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How to Write a Military Bio: Valuable Pieces of Advice

Basics of the Military Bio

A military bio is an individual’s entire military career in a compact summary that is less than one page. Regardless of what branch of the military you may be in, the military bio is essentially the same. It is usually required of personnel who are up for promotion or transferring from one branch of the military to another. It may also be necessary if you are having anything published while a member of the armed forces or for things such as speaking engagements. Military service members who will be transitioning to civilian life should know how to write a military bio, especially those whose work experience has been primarily in the service. Writing a military bio is difficult for many people for several reasons including the following:

  • Lack of knowledge about the bio writing process.
  • Need for brevity. For some it can be difficult to condense a career to less than a page.
  • Translating military bio terms to civilian equivalents. For those returning to civilian life, their military bio needs to be understood by civilian employers.

Why Write a Military Biography?

The military biography is meant to provide a brief narrative summary of your military career. Whether you are army, navy, airforce or coast guard the same basic format will be followed. However it isn’t uncommon for different commands to request things be done in a slightly different way. A military biography will usually be requested of personnel who are up for promotion, or of those who want to transfer to a different branch of the military than the one they are currently serving in. Those who are representing the military in some way, making a public speech, or having something published may also need a military biography. The command officers of military installations and the highest ranking enlisted man at each installation will have their biographies posted on installation websites. Military websites are a good place to look if you would like to see a military biography sample.

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Who Needs a Military Bio?

A military bio might be necessary for several different reasons by anybody serving in one of the branches of the armed forces. Some of the reasons for writing a military bio include the following:

  • Military personnel who are up for promotion. This may be one of the most common reasons for writing military biography. Those going before a promotion review board will usually have to recite their biography as well.
  • Military personnel transferring to another branch of the military than the one they are currently serving in.
  • Military personnel who are being published or who have speaking engagements.
  • Military personnel who are leaving the armed services may need a biography, especially those who have had lengthy military careers, and little or no civilian work experience.

A military biography is a brief summary of the entire military career of the author of the biography, including all duty stations, training and awards. Every branch of the military follows more or less the same format when writing bios, making it easy to quickly review a military career regardless of the branch an individual serves in. One last suggestion is to consider a professional biography or military resumes writing service if you have problems writing your bio. It is your career and future after all.

military career interesting facts

Source: archive.defense.gov

Why Do I Need an Army Bio?

Your army biography is a concise summary of your army career that can provide readers with a quick overview of your skills and qualifications. A majority of army personnel will encounter the need for an army bio during their military careers. The two most common purposes of an army bio are:

  1. For promotion. Usually the bio must be written and recited during the promotion process.
  2. For transition back to civilian life. In these cases the army bio isn’t required but is considered essential if you intend to pursue a civilian career.

There are a number of other reasons for writing a bio. However the number of people needing bios for those reasons is much less.

army bio writing problems

Problems Encountered When Writing an Army Bio

For some, writing their army bio can be a difficult task and one that they find a little intimidating. Some of the problems that might be encountered writing military bios include the following:

  • Keeping it brief – A military bio is expected to be brief. It should summarize your entire military career in less than one page. For inexperienced writers this can be difficult.
  • Writing in third person, narrative style – There are many who have no interest in writing and won’t be sure what third person narrative is.
  • Translating military terms to language civilians can relate to – It can be difficult to convey skills and qualifications you have into language civilians can relate to.

The following is a military biography example you can examine:

“SSG Bob Jones was born in DeMoines, Iowa. He joined the U.S. Army on the 15th of January 2005 when he was 20 years old. He completed Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. On the 16th of May 2005 PV2 Jones reported to 101st Airborne Division (AIR ASSAULT) in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 187th Infantry Regiment. He served in three combat tours, two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and another tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since joining the army he has graduated the Warrior Leader Course, Air Assault School, Basic Non Commissioned Officer Course, Infantry Mortar Leader Course, Expert Machine Gunner Course, Multiple Long Range Marksmanship courses and the U.S. Army Recruiting School. His duty positions have included Rifleman, Grenadier, mounted/dismounted Machine Gunner, Assistant Gunner (mortar), Gunner (mortar), Squad Leader, Fire Direction Center Chief, Section Leader (mortar), Platoon Sergeant, and Recruiter.”

How to Write a Military Bio

Knowing how to write a military bio consists basically of two things:

  1. Information to include in bios. A military bio will contain the following information:
  • All military assignments beginning with the first up to the present
  • Military schools and training received
  • Military awards, citations, service ribbons and qualifications received
  • History of your military promotions
  • Family History
  • Civilian education
  1. Using a military biography format. The military bio should meet the following format criteria:
  • Bios should be written in the third person
  • A narrative style of writing should be used for bios
  • Bios should be brief with no unnecessary words or information
  • Bios should begin with your name, rank and current duty station

Military bios have a certain appeal to professionals as they match the current trend in writing professional bios quite well. The narrative but concise style of writing to present qualifications and experience is very similar to that used by civilian professionals, enabling the reader to get a quick and effective overview of the individual the biography concerns. Always proofread your military bio and check military biography template  or military bio sample. Basic mistakes reflect poorly on your professionalism.

How to Write a Military Biography in 7 Easy Steps

The military biography is written in the third person, but at promotion boards, those up for review will be expected to recite their biography in the first person. Writing your military biography will consist of the following steps:

  1. State your name, service branch, rank, deployment status, current deployment, age, date of birth and home town.
  2. Beginning with your first military experience list all your military assignments in chronological order. Show assignments from the beginning month/year to ending month/year, position, unit assigned and location.
  3. List all awards and decorations received including ribbons for active duty participation and qualifications received through training.
  4. Describe all the military schooling you have received.
  5. List your rank ascension history in chronological order starting with your first rank. Include the date on which you received each rank.
  6. Detail your family history including parents, spouse and children if any.
  7. Identify any civilian schooling you have had.

Make sure that you thoroughly proofread your military biography or  financial advisor bio. Check for correct spelling and grammar and ensure all facts and dates are correct.

Tips and Suggestions for Writing the Military Bio

The following tips can be useful for writing the military bio:

  • Make sure to write in the third person on your bio
  • Keep the bio brief by revising. If information isn't relevant then remove it. Eliminate unnecessary words. To determine if a word is necessary remove it. If the sentence remains grammatically correct and meaning isn't changed, then that word isn't necessary.
  • Use a military bio example as a guide if you are unsure how to write a military bio.
  • Always write military biographies in the third person.
  • Biographies often conclude with a brief statement of short and long term goals. This will depend both on your command and what purpose the biography is being written for
  • Proofread your biography and double check all facts

If you are having difficulties writing your military biography,  marketing manager bio or financial advisor bio,  try checking with some of the online biography writing services. Some of them offer helpful tips and may even provide a sample military biography you can use as a guide for writing your own.

military career stats

Source: militaryfamilies.extension.org

Elements of Military Bios

A military bio as well as military resumes is a brief summary of an individual’s military career. Military bios are required of those up for promotion or for service members wishing to transfer to another branch of the military. Although not required for military personnel transitioning to civilian status it is recommended. When writing a military biography there will be two major areas of concern:

  1. Content – Information to include:
  • Current rank and station
  • All military assignments from the first military experience to the present.
  • Military school and training
  • Awards, citations and qualifications received
  • History of promotions earned
  • Family history
  • Civilian schools attended
  1. Format and style -The following writing criteria should be met
  • Write in the third person
  • Use a narrative style of writing
  • Bios should be brief and a concise writing style employed
  • Military stations and training should be listed chronologically from first to last

Difficulties Encountered When Writing Military Bios

The following are some areas that can create problems with the bio or where mistakes are made:

  • Allowing the bio to become too long. There are some people who have difficulty with summarizing information and keeping things brief.
  • Not writing in the third person or switching back and forth between first and third person
  • For transitioning personnel, translating military terms into “civilian speak”

Tips and Suggestions for Writing Your Military Bio

The following tips can be helpful for those with a bio to write:

  • Revise to shorten your biography. Look for information that can be removed and unnecessary words that can be eliminated. Examine sentences to see if restructuring will shorten them.
  • Proofread for basic mistakes in spelling and grammar. Make sure writing is in third person and you haven't inadvertently slipped into first person.
  • Consider using a professional service if you are having difficulties. Not everybody is a skilled writer and even those who are can have difficulty translating military terms to language civilians will understand.

An example military bio or  military bio sample has been provided here for you to examine:

“Senior Airman John Smith

AFSC: 3M031, Services Apprentice

Senior Airman John Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Central High School, graduating May 2004. Senior Airman Smith enlisted in the Air Force and arrived at Lackland AFB, Texas, in October 2004 for basic training. Upon graduation, he received a direct-duty assignment to the First Services Squadron, Jones AFB, Texas, arriving in December 2004. Since arriving at Jones AFB, he has served in a variety of positions, including store room clerk and his current assignment as a Services Apprentice assigned to the Ford’s Dining Facility as a shift leader. His military awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Training Ribbon. He attends Lucas College in Smith, Texas, and is working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Senior Airman Smith is married to his wife Cathy with one child, Robert.”

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