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How to write a profile essay

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How to write a profile essay

A profile essay is a literary type of writing that deals with the description of certain personality traits or characteristics and reveals their impact on other people. The writer of this paper should always be particular about his choice of words and phrases to describe the subject for it can give a positive or negative impression depending upon its correctness. A profile essay also requires the writer to provide more than just facts, as they are much simpler kinds of papers.

how to write a profile essay

When writing your profile assignment, you need to take into consideration these following guidelines:

  1. Try to pay attention on how your researches are done so as not to miss out any info that may help in completing your paper.
  2. Always try to keep yourself updated about the activities of your subject so that you can follow up on what is going in their life and whether they have done any good or bad actions lately.
  3. The most critical aspect of writing a profile essay is its research and content. Every sentence in your work should be filled with accurate information, as people consider this type of works very reliable, which will lead them to believe anything written down without doubt. In this case, it is important for you to consult some experts who know your subject well enough to give you right advice and authoritative data for better rating.
  4. Your supporting examples should also be properly analyzed as one wrong idea would spoil the whole work. For example, if you are writing a profile essay on Mahatma Gandhi, do not analyze his role in Indian independence movement as something which is basically wrong and non-factual at all.

This will help people to understand your point of view regarding some particular personality and make them think about the situation from your perspective.

What is a profile essay?

By definition, a profile essay is a detailed description of a person, place, organization, institution, and at other times, events. It gives the reader a comprehensive view and understanding of the subject.

Profile Essay Definition: A profile essay is a type of writing that describes someone or something. The “someone” may be a real person, such as the writer’s best friend, who has influenced his/her life profoundly. Alternatively, it could describe an imaginary character from one’s favorite book or movie.

There are three basic types of profile essays: descriptive , analytical and dramatic.

Descriptive profiles focus on providing a vivid description of someone or something while avoiding too much analysis and commentary (as in analytical profiles).

A good example would be Adrian Mole ‘s attempt to provide a detailed and honest portrait of his mother in the beginning pages of her her journal.

Analytical profiles go into greater depth analyzing the object being described but still avoid using the writer’s opinion or commentary.

Profiles can be written about people, places, objects and ideas. A famous person may be the subject of a profile essay if he/she is important for some reason (e.g., his or her past influence on society even after death).

An object could be an item of value belonging to someone who has had a significant role in one’s life (e.g., the reporter’s microphone from which Winston Churchill delivered his legendary speeches during World War II).

In fact, any topic that serves as the focus of someone’s interest could provide inspiration for writing a profile.

Profiles are often used in non-fictional writing such as biographies, autobiographies and news reports, but they are also used in creative writing essays.

What is the Purpose of a Profile Essay?

The primary purpose of a profile essay is to give your readers a detailed view of the subject. However, researchers encounter an extensive range of information when researching a profile essay. It is crucial to sort the data ensuring that the essential details are not left out.

A profile essay should be an exciting read. As much as it is informative, do not let the readers get bored along the way. Ensure you keep the article short and precise. To do this, keep in mind the general knowledge of your readers. Remember, you want to pull an ‘Oh! So, this happened!’ expression.

How do you prepare to write a Profile Essay?

Remember, a profile essay is a summary of information regarding a particular subject. Like any other essay, you need to prepare to write a profile essay.

Follow the following steps.

  1. Gather information on your subject: The subject of your essay could be a person, a place, or an event. Gather as much information about your topic as possible. You can do this in several ways.
  2. Read written materials.
  3. Carry out interviews with the subject persons (persons in charge of the subject is a place or an event)
  4. Handing out questionnaires
  5. View related pictures and videos.
  6. Group and organize the information into relevant topics: You could gather much information, so segmenting them makes it easier for you to organise the facts while writing. Essentially, it makes your content flow, which is exciting for the reader.

What are the contents of a Profile Essay?

There are several areas to focus on when writing a profile essay.

  • Background story – Give a short description of the subject, which could be items like name, age, and profession (founders in case of an event or a place).
  • Significant achievements – In this section, enlist any major awards won. Also, describe any critical activities carried out by the subject. For example, “Hosted the grand awards in 2012.” Make sure to capture the dates and outline the events in chronological order.
  • Setbacks. While writing your essay, you do not want to be biased. Give accounts of the setbacks suffered by the subject.
  • Subject features and elements -Capture topics about the subject such as hobbies and habits, likes and dislikes, and pets and properties. If you are writing about a place or an event, you can describe the buildings and equipment found there.

How to write a profile essay

profile essay

Profile essays are a type of expository essay. They usually have 3-5 body paragraphs, and their main purpose is to create a compelling description about some person or thing. Profile essays should be written from the point of view of an observer rather than that of a participant in the action being described.

This may seem like a difficult assignment at first because you have to understand your subject well enough to give an accurate account of him or her, but also be detailed enough to capture the reader’s interest.

For instance, if you are writing about a person that you know very well, it may be difficult to avoid repeating information that the readers already know.

The key is to make your essay meaningful – give details as to why a certain trait or behavior is unique or unusual. And remember – this should not be boring! A profile essay could describe an athlete, an influential politician, a public figure of some kind… it’s up for you, really. Just work hard on researching and connecting the points together correctly and with insightful criticism.

This assignment can help students better understand themselves and others by giving them insight into another person’s moods, motivations and actions.

It lets them be creative and shape the way other people see a particular person.

These essays should reflect the writer’s ability to discern both strengths and weaknesses in others, combined with his or her ability to organize information in an effective manner that will engage readers without overwhelming them.

Profile essays differ from biographical writing because they are usually written about someone still alive (or recently deceased) and can involve more analysis than straightforward description.

The following tips can help you write a good profile essay:

If possible, choose a person that you know well enough to describe their personality and behavior but not so well that you would simply repeat what is already known by your audience;

Take as many notes as needed when researching your subject;

You may want to include a summary of your subject’s life or personality in the introduction. However, avoid giving too many details for it will cloud the profile essay;

In general, use “I” rather than “he,” when describing your subject. Do this only if there is no conflict between you and the subject;

Use quotes from an interview as well as direct quotes that illuminate some aspect of your subject’s character;

Avoid mixing narration with commentary (the combination may confuse readers). Instead, use more description rather than comments from you, unless the situation demands otherwise;

If you must narrate events in an indirect way, use past tense to do so (e.g., “Steve did not know what he was going to do next”). This will prevent confusion about who is narrating the events. However, if you use the first person (“I”) to describe an event and then switch back to third-person narration, code your switches with some kind of sign (e.g., “as I’ve already said”).

A good essay should have a good opening paragraph that motivates the reader and gives some basic background information on the subject being described; enough body paragraphs for effective details about personality traits or a historical record or other data relevant to telling facts about this person; and a conclusion that sums up what information was presented in the body paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs may vary depending upon what material you have available at your disposal.

A solid profile will examine its subject’s life from birth. If possible, you should also include details about the subject’s background and upbringing. Presenting such a full picture of your subject will deepen your readers’ understanding of his or her life.

It is not necessary to give all the facts in chronological order. However, do be sure that each body paragraph is directly related to information given in the previous paragraphs so that those facts are not difficult for the reader to follow.

Your goal is to help your readers understand and remember your subject as thoroughly as you can do it through this profile essay!

A good profile essay does not contain too many quotes from printed sources since these generally need more explanation than direct quotations (i.e., they require narration). Be selective with what you decide to quote; only use those that are the best examples to illustrate what you want your readers to learn about your subject.

On the other hand, avoid choosing quotes that merely convey mainly information rather than providing any insight into the way your subject thinks or acts (unless this is important in order for the reader to better understand your topic). Quotes should provide and example of how well you can describe a person using specific details.

A good profile essay will introduce your subject by making observations related to his or her major personality traits.

You may also reveal biographical information that sets up some interesting characteristic of your subject’s life and helps you establish an emotional connection with the audience.

However, do not give too much detail at once; start with one fact and then add another and another, leading the audience to discover more about your subject and his or her life.

An effective conclusion will include a final thought about that character of your subject and its relevance in helping the reader gain a better understanding of who he or she is. At this point, you may also wish to reflect on what you have learned about your topic and how it has changed your original thoughts about some aspect of his or her personality.

In order to write an effective profile essay, all writers need to learn as much as they can about their subjects before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

This involves reading profiles already written by other journalists and also searching for scholarly sources that present information you can use in writing yours.

Many times people are reluctant to speak about themselves, but they will agree to be interviewed for a profile essay if you present yourself as doing so for an educational purpose.

With this in mind, give your readers a good idea of who your subject is and why he or she matters to the world at large!

What is the Structure of a Profile Essay?

With all your information at hand, it’s time to draft your essay. Just like any other essay, a profile essay has a introduction, body, and conclusion.

Let’s look at each part, in turn.


An introduction should grab the reader’s attention. Make it enjoyable by adding a hook to help you tie the reader to your essay. It could be a curious byte or a highlight of an exciting item to be discussed later in the body.The sentences you write in the introduction will act as the starting points of the paragraphs in the body.


The body is the actual part of your profile essay. It provides your readers with the information they will be expecting. In this part write;

  • The main points, followed by a detailed explanation.
  • Each point should belong to individual paragraphs
  • Write your points, fascinatingly and enjoyably.
  • Order your points chronologically
  • Provide answers to the questions from the interview that would interest the reader.
  • Use simple language.


Sum up the body of your essay in a few sentences. Here you are allowed to give your opinion about the subject. Your closing remarks should be in line with the statement of your essay. While it will summarise the purpose of the profile essay again, it should also come out clearly on whether the writer has achieved the objective.

Example Profile essay outline – Structure/Format sample

A workable profile essay outline : how to write a profile 5 paragraph essay

  1. Introduction: what makes the profiled person special? Why did you choose him/her over others? What do you want your audience to learn from reading this piece? What do you think makes him/her unique, extraordinary (i.e., different from others)? Preview main points–what will each body paragraph cover? Do NOT use complete sentences; they are not an outline–just bullet points. (be sure to include 2-3 strong quotes)
  2. Opening Paragraph(s): basic biographical info: where was he/she born? What is his/her nationality, ethnic background? Where did he/she grow up? Describe early influences such as parents, family members, siblings, teachers or mentors. Briefly mention major events that affected him/her profoundly (these become main points in body paragraphs).
  3. First Body Paragraph: describe the person’s appearance / mannerisms and how these reflect something important about their personality. Use a quote from your subject if possible – what words does your subject use when describing himself / herself? Body paragraph 1 should be at least 4-5 paragraphs in length. Use a mix of description and direct quotes – make sure quotes are relevant to your subject – do not include ones that merely convey information rather than providing any insight into the way your subject thinks or acts (unless this is important in order for the reader to better understand your topic).
  4. Second Body Paragraph: major event / turning point in his/her life – what occurred? How did it affect him/her / shape his/her personality? What was the main lesson he/she learned from this experience? Make sure you have at least 3-4 strong descriptive sentences / quotes for each paragraph within body paragraphs 1 & 2. You might also need to use several short quotes here, rather than one or two longer ones.
  5. Third Body Paragraph: something your subject is famous for – describe the primary way he/she distinguishes himself / herself from others, using specific examples here. What are some of the long-lasting ramifications of his/her actions? How have they changed other people’s lives and inspired them to do better things? Give at least 2 good descriptive paragraphs as well as a few quotes that illustrate how your subject made a difference in someone else’s life (think about the quotations you used in body paragraph 2). You should also include how this person was affected by these experiences. Do not forget to mention what lessons were learned!
  6. Fourth Body Paragraph: main point(s): what is his/her role in society? What makes them an accomplished / worthy person? Make sure you mention the long-term impact of his/her actions or influence (this is your closing paragraph, after all). Think about ways that other people can be positively influenced by what this person has done. How should we view him/her: as a mentor, teacher or even hero?
  7. Conclusion: include at least one strong quotation from your subject that sums up why he/she matters to others – how was he/she able to inspire such profound change in so many lives? Explain why you chose him/her for this piece! Be sure to end with a memorable quote and make it sound personal (i.e., focus on telling a story or touching the heart of your reader) rather than simply reciting facts.

If you follow these tips than you can write an impressive profile essay with ease.

Who to write a profile essay on – profile essay topics

Writing a good profile essay needs an interesting topic because all types of readers find it difficult to read long pieces of writing. So, when you need to write a profile paper, the first thing you should do is make your topic interesting for everyone. If your topic turns out to be dull it will not only bore the readers but also show that you are unable to find something thrilling .

A profile essay helps in shaping character of an individual – This kind of papers normally highlight a particular person who has done some incredible work and had massive impact on someone’s life or on people in general. Thus, it gives information about his career and achievements .

A profile essay is usually written after the research work – Many students find it difficult to write a profile essay because they do not know where and how to get all necessary resources. Thus, before you start writing such a paper make sure that you have conducted some research work on your topic .

When working on your assignment feel free to express your own opinion about the subject of the paper and create interesting composition which will be very useful for all readers. Overall, when writing a profile essay try to stay focused on the topic and use your interest in this piece of work for making an outstanding quality academic writing.

Writing a personal profile essay

Personal profile essays are the most popular assignments for high school, college and university. This is because they give you a chance to create an image of yourself, your achievements in life as well as provide personal information about you. First of all, we should learn which form of structure will suit a literary piece best – chronological or functional. The point is that in the former composition, you tell about your life from beginning to end; in functional, you choose one or several important areas of your personality and describe them by dividing the essay into several paragraphs. You should decide which type will work better for you right away since it would be very hard to change the structure once you start writing an essay.

How do to do a profile essay

Once you have chosen chronological structure as well as determined what events are most significant for telling who you are now.

You should think of something interesting about yourself – some experience or skill that will help make your essay stand out in comparison to other students’ works.

For example, if english is not your native language, this fact may become a small but important detail that will show your teachers or professors what a hard-working student you are.

What are the other steps to writing a profile essay?

When you have everything ready, it is time to progress by setting up an outline.

This step deals with choosing the most important events and deciding which details should be shared in each paragraph.

It would be wise to make a short list of them right away since it might come very handy when you start drafting your paper.

When all sections of your work on your paper have been planned properly, it is time to think about the structure and presentation of this literary piece.

Make sure that every paragraph has its own topic sentence as well as develops information given earlier, while all sentences flow together in one coherent piece.

It is better not to forget about a conclusion that sums up all your achievements and personal qualities as well as what you want the reader of this essay to do.

How do I make my profile essay unique?

Once everything else has been taken care of, your task is to find a way for presenting your paper. If the assignment asks for zeroing in on one particular event from the history of your life, describe it using vivid details and comparisons.

In case you have been asked to give more than one paragraph for each topic, then choose what information will be easier for you to present.

This can be something that happened long time ago or something much more recent as well as your attitude towards it.

When everything is done, it is time to proofread and edit your paper.

Make sure that you have used the right punctuation marks throughout the entire essay.

What should I do during writing a profile essay?

When working on this literary piece, keep in mind that spelling counts above all ! Even if you know for sure that this paper is going to be read by native speakers of English only, make sure that there are no errors in grammar or spelling!

You could also use some effective techniques such as creating a full outline of information where you write down every event you want to include in each paragraph or even start writing without using an idea list.

This way, you would already have something interesting and unique to say about yourself, and the rest would follow.

What are the best personal profile essay topics?

A good topic to keep in mind while writing a profile essay could be one of your personal experiences that happened in the past or present.

This is something that will definitely show what kind of person you are and what values you have.

It can also be an interesting fact about yourself which makes you stand out from other students.

Finally, it may be an achievement that is important to you.

List of great personal profile essay topics to write about

  • What your hobby is and why
  • How have you changed since the beginning of college?
  • A unique talent that I have
  • My summer vacation in three paragraphs
  • The most influential person in my life
  • A memorable moment for me from the history of my country
  • What I want to be when I grow up
  • What I like the most about myself
  • My favorite book and why
  • What makes my friends different from others?
  • My favorite movie and why
  • Where I would like to spend my holidays in five years
  • What is the most important thing to me?

Finalizing and Editing your Profile Essay

When you do all these, go through your essay to correct any mistakes. A poorly written paper will lose its effectiveness, so make sure your content is flawless.

A properly written essay has a clear picture of a person, place, event, organization. It is comprehensive, capturing every detail that makes the readers feel as if they understand the subject.

Profile Essay Examples

Here are a couple of examples that you can use to write a great essay for school.

Profile Essay Example – Neil Armstrong

The famous American astronaut Neil Armstrong is no doubt one of the most influential people to have lived during the twentieth century. His name has been associated with mankind’s greatest achievement – walking on another celestial body other than Earth and exploring its surface. Alongside Buzz Aldrin , Armstrong was among the first men ever to land on the Moon . The moon landing turned out to be such a huge achievement that it marked a turning point in human history and led us into yet another era called space age . In order to truly understand why his deeds are so significant, we have to look back in time and relate them with earlier events; Neil Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930. The 1930s were a period which was extremely difficult on most people during the Great Depression . This period of financial crisis turned out to be life-altering for some of its survivors (e.g., John Kennedy ). In his quest to find ways of relieving pain among his fellow citizens, Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced a number of social welfare programs that he believed would make their lives easier (e.g., Social Security Act , National Labor Relations Act , the Fair Labor Standards Act ).

Many children grew up in poor households during this decade and became accustomed to living under harsh conditions even after World War II had ended and the country had recovered economically. By releasing more funds into the school system, Roosevelt managed to improve the Americans’ standard of living and ensure that they had access to a free education. The passing of the GI Bill during World War II made it possible for many young men who would otherwise have been destined for poverty to attend college and pursue higher education instead.

Neil Armstrong’s career path was determined by some influential factors, including his family history as well as important events occurring in society during his formative years. His father worked at a factory which manufactured railroad cars and passed away when Neil was just two-and-a-half years old; Armstrong remembered very little about him with one exception – he thought that his dad had been an excellent role model . As a schoolboy, Armstrong had a strong sense of duty and was quite attentive to his studies. He participated in various extracurricular activities and received excellent grades; this allowed him to enroll at Purdue University after he graduated from high school.

After graduating with a degree in aeronautical engineering , Neil Armstrong joined the U.S. Navy where he served as an aviator . Shortly thereafter, Armstrong’s duties were interrupted by the Korean War and he saw combat as a fighter pilot during that conflict. After spending five years in the military, Neil Armstrong applied for NASA’s astronaut program and became part of its second intake. With his mechanical skills and background in research, Neil quickly progressed through training until he made it into space for the first time aboard a Gemini flight.

As part of the Apollo program, Armstrong flew to space a total of eight times; his first spaceflight, Gemini 8, was a successful mission which lasted for three days and ended with the docking of two spacecrafts. The entire voyage was broadcast live on television and it made Neil Armstrong an instant celebrity .

His second trip into outer space , Apollo 11 which he commanded, will remain in history forever as mankind’s greatest achievement. With just one small leap, Neil Armstrong became famous across the world and even continues to be today – there are many websites dedicated to him and James Dean is not yet as popular as America’s first man on the Moon (a statue of him has been erected in Chicago). He also earned some awards during his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Neil Armstrong has done a lot to improve our life here on Earth even though he passed away in 2012; for example, many people from all over the world came together to establish the “Armstrong Air & Space Museum” in Wapakoneta, Ohio . It is interesting to note that Neil Armstrong’s childhood was extremely difficult but this did not prevent him from attaining great achievements in life – it proves that there are no boundaries if you only have a strong will and do your best properly.

Person Profile essay example – Mrs Stromer

Example personal profile essay using our samples and tips on how to write a good essay:

I love physical activities because they help me stay fit and healthy. People born under my sign, Leo, know that it is important for them to be in good shape and at their best. I remember one summer when my friends invited me to go swimming with them. It was very hot outside and we were all very excited about playing water volleyball near the pool and just relaxing in the sun afterwards. I spent two hours playing with my friends until it suddenly started raining heavily! Fortunately, it didn’t last for long but when I came back home, I noticed that my whole family was sitting in the living room, so I decided to join them. We were all having a nice family time when suddenly the doorbell rang. It was my best friend’s mother with an umbrella and some special chocolate cake for me. Everyone in my family got surprised when I told them that her mother had been on our street at exactly the same time when we were playing outside!

It seems unbelievable but it is the truth! I have known Mrs Stromer for many years now and she has always been a very supportive person who is willing to help her neighbors even if they are not related to her by blood ties. At this moment, she could have stayed home because of such bad weather conditions, but instead she went out just to surprise me with this delicious cake. I’m proud to have a friend like her, and I believe that every person should care about their close ones no matter what happens. Mrs Stromer is one of my best friends and I value the fact that I can always count on her for support and for important advice .

As you can see from this profile essay example, it is very easy to get down to writing once you are inspired by people around you! Remember, your main task in this paper will be showing your true character and describing why exactly it is worth remembering or even following. Write your thoughts in an interesting way so that you can entertain each reader who opens your work and make fun of yourself without losing confidence.

Profile essay writing help

It is not a problem to compose your own paper if you have an interesting topic in mind, but what should you do if it turns out that nothing in this world could inspire you?

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