- Create a Course
- Corporate Learning
- Health and Fitness
- Create a Course
- Corporate Learning
An Essay About Myself: Writing Tips and Tricks
“I have to write an essay about myself, but I don’t know where to start.” Does this sound like you? If so, rest assured that you are not alone. Writing about yourself can be one of the hardest things that you have to do, whether you’re writing a personal essay for a school project or for admission to a college or university. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when writing a personal essay, from which details are the most intriguing to potential readers to developing your own personal experiences into a story and knowing how to write sensitively about subjects and people in your life without causing offense.
A good place to start with any kind of essay is this paragraph and essay writing course on Udemy . It will walk you through the basic skills that you need to know as well as give you more advanced tips and tricks for writing great essays . However, there is still more that you need to know for this particular type of essay. Let’s start with the very beginning – coming up with an idea.
Ideas for Personal Essays
Whether you’ve been given a prompt (for example, “Write about the time in your life when you were happiest,”) or you’re starting from scratch, coming up with an idea can be difficult. One thing to keep in mind is that for your personal essay to really stand out, you need to write about an experience that not everybody goes through.
An important experience like your wedding day, the birth of a child or sibling, or an achievement such as graduating high school may have deep meaning for you. However, these are things that many people go through, and may not be particularly interesting for a reader. Think instead of the personal struggles that you might have gone through to make those accomplishments possible, and write about that instead.
There are many great courses on Udemy that can help you learn how to come up with great ideas . Consider checking one out if you regularly find yourself blocked creativity, or if you find that your ideas are a bit on the bland side. One tip that might help you is to discard the first five ideas you may come up with – if they’re the first thing you think of, they are likely the first thing others have thought of as well. After all, if you really want to stand out amongst a sea of essays, you don’t want to be writing on the same topics.
Beginning Your Essay
Your personal essay is essentially the story of your life – or at least, the story of one important moment or journey you have made in your life. Therefore, you should try as much as possible to think of your essay as if it were a story. Let’s take a look at some of the worst possible beginnings for a personal essay:
- “My name is Jane…”
- “When I was born…”
- “The happiest time in my life was when…”
Why are these bad? The answer is simple – you aren’t doing anything to capture the reader’s interest. At best, you are telling the reader something that they already know. At worst, you are using a very clichéd opening the reader has likely heard plenty of times already.
Try opening your personal essay by saying something unexpected, or by opening with a vivid and exciting memory from your life that ties directly into the essay you are writing. Look at these examples for contrast:
- “The tornado ripped through town. I could hear it whistling like a train as I hid in the bathroom with my brother and sister…”
- “I learned that my grandmother had died the day after my first school play.”
Writing About Sensitive Subjects
Sometimes you may feel driven to write about sensitive subjects in a personal essay, but how should this type of material be approached? First and foremost, do remember that you should choose the appropriate material for the audience you are writing for. While it may be okay to talk about a topic such as mental illness or poverty in an essay for a university application, you likely would not want to discuss any questionable things you might have done in the past, such as cheating on exams in high school.
Many people may wonder how to approach situations in which they want to talk about other people in their life, but don’t want to give away details that could identify them or implicate them in something without their consent. Remember that when it comes to writing personal essays, it is okay to change some details or facts such as names and dates if you find it necessary to do so out of respect for others.
Ending the Essay
For many people, the only thing harder than beginning a personal essay is ending one. After all, the story of your life isn’t over. So where do you say, “The End?” There are a few tips to keep in mind to properly end this kind of essay.
First, where does the story that you are telling end? If you were telling the story of recovering after the death of a loved one, you might choose the moment where you finally began to heal. If you were telling the story of overcoming a problem such as dyslexia, you could end with getting your first A in English class.
You may also consider an ending that mirrors the beginning of your essay. If you started with the story of being bullied, you may end your essay by talking about how you helped another person who was being bullied.
Just think creatively. Remember, your personal essay may be the truth, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think of it from a creative writing mindset. Udemy offers a course on memoir writing that could be ideal for those looking to go deeper into writing about the things that they have experienced in their lives. For those who don’t need to go quite into that much depth but who need help writing an essay for their college application , Udemy offers assistance with that as well. Be sure to check the course out so you can write the best personal essay possible.
Top Udemy Courses:
- Top Java Courses
- Top Python Courses
- Top Excel Courses
- Learn Excel With This GIF Tutorial
- Become a Web Developer from Scratch! (8100+ students)
- Advanced Excel Training (42,660+ students)
- Coding for Entrepreneurs (4810+ students)
- Advanced Java Programming (735+ students)
- How to Build an iPhone App from Scratch for Non-Technical People: Your quick and dirty guide
- Excel Formulas: 10 Formulas That Helped Me Keep My Job
- Code Wars: Ruby vs Python vs PHP [Infographic]
- Top 10 Programming Languages to Learn in 2014
- How to Add Ringtones To Your iPhone (Updated for iOS 7)
- 8 Best PowerPoint Presentations: How To Create Engaging Presentations
- Java Interview Questions: How to crack the TOP 15 questions
- Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress: CMS Showdown [infographic]
- Making an App: 6 Things You Should Consider Before Getting Started
- 10 Fórmulas de Excel para ser Más Productivo
Return to top of page
Copyright © 2018 · Udemy, Inc. · Built on the Genesis Framework
a Course Now
How to Write About Yourself
In this Article: Article Summary Examples Writing of the Autobiographical Nature Writing Personal Essays for School Writing a Cover Letter for an Application Writing a Short Biography Note Community Q&A
Writing about yourself can seem embarrassing at first. Cover letters, personal essays, and bio notes about yourself come with some specific tricks and tips that can make it a lot less intimidating when choosing style and content. Learn the basics and you will be able to make your personal writing stand out.
Sample Cover Letter Email
Sample Work Biography
Sample Personal Biography
Writing of the Autobiographical Nature
- 1Introduce yourself. Writing about yourself can be tough, because there is so much you can say. You have a lifetime of experiences, talents, and skills to summarize in a paragraph, or two. Whatever kind of writing you are planning on doing, whatever your purpose, just think about it like you are introducing yourself to a stranger. What do they need to know? Answer questions like:
- Who are you?
- What is your background?
- What are your interests?
- What are your talents?
- What are your achievements?
- What challenges have you faced?
- 2Start with a short list of your talents and interests. If you are not sure where to start, or if you are limited to one thing for the assignment, start by making a list. Brainstorm good ideas that will help you decide, then sketch out as many different answers as you feel necessary.
- 3Narrow your topic. Pick one specific topic, describe it in detail, and use that to introduce yourself. It is better to pick one thing and use a lot of detail, than to give someone a big long list of general items.
- What is your most interesting or unique quality? What word(s) describes you the best? Choose that topic.
- 4Use a few good details. When you have a specific topic to narrow in on, give the reader unique details to hold onto. Remember, you are describing yourself and add details that show you in a positive light:
- Bad: I like sports.
- Ok: I’m a fan of basketball, football, tennis, and soccer.
- Good: My favorite sport is football, both to watch and to play.
- Better: When I was growing up, I would watch Big Ten football with my dad and brothers every Saturday, before we’d go outside and toss the football around. I’ve loved it ever since.
- 5Be humble . Even if you are very accomplished or talented, you want to come across like a down-to-earth person. Do not write about yourself to brag. List your accomplishments and your successes, but temper them with some more humble language:
- Braggy: I’m the best and most dynamic worker at my company right now, so you should want to hire me for my talents.
- Humble: I was lucky enough to be awarded three employee of the month awards at my current job. Turns out it was a company record.
Writing Personal Essays for School
- 1Choose a memorable story to tell. Personal essays are commonly used for college applications and school assignments. It is different than a cover letter in that the purpose of a cover letter is to introduce a candidate for employment or admission, while a non-fiction essay is for exploring a theme. This type of writing requires that you tell a story about yourself, using specific, real-life details that highlight a particular theme or idea throughout the essay.
- Common themes or prompts for autobiographical essays include overcoming obstacles, great successes or spectacular failures, and what you learned about yourself.
- 2Focus on a single theme or purpose. Unlike a cover letter, an autobiographical essay should not jump around quickly between different themes or events. It should stay focused on a single event or theme that makes some greater point.
- Depending on the assignment, you may need to connect a personal anecdote to a reading or an idea from class. Start brainstorming topics that are connected to that idea, to give yourself a variety of options to choose from.
- 3Write about complex topics, not cliches. An essay does not need to make you look good, so much as how well you communicate the event. When you are thinking of topics to write about, think about your triumphs and successes, but also give some thought to parts of your life that could use improvement. For example, remember the time you forgot to pick up your sister from practice while you were partying with friends, or the time you skipped class and got caught might make for great essays too.
- Common autobiographical essay cliches include sports stories, mission trips, and dead grandmothers. While these can all make for excellent essays if done well, it is difficult to stand out when telling the story of how your lacrosse team lost a big game, then practiced hard, then won. It has been written before.
- 4Limit the timeline as much as possible. It is almost impossible to write a good five page essay about your entire life up to your 14th birthday. Even a topic like “my senior year” is much too complex to actually pull off in a good essay. Pick an event that spanned no more than a day, or a few days at most.
- If you want to tell the story of your nasty break-up, start with the break-up, do not start with the star-crossed way you met. You have got to get immediately to the tension in the story.
- 5Use vivid details. If you want to write a good non-fictional essay, it needs to be chock-full of vivid details and specific images and senses.
- When you have an idea of your topic, start writing a “memory list” of specific things that you remember about the event. What was the weather like? What did it smell like? What did your mother say to you?
- Your opening paragraph will set the tone for the rest of the essay. Rather than telling the dull biographical details (your name, your place of birth, your favorite food), find a way to express the essence of the story you are going to tell and the themes you are going to explore in your essay.
- 6Start in the middle of the story. Do not worry about “building suspense” in an autobiographical essay. If you want to tell the story about the time you accidentally ruined Thanksgiving dinner, then write about peoples’ reaction or how you moved on. That is the essay.
- 7Connect the details to the big theme. If you are writing an essay about a disaster at Thanksgiving some time ago, do not forget that you are writing about more than a burnt turkey. What’s the point of the story? What are we supposed to be getting out of this story? At least once a page, you need to have some thread that ties us back to the main theme or focus of the essay you are writing.
Writing a Cover Letter for an Application
- 1Find the prompt. If you need a cover letter for a job or internship, for college, or for some other application opportunity, sometimes there will be a description or prompt of what is expected in the letter. Depending on the nature of the application, you may need to describe your readiness to complete the job, your qualifications, or other specific criteria. Possible prompts may include:
- Outline your qualifications and highlight your talents in a cover letter.
- Write about who you are.
- In a cover letter, describe how your education and experience qualifies you for this position.
- Explain how this opportunity will benefit your career goals.
- 2Match the style to the purpose. Different employers and situations will call for different styles and tones in a cover letter. If you are applying to a university, it is always best to use a professional and academic tone throughout the letter. When you are applying to blog for a tech start-up that tells you to “Explain three things you rock at!” it is probably better to use a looser and more informal style of writing. 
- When in doubt, keep it brief and serious. If you are unsure whether or not telling an amusing anecdote about your friend’s bachelor party is appropriate in a cover letter, it is probably best to leave it out.
- 3Describe why you are writing in the first paragraph. The first two sentences should explain the purpose of your cover letter and your application clearly. If someone reading your cover letter is unclear about what it is you are writing about, your application will quickly get chucked in the trash.
- “I’m writing to apply for the entry-level position with Company Inc. advertised on your website. I think my experience and training makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”
- Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to include your name in the body of the letter: “My name is John Smith and I am applying….” Your name will be included in the signature, as well as the header of a cover letter, so there is no need to put it in the text itself.
- 4Structure the cover letter as cause and effect. A cover letter should explain to the potential employer or admissions board why you are the best candidate for the position, or why you should be admitted to the university or program to which you are applying. To do this, you need to make sure every cover letter describes what you bring to the table and how that will help satisfy the ambitions of both parties. Make sure all cover letters describe the following details clearly:
- Who you are and where you come from.
- Where you want to go.
- How this opportunity would potentially help you get there.
- 5Detail your talents and skills specifically. What makes you the ideal type of candidate for the job or position you are applying for? What experiences, skills, training, and talent do you bring to the table?
- Be as specific as possible. It is alright to note that you are “A passionate leader in all walks of life” but it would be much better to write about an example of a time you lead in a surprising way.
- Stay focused on skills and talents that connect specifically to the thing you are applying for. Extracurricular involvement, leadership roles, and other types of outstanding achievement may be important to you personally, but it may be totally extraneous. If you include something, ensure to connect it specifically to the goal of the cover letter.
- 6Describe your goals and ambitions. Where do you want to go from here? Both admission boards and employers are more interested in people with ambition and self-starters who will be motivated to achieve at a high level.
- Be as specific as possible. If you are writing a university cover letter, it is obvious that you have to have a degree to get a job as a doctor, but how did you come to choose this field? Why did you choose this school? What, specifically, do you want to take away from the experience?
- 7Explain how both parties will benefit from your selection. What do you bring to the table that other candidates do not? How would the university benefit from having you as a member of the student body? How would you benefit from getting that new job? Your readers will be interested in hearing how you present yourself.
- Be careful about using a cover letter to critique a business. It is not the time to describe the suffering of a particular brand over the previous fiscal quarter, then promising that you will be able to turn it around with your ideas. That might not go over well if you are hired, and then you are unable to live up to the promise.
- 8Do not mistake the cover letter for the resume. While it is important to list your best skills as they apply to the job you are interested in, a cover letter is not the place to get specific. Make sure the resume and the cover letter contain different information.
- Even if it is impressive, a high GPA or class ranking does not belong in a cover letter. Highlight it on your resume, but do not include it in two different places of the application.
- 9Keep it brief. Ideal cover letters should be no more than one page, single-spaced, or somewhere between 300-500 words. Certain places may ask for longer letters, in the neighborhood of 700-1000 words, but it is rare that cover letters should ever be longer than that.
- 10Format the letter. Cover letters are usually single-spaced and in a legible font, such as Times or Garamond. Generally, cover letters should include a salutation addressed to the admission board or a specific contact listed on the application, a closing with your signature, and the following contact information included in the header of the document:
- Your name
- Mailing address
- Telephone and/or fax number
Writing a Short Biography Note
- 1Write about yourself in the third person. Short blurb-style bio notes are common in work directories, pamphlets, and other materials. You may be asked to provide one for any number of reasons. They are usually short, and can be somewhat awkward to write.
- Pretend you are writing about someone else. Write your name and start describing that person like a character or a friend: “John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc…”
- 2Explain your position or title. Be sure to clarify your specific role and specialty, taking into consideration the purpose of the bio note. Describe what it is you do and what it is that people know you for.
- If you are a jack of all trades, say so. Do not be afraid to list “actor, musician, mother, motivational speaker, and professional rock climber” if they all apply equally.
- 3Briefly list your responsibilities or accomplishments. If you are a frequent winner of awards and distinctions, a bio note is a good time to list them and toot your own horn. Try to keep bio notes focused on recent history.
- It is common to list degrees that you have received. Pay particular attention to anything that ties into the work you are writing about. If you have special training, include it here.
- 4Include a bit of your personal life. Bio notes do not need to be cold. It is common to end on a small personal detail that will spice up bio notes a bit. Consider including your cat’s name, or a quirky detail about a hobby:
- “John Smith is the Executive Vice President of Company Inc., in charge of marketing and overseas acquisitions. He received an MBA with distinction from Harvard and lives in Montauk with his cat Cheeto.”
- Do not overshare. It can seem funny to immediately start with “John Smith loves rafting and hates eating Cheetos. He’s a total boss” and such bio notes can be appropriate for some venues, however be careful to avoid awkward oversharing. Telling everyone about your killer hangover might be best left for after work talk.
- 5Keep it brief. Generally, these types of bio notes are no more than a few sentences. They will usually be included on a contributor page or a list of other employees all together. You do not want yours to stand out as the person who droned on for half a page, when everyone else used a few sentences.
- Stephen King, who is one of the most successful and popular authors in recent history, has a bio note that just lists the name of his family members, his hometown, and his pets. Consider leaving out the self-congratulation entirely.
Add New Question
- QuestionWhat does “background” mean?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour background is the place where you are from. For example; family, religion, culture, or how your life was before. It basically will give the reader a little understanding of who you are.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 0
- QuestionWhat guides can I use to improve my self-writing skills?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWrite stories or essays on random topics — if you can’t think of any, look online for suggested topics to inspire you. Ask someone who is good at English if they’d mind reading through and making suggestions for improvement. It is with practice and acceptance of good feedback that you will improve, and keep up your reading too.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 11
- QuestionHow do I write an essay about my Christian faith?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGive details about the reason you became/are a Christian, explain what you believe and why, and how these things impact your day-to-day life. Maybe share some extraordinary experiences if you’ve had any. Show your passion for your faith.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 4
- QuestionCan you give me some tips on how to write a composition about myself?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink of the people who have influenced you or played a big part in your life (parents/siblings/teachers/friends/etc). Think of yourself as a representative of all these people. What is it they thaught you? What are all the qualities they like about you? What have they critized you for?Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 6
- QuestionHow do I write five good things about me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBe confident, believe in yourself, and you can do anything. Focus more on personality traits and talents, and less on physical appearance. Start by brainstorming and writing down words that you feel describe you, and elaborate from there.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 0
- QuestionWhat do you mean by brainstorming?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHere’s the definition of brainstorm: produce an idea or way of solving a problem by holding a spontaneous group discussion. It’s a way of coming up with ideas.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 14
- QuestionWhat about an introduction?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIntroducing yourself can take several forms. The first, easiest, but that requires the most courage is to just say, “Hi, it’s me, _____” before launching into your content. If you’re debating, or taking place in a speech contest, consider opening with “Ladies, Gentlemen and Honorable Judges.”Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 14
- QuestionHow many pages should I write?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust write as much or as little as you like.Thanks!Yes
NoNot Helpful 19
- How do I write a conclusion about myself?Answer this question
- Already answered
- Not a question
- Bad question
- If you are having a difficult time writing about yourself, search online for examples of personal writing, in order to get some ideas and inspiration.
Edit Related wikiHows
Write a Personal Bio
Write an Autobiographical Essay
Write a Brief Description of Yourself
Write an Autobiography
Write a Life Story Essay
Write a Personal Narrative
Write a Letter to Your Future Self
Write a Personal Testimonial About Yourself
Write About Your Own Life
Write a Personal Recount
Write Your Life Book
Write an Autobiography for School Without Feeling Conceited
Write a Memoir
Begin an Autobiography
Sources and Citations
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/723/03/
Article Summary X
If you have to write an autobiographical description of yourself, write down a list of your talents, interests, and accomplishments. Use this list to help you choose one specific topic for your description, such as your academic achievements or your leadership qualities. Use specific, unique details to support your topic, such as being awarded an academic scholarship or the fact that you were president of the newspaper in high school. You can list bits of your personal life, but be careful not to overshare.
Categories: Autobiographies | Personal Profiles
In other languages:
Italiano: Scrivere di Te Stesso , Português: Escrever Sobre Si Mesmo , Deutsch: Über sich selbst schreiben , Español: escribir sobre uno mismo , Русский: написать о себе , Français: écrire un texte autobiographique , 中文: 写一篇关于自己的文章 , Nederlands: Over jezelf schrijven , Bahasa Indonesia: Menulis Tentang Diri Anda Sendiri , Čeština: Jak psát o sobě , हिन्दी: अपने बारे में लिखें , العربية: الكتابة عن نفسك , 한국어: 자신에 대한 글 쓰는 법 , Tiếng Việt: Tự thuật về Bản thân , ไทย: เขียนเรื่องตัวเอง , 日本語: 自分について書く
- Send fan mail to authors
Did this article help you?
About This Article
Sep 13, 2017
Feb 7, 2017
May 1, 2017
Dec 30, 2016
Mar 1, 2017
Jul 11, 2016
May 18, 2016
Sep 12, 2016
Nov 8, 2017
Oct 2, 2016
Dec 8, 2017
Sep 7, 2017
Aug 25, 2016
Sep 12, 2017
Sep 22, 2016
Jun 19, 2016
Aug 27, 2016
Sep 18, 2017
Jan 28, 2017
Nov 19, 2016
Jun 13, 2017
Dec 20, 2016
Jan 26, 2017
Sep 12, 2017
Jul 8, 2016
More success stories
All success stories
Hide success stories
Write a Personal Bio
Write an Autobiographical Essay
Write a Brief Description of Yourself
Write an Autobiography
Did this article help you?