When you are looking for a job or applying for a graduate program, most of the time, you will need to write a cover letter or an application essay. Anytime you have to write about yourself, it can be a challenge just to know where to start. Coming up with the opening sentence can leave you frozen with writers' block. So, what can you do to get through it and write something that not only is a good summary of your skills but is good enough to get you the interview?
The first thing you have to do is take a deep breath. When you break it down into small pieces, the job can be much easier and your finished product will be more cohesive and will tell the story your story in the best way possible. Here are some steps for writing about yourself:
- Step 1: Don't focus on the opening – It is too easy to get stuck on the introduction and not get anywhere. The best way to keep from getting blocked is to start with a rough draft of ideas and then as you fine tune, the opening will come naturally.
- Step 2: Go back and read your resume – If you don't have a resume, read through your college application. Look at you educational history and accomplishments. Reading it in detail will help you get ideas about what things are the most important to you. The purpose here is to refresh your memory and to put your mental focus on your history.
- Step 3: Free write everything in chronological order – Write down you professional and academic history from start to finish. These don't have to be great sentences or free of typos. This is just a rough edit.
- Step 4: Look for the common thread – Sometimes it may seem that everything you have done has been independent of each other, but if you look closer, you will see that there is always a common idea that defines who you are. For example, if you have always wanted to work in the Business industry and are applying to a M.B.A program, look at how your history shows your talent for business. The lemonade stand you had when you were twelve, your first job in fast food, you undergraduate college job and the babysitting business you started in college to earn a little money all can be connected together to demonstrate your passion for business. Thematic consistency is a great way to keep the reader's attention. This step will take the most time and it is the most important.
- Step 5: Work on the beginning and ending – Now that you have a clear idea of what your theme is, you can flesh out the beginning and the end. Try to stay away from cutesy or clever opening lines and instead, try to answer the question in the reader's mind in the first sentence or two and work it into your story.
- Step 6: Fine tune and edit – Now that you have the basics done, you can fine tune your work, proofread. Once you are happy with your work, consider having a friend read over it for you, or read it to them aloud to help check for cohesion.
See, writing an impressive essay about yourself wasn't as hard as you thought. Be sure that you sell yourself and talk about the things you are most proud of. Remember that this isn't the time to be humble so tell them why you are the best choice for the position.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for CollegeJobBankBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.