job application, it is advisable to review the job advertisement. You can revise the professional background section to include educational qualifications, work duties and other relevant details that match the requirements of the job. That may make the employer notice your application.

Related: How To Share Your Education Background

5. Provide quantifiable or qualitative success details

Measuring and presenting your achievements in a quantifiable or a qualitative manner can make a better impression on employers or clients. It can help them to understand how successful you were in your previous roles and the amount of work you accomplished. For instance, when presenting your details in a quantifiable way, you can provide relevant statistical data. If you worked in marketing previously, you might mention the number of sales you made or new customers you got in a specific timeframe and the revenue that you generated for the company.

To measure your success in a qualitative way, you can emphasise the skills that helped you to succeed at work. For example, you might mention how your communication and time management skills helped you to complete a project on time and meet the client's business goals.

6. Mention personal hobbies and activities

Adding a few personal details such as hobbies or activities to your professional background can make you come across as more well-rounded and personable. It can give employers and clients a sense of your personality apart from your professional persona and that can influence their decision to work with you. Consider adding a "Fun Facts About Me" sub-section and mentioning interesting facts such as your travels to over 50 countries, your ability to speak six or seven languages, your passion for gardening or the many pets you have.

You can include what you are most proud of, the things you do to relax and remain calm and the best advice you received. You can mention if you took a sabbatical from work and what you did in that period. Perhaps you made a complete career change and worked hard to advance in the new field.

7. Ensure the information is well-organised

You can organise your professional background details in neat sequential order for better presentation and reading. Since there is no specific format that is compulsory for the professional background section, you can decide what the order is to be. For instance, you might list the information by work function or chronology. Keep in mind the purpose of the professional background and make sure the arrangement is suitable for that and highlights your skills and experiences as required. It might help if you ask a family member, friend or professional colleague to review the draft and give you their honest feedback.

Why are professional backgrounds important?

Professional backgrounds are important as they provide more context to your job application and make it stand out. By providing a separate professional background section, you can make it easier for busy hiring managers to skim through the application to understand your qualifications and experience. That may improve your chances of getting selected for an interview as it shows you realize the importance of organising information. Additionally, highlighting your valuable skills and experiences can let them know at once that you are the right candidate for the job.

Taking the time to list your professional experience sequentially can also help you prepare for the job interview. By having the information ready, you may find it easier to remember the essential details of your career path. You may also be able to impress the interviewer by discussing your qualifications and experience at length and demonstrating to them how these qualify you for the available position with their company.

What information to include in a professional background

You can include information that is relevant to the job you are applying for in your professional background. You can mention the following:

  • names of your current and past employers

  • job positions you held

  • work responsibilities you undertook

  • important projects you completed

  • work achievements and awards you won

  • duration and dates of your employment

  • formal educational background and skills

  • additional educational training and certifications

  • personal statement

Related: What Are Examples Of Professionalism Skills?

Where should you put your professional background?

It is advisable to put your professional background at the top of your resume, right under your contact details. Many recruiters are busy individuals and scan through resumes rapidly. You want them to see the essential information about your work experience immediately when they glance at your resume.

You can follow the same rule for online resumes on job sites or your website. Put your professional background in the resume section that recruiters are likely to see first. Generally, this is the "About Me" section. Consider organizing the information in a summary or bullet points to make it easier for the recruiter to read. You can also use your professional background on professional networking sites and social media platforms. It can give your connections and followers a quick overview of who you are as a professional.

Tips for developing your professional background

The following tips may help you in developing your professional background:

  • Present only essential details in a concise, structured format for easy reading.

  • Summarise your professional experience in short paragraphs or bullet points.

  • Highlight your skills and knowledge to prove your suitability for the position.

  • Include previous work achievements and awards that are relevant to the new job.

  • Save a draft file to make it convenient to add new accomplishments and remove irrelevant details.

  • Keep revising and improving the draft even when you are not actively looking for work.

  • Proofread the professional background for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

  • Read the professional background aloud to check if it sounds right.

Explore more articles