Why are most agent bios written in the 3rd person?
A good question, and one that agents often ask when I begin their bios.
Agent bios are probably written in the 3rd person because it seems less self-centered. A narrative written about you sounds somehow “softer” than a page filled with “I,” “I,” and more “I.”
The truth is, even on an “about me” page which is supposed to be about the agent, saying “I do this” and “I believe that” comes across as self absorbed. It doesn’t matter that every time you say “I” you’re relating ways that you help your clients.
A reader scanning down a page and seeing paragraph after paragraph beginning with “I” feels somehow put off.
Of course, the same thing can happen with a 3rd person narrative. If you begin each paragraph with the agent’s name, it’s a bit “too much.” So the trick is to turn the paragraphs upside down.
Instead of saying “Sally believes in spending as much time as necessary to educate her clients, so that they make good decisions,” you might say “Good decisions come as the result of good information, so Sally takes as much time as necessary to educate her clients.”
You could, of course, use the same method to “Hide the I’s” by moving them away from the focal point at the beginning of each paragraph.
“About you” should be about you…
An “about me” page should definitely be about the agent – and should reveal reasons why prospects will benefit by choosing that agent. At the same time, it’s always a balancing act. Whether writing in first person or third a writer needs to tread carefully in order to avoid making the agent sound arrogant.
A good quote from the agent absolutely does have a place in such a bio. And I can envision an effective “About” page written n first person if the agent writes it in the form of a heartful letter to his or her future clients. That is, it would be effective as long as the agent remembers to “Hide the I’s” in the body of the paragraphs.
Writing agent bios is a bit tricky, because while the page is about the agent, underneath it all, it’s still about the client.