"Any verbal account of a person is bound to find itself employing an assortment of waterfalls, lightning rods, landscapes, birds, etc.," Sergei Eisenstein said. Personal and reflective essays for school admissions committees and job applications, however, require personal details without too much self-indulgence. For this reason, describing yourself in an essay should be understated to avoid appearing conceited, but strong enough to avoid appearing timid.
Before putting the pen to pad, conduct an investigation of yourself. Ask yourself questions regarding your motivations, interests and educational or career goals. For example, why do you want to go to graduate school? How are your interests and motivations aligned with the program? What do you hope to gain from the experience?
When introducing yourself in an essay, use an active voice rather than a passive voice. For instance, instead of saying, "The past four years were spent in college studying journalism," say, "I studied journalism for four years at college." Active writing is clear and straight to the point. Don't spend too much time embellishing yourself and fluffing your text, just focus on your objectives.
Define how your traits match, complement or differ from those of the subject or audience. For instance, a job application essay requires you to introduce yourself in a manner that connects you with the position you are applying for, such as, "I work well within the type of fast-paced environment that software documentation requires." Similarly, an application essay for graduate school would relate your personal experience or goals to the person evaluating the essay. For instance, if you know your reader was into music before becoming a writer, introduce yourself with a similar connection, such as, "I too found my love of writing mature with my love of music."
Introduce your personal experience to the audience. Describe how you decided on your particular profession, how much experience you have working in the profession and what your professional goals are. This should be a brief and concise statement; therefore, make only two to three points before moving on.
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