Personal writing always feels a bit confusing. When you need to compose an application or cover letter, short biography or any other type of essay about yourself, it might seem embarrassing. However, there are some tips and tricks that will help you choose the right voice and content for your task. We are going to discuss the most efficient ones in this guide.
What exactly should you tell your readers?
- Present yourself
So, how to write an introduction about yourself? Think about your readers as if they were strangers, who would like you to introduce yourself. What exactly will you tell them? What do they really need to know? It may seem that you have so much to talk about, but make sure to start with a brief presentation of who you are. Focus on your main life activities, interests, talents, achievements, and aspirations. You may compose a list of your core talents and interests, review them carefully, and choose those that are necessary for your future story.
- Keep your main topic narrow
Even if your list of talents is pretty extensive, it is better to choose one and write about it in detail than to provide a number of general facts. Think about the most interesting and unusual quality of yourself and choose it as the topic. Then flavor your story with details to make your writing personalized.
- Choose a good story to tell
As a rule, writing about yourself is connected with such tasks as application letters and college essays. There are also cover letters, which are mostly focused on your professional or academic experience. The first type is more fictional and less formal, so you are expected to write a story that depicts your main idea and describes you as a person of a certain kind. The most common topics include lessons you have learned, something that changed your life, your main successes and failures, etc. Choose something your readers will easily relate to.
How should you write it?
- Keep it humble
When talking about tone and language of your personal writing, the first thing to mention is a necessity to stay humble. No matter how unique and talented you are, this is not a place where you should boast of it. Talking about your achievements and strong traits, use humble and calm language.
- Avoid clichéd topics
It is much better to pick a complex and personalized topic than a clichéd one. The most widely-spread clichés are grandmothers’ funerals, volunteering, sport achievements, and travelling. While these are excellent themes to make a good story, remember that 90% of writers talk about them, so it is really hard to stand out from a crowd. Most of these stories are about having some hard times, then then doing your best to overcome the challenge, then achieving success. Nothing surprising! If you are not sure that you can work with any of these topics in a unique manner, then choose a memorable story that is less common. For instance, you may describe a situation, when you did something wrong and got caught.
- Use specific details
One of the main secrets of how to write an essay about yourself is depicting specific details and images. If you are writing about a certain situation, try to recollect as many details as you can. Was it a sunny day or a gloomy one? What colors do you remember? What exactly you were feeling at that day? For a really good personal essay, it is not enough to tell some dull general facts. Find a way to express the flesh of the story.
- Keep your time frames limited
Don’t try to describe your entire life from the earliest childhood years to this moment. Instead, choose an event that took a day or two. Also, if your story has a culminating point, start with it or at least hint it! You need to get to the essence of the story at the very beginning to keep your audience interested. You don’t have to bring any suspense.
- Connections between the idea and the story
Don’t forget that your main aim is to depict the way your main idea is connected with the narrative part of the paper. So when you are telling a story about a spoiled family dinner, it is not just an anecdote about your failure but a supporting description that serves to make your main idea clear and interesting. Remember that you need to build connections between the story itself and the main concept.
How to write about yourself in a cover letter?
- Follow the prompt
For cover letters, there is a number of most common prompts. They explain what exactly you need to reveal in your work. Different types of application use different prompts. If you are applying for a job, then you are expected to tell about your qualification, eagerness to cooperate, and ways you can improve the company’s work. You are welcome to talk about your strong professional sides, education, and career goals.
- Explain the reason
Why are you writing this cover letter? Explain the purpose of your writing in a couple of first sentences. If you won’t tell why are you writing this letter, chances are that nobody will read it. There is a common belief that you should start you cover letter with introducing yourself, but it is not necessary, because your name will be included in a signature.
- Use an appropriate style
Your voice and writing style heavily depend on the type of application. For instance, if you are composing one for a college, then you should stick to an academic and formal style. However, if you are applying for a creative job that requires you “to tell something cool about yourself”, then you should use an informal and even playful tone. If you are not sure what kind of language an application requires, then it’s better to keep it serious and simple.
So write to the point, make it personal by telling a unique story, avoid clichés, and keep the initial writing purposes in mind! Follow these simple tips and good luck with your applications!