How to Write a Good Retirement Biography

CMEA Crest


After having served a career in the Canadian Military Engineers and now moving on to Phase II of their life, our members deserve recognition of that service and best wishes for their future endeavours. The CMEA plays an important role in this transition by publishing a biography on our website.


This guideline outlines the components and characteristics of an appropriate biography.

Retirement Biography Format

The biography should follow a logical format with the right balance between the routine aspects of a career and the appropriate detail of any highlights in terms of achievements or events as appropriate.

  • Please do not write the person’s UER in narrative form. Make it interesting.

  • As a rule, the biography should easily fit on one page -- 400 or so words should be sufficient.

  • Use single spacing.

  • The biography can be written in English, French or both.

  • A ‘head & shoulders’ photo of the person in uniform should also be included. It should be of sufficient resolution (preferably 300 dpi) to show properly on a webpage. The CMEA will crop and edit the photo if needed so long as the quality is good.

The CMEA does not edit these submissions, so poorly written biographies reflect badly on both the individual and the writer.

Click here for more detail and examples. 


The style of a retirement biography can be informal, but not casual. Annex B provides some points of style with some examples.

Legacy Value of a Retirement Biography

Years from now, this person will die and few of us will be around to honour their passing. Family members are likely to write an obituary, but our experience shows most obituaries do not provide a good description of the deceased’s military career. Our Retirement narrative may be the only available source without which an appropriate Last Post tribute may not be possible.

A copy of the biography will also be kept in the Personality File at the CME Museum.

A retiring individual should receive a printed copy of their biography and a copy should also be placed on the individual’s personnel file.

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