How to Write a Profile Essay

Post Date: 17 June 2020

Tips and Guides on writing a Profile Essay

When you hear the words profile essay, I am pretty sure what comes to your mind is a long boring text describing who a person is and what he does right? Well, a profile essay sure describes a person but it doesn’t have to be monotonous. Making it as interesting as possible is the key to it earning you decent grades. A profile essay is a type of literary writing whose aim is to be informative. It describes in detail a place, thing, person, entity, or an event. Many a time it is factual and it can be general or geared towards a specific topic. Its length can vary greatly depending on what is required of the subject matter.

Profile essays are normally written by students undertaking journalism, however, students pursuing other professions get a fair share of these assignments from their professors in a bid to gauge their creative skills. As simple as it may seem writing a profile essay requires mastery of language and skills in presenting facts in a prose form and attractively. It does not come as a surprise that many students end up presenting facts alone which earns them mediocre marks.

Well, worry no more, here I will break it down for you and show you how to properly write an attractive profile essay and I guarantee you success in it if you follow these easy steps.

Purpose of a Profile Essay

To write an appealing and effective profile essay, it is imperative that you understand the aim of writing it in the first place. As stated earlier they are majorly descriptive, as such, profile essays seek to outline the observations and facts about the person, place thing, or event. Furthermore, it serves to make the audience understand the subject in question hence form a basis for analysis. Most importantly it is a measure of how comfortable and skillful a student is with the language. It is a measure of creativity, organization, research skills, and how well a student can present their work.

Good examples of profile essays are those of iconic political leaders in history such as Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and famous artists such as Maya Angelou, Micheal Jackson, or actors such as Denzel Hayes Washington.

Key factors to consider before writing a profile essay

Before embarking on writing the actual essays, there are salient factors that you must consider to make it as effective as possible. Failure to follow these might lead to your being disqualified or if lucky enough, earn you middling marks.

    1. Collect facts from credible sources.

When preparing to write that essay it is always advisable that you interview the subject if it's possible. Untainted first-hand information from an interview is the most credible source you can ever have. Frequently though the students are supposed to write profile essays on people they have never seen and places they have never been, and the possibility of securing an interview is next to null. Therefore one has to access that information through the internet. Always obtain such information from trusted sources and by trusted I mean up to date online library materials, peer-reviewed or scholarly articles, work from professionals, or any other verified websites. Make sure you harmonize this information with the topic of your paper.

Additionally, you should check the validity of the information you are about to use. You would want to use data that is up to date at all times for proper description.

    1. Always be courteous

One thing you should always be ready for when it comes to profiling a person is that not every time will you get your icon to write about. Occasionally you will get a subject you loathe. Notwithstanding you must use polite language when addressing the subject, this is part of the process of earning marks. It is not your duty to air your negative opinion in a profile essay, it is your duty however to deliver a decent detailed description of the subject. Showing due respect goes a long way not only in getting awesome marks but also in building a good rapport with your professor. Use a polite and professional tone always. A thing to note is that most profile essays use the first person tone more than the second person. Take caution though not to overuse this as it will impair the delivery of your message.

    1. Organization of your work

A profile essay can be organized thematically or chronologically. If you have a chance to choose always go for the thematic organization which is quite focused. Moreover, there is a slight tendency for one to be monotonous and predictable while following the chronological order.

Writing the essay

To be comfortable enough in profiling a person or any other subject, you have to have some experience. Read profile essays written by experts to familiarize yourself with the various creative ways of writing one. Expose yourself to magazines such as Esquire which frequently publishes profile essays to get the hang of it. Observe how the subject is established and the overall format of the essay. Feel free to apply their diction in your paper to make it as interesting as possible.

How to start the essay

The profile essay like any other piece of writing has to be impressive. It is the first three lines that determine whether one will continue reading the essay or dismiss it. Make it your goal to start with a boom. Make it as intriguing as humanly possible. Grasp the attention of your reader if not to the end of the essay at least in the first paragraph. This will heighten your odds immensely when getting marks is involved.

An easy way of making the introduction interesting is by using thought-provoking questions or interesting facts about the subject which will grab the attention of the reader making them wonder what else is there to know about the subject. Capture the subject matter as diligently as possible to achieve the goal of the profile essay which is being informative.

Choosing the subject

In choosing your subject, always be meticulous and realistic. By realistic I mean chose a subject which you are really conversant with and the information about them is available. It would be a shame to present incorrect or incomplete information. It will not only make your work scanty but also earn you meager grades.

Structure of the Profile Essay

The profile essay, like any other essay in the writing universe, follows the classical format of introduction, body, and conclusion. Ideally, a profile essay should follow the inverted pyramid format, that is, address the most interesting and important facts about the person or entity first before proceeding to the least significant ones.

The Introduction

Two things you have to achieve with your introduction; hook the reader to your essay and give them a taste of what you have in store for them in the rest of the essay. Always go for short, clear, and concise sentences in the introduction. To make it catchy consider using a surprising fact or statistic about the subject, a question, a quotation, or a brief anecdote. Steer clear of cliches and generalizations like sweeping declarations such as “always” or ”everywhere” as they are banal and overused. Highlight a unique attribute of the person which will be a plus in attracting the reader's attention. Apart from that, try to summarize some of the points you are going to lay down on the subject in the body, it’s the rule of thumb.

The Body

For you to efficiently convey your message about the subject you need at least three paragraphs for the shortest essay. Present the information you obtained from the sources you used in a logical sequence to maintain the flow of the essay. Ensure you paraphrase or properly cite the sources to avoid plagiarism. You can go ahead and describe how the entity you are profiling looks like, how they dress in the case of a person the way they talk, and their general character. Address vividly the achievements of the person making sure to include interesting facts about them.

The Conclusion

The profile essay like any other academic essay has to have a conclusion. In conclusion, reflect on the points you have just discussed. The essence of the conclusion is to convince the reader that what they have just read was consequential. It is recommended that you restate the thesis statement in the conclusion, taking care not to introduce any new idea as this would make it part of the body. Structure the sentences in a tone of finality to give the reader satisfaction but at the same time leave them wanting more. And how will you leave them longing for more you may ask? Well, you can use a witty quote or a thought to make them thirst.

What next?

After completing your essay, reread it and submit it to Grammarly or any other formatting application you know to correct the spelling and syntax. Remember, for your work to be as professional as possible it has to be meaningful and grammatically correct. Spelling errors should be a non-issue whenever you write an essay as they can reflect negatively on your mastery of the language.

Last Updated: 17 June 2020

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