How to Write a Personal Essay: Guidelines and Specifications

There are several reasons why people write personal essays. In some cases, they accompany a job application, in others, university admission or scholarship application. The purpose of the text is to narrate an important life event, mentioning a specific person or a time period.

I wrote my first personal text a few days ago when I decided to apply for a part-time job. To be honest, a personal paper is not so easy to write, as you need to know the specifications and peculiarities of the genre. However, if you have ever read any of my posts, you know that I rarely have problems with my creative writing, as my friend Brandon is always by my side, fighting for my success. In fact, he is quite professional in academic writing, and he is eagerly sharing his knowledge with me.

This time, he gave me the detailed instruction on what a personal essay is and how to write it. With the help of the guidelines and recommendations, it took me just a few hours to come up with an impeccable paper. Well, that is what I thought about my text. Brandon had a different opinion, so he proofread and edited it. Anyway, I have already sent the application with the personal essay attached to it and hope I will get a response soon.

If you are currently looking for a job or have already found a beneficial position, you need to immerse yourself in the process of personal paper writing right away. What I can do for you is to share the basics about this type of paper and highlight efficient guidelines Brandon once told me.

What is a Personal Essay

To begin with, creating a great personal essay, you need to remember that your main task is to describe your life and professional experience, emphasizing your strengths and conceal your weaknesses. Additionally, you need to specify the main reasons why you are a perfect candidate for a job or scholarship. Sometimes, students have to craft such a paper just to share their experience and show the ultimate level of writing expertise.

Irrespective of the final purpose, the task of the writer is to enlighten, motivate, inspire and impress the readers with the information you specify in the paper. This piece of writing served to describe a crucial life lesson the writer has once gained.

With the increasing demand for this writing type, the number of guidelines on how to write a personal essay is also growing. However, if you do not want to surf different websites in search of the necessary data, you should keep reading and learning the detailed specifications of the essay.

Personal Essay Definition

It is inevitable to remember that a personal essay is a piece of creative writing that tells about a particular experience, action, or event from the writer's point of view. If you need to produce the essay to impress the college staff or an employer, you need to follow the reserved tone. At the same time, you can stay more informal working on the personal essay, which is aimed to impress the ordinary readers. A conversational tone will create an ultimate connection between the writer and reader.

Even though personal text is usually informal, it is indispensable for the writer to follow the traditional pattern of academic writing, including three main parts of the paper and avoiding different kinds of mistakes and errors. An important note: a personal essay is your chance to showcase your strengths and advantages, still teaching an important life lesson.

Finding Examples of Personal Essays Online

From my personal experience, I can tell that theoretical knowledge differs a lot from its practical implementation. Therefore, you will understand the true meaning of the task only when you start working on it.

When you are finally ready to get started, you may be confused about what, to begin with. Even if you have a specific personal essay topic, you need to find extended guidelines to advance your success. Fortunately, the online market is filled with an unlimited number of sample personal essays that can provide you with the necessary motivation and extra ideas. Read a few texts to learn some interesting techniques and methods of how to use the example from your life or a personal experience in the paper. Besides, you will be more aware of the style and similar items that may contribute to the efficiency of your text.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Personal Paper

While the writing process differs a lot, depending on the personal preferences and skills of each student, I will gladly provide you with the basic tips and recommendations that helped me a lot.

Personal Essay Outline

Planning is one of the most important aspects that may either slow down or speed your work up. According to the recommendations of professionals, an extended, well-crafted outline may be useful not only for a cause and effect essay but also for a personal text.

First of all, when you know the topic of your paper, you are ready to investigate different sources of information. Then, you can single out basic points within the theme. Do not rush into body paragraphs unless you are ready with the introductory sentence and thesis. It is the core element of your writing, which will determine the style and tone of the whole work.

Outline the introductory passage, body paragraph, and conclusion, and use this draft to extend the ideas and write a flawless personal paper.

The First Draft

After you are done with the outline, you can proceed to the first draft. The task of the writer is to include some unusual facts and important lessons that will make regular personal essays impressive and engaging. The structure of the paper matters a lot, so you should pay due attention to this point.

The Final Version

Have you already written the text? Take a deep breath and relax for a while. Then, you need to proofread and edit your paper to make sure it has no mistakes, misprints, and different types of errors. Now your essay is ready to be passed to the target readers.

tips on write a personal essay

What Are the Various Types of Personal Essays

When I decided to craft a personal essay, I contacted Brandon immediately, asking for assistance. The first question he asked me was about the type of paper I had to produce. However, that time I was ready with the answer and could reply rather fast.

Browsing the web, you are not likely to find four or five types of a personal essay. In fact, it is the subtype of the narrative style, which should be produced correspondingly. Keep in mind that the techniques and arguments you use for compare and contrast essays will not work here. Instead, you should revise the specifications of the narrative essay type and use them as guidelines.

Additionally, searching for personal essay examples may be of great help, as you will get an idea of what your text should look like. You will also find some unusual ideas, interesting concepts, and beneficial techniques.

Types of Personal Essays

Before you immerse yourself in the process of writing, you need to choose the necessary type. Generally, there are two basic patterns you may follow:

  • A formal paper. In the overwhelming majority of cases, people think of a persuasive essay or an argumentative one as they hear the word formal. However, personal text may also be crafted in the same style. A reserved style without jokes and colloquial phrases should be used if you strive to get the job of your dream or receive the scholarship. In such instances, personal papers should not teach readers but rather impress them. Talk about your previous activities and experiences that may convince the audience you are the one they need.
  • An informal essay. Also known as creative nonfiction, a personal essay should teach the readers. Here, you can tell exciting stories, hiding no emotions and personal viewpoints.

Personal Essay Structure

A personal essay may be informal, but it should still be well-structured, stylistically, grammatically, and punctually correct. Fortunately, I have rich experience working on an argumentative essay, persuasive texts, and similar types of creative tasks. Therefore, I have a clear understanding of the traditional 5-paragraph essay structure and other critical features that may influence either my grade or the result of the application.

If you lack writing skills, knowledge, and experience, the information about the structure of the personal essay will be of great help. Follow the guidelines and skip none of the parts.

The Introduction

The first and the most significant question students usually ask is how to start a personal essay. In fact, the quality of your writing may depend on this point greatly, so it is indispensable to be elaborate and creative in introducing the theme and the subject of the discussion. An impressive hook that will capture the reader's attention, a few words on the topic, and the central thesis statement are the crucial components of the introductory passage. Skipping any of the parts may decrease the efficiency of your paper. Additionally, the writer should remember that clichés and standard phrases should be avoided, as the personal essay is more about conversational style rather than academic or scholarly.

The Body

The body part is the biggest and the most informative, as it should include numerous topical ideas with examples, proofs, and evidence. Divide the main part of the essay into several paragraphs, depending on the number of concepts you are willing to talk about. Every new idea should be presented in a different paragraph. Keep in mind that all the parts of the paper should support the thesis statement you made, conveying the topic. Do not forget to share your personal experience, providing readers with an opportunity to analyze the situation, consider your actions, and learn an important lesson.

Do not forget that the main purpose of the personal essay is either to impress readers or to educate them. Nonetheless, learn how to conclude a personal essay, as the most prominent piece should not be specified in the body.

The Conclusion

Why does the conclusion matter? What makes it so important? Think about the previous writing experiences you have had and transform your knowledge to this type of text. The instructions on how to end a personal essay will resemble those you use for other academic assignments. The closing passage should reiterate the thesis statement you made, highlight the key ideas you have mentioned in the paper and leave certain questions for the readers to consider.