How to Write a Quality Profile Essay: Quick Guide

A profile essay is not very common, which is why many students get lost when assigned one. We will give you the most essential tips on writing a profile essay, but before you get to that, the trick is to understand what a profile essay is, in the first place. So, let’s get started.

What is a profile essay?

Most people believe that all academic papers, essays in particular, follow a set of pre-defined rules. This, of course, is hardly ever the case, so you cannot just hope to hack one essay type and use the same logic for every paper you write in the future.

Simply put, you have to apply different writing logic for every type of paper you’re working on. And, since profile essays are not exactly common in the academe (as opposed to argumentative, narrative, or reflective papers), most students don’t even know how to get started.

Well, a nice start is to understand what exactly you’re working on. In simple terms, a profile essay is a detailed description of a person, a place, or an event. For example, a profile essay may describe an important historical figure (like Napoleon), an ancient city, a notable battle, etc. it is important to understand that the description should, indeed, be detailed. You cannot just give a brief overview — you have to dig deep to come up with a quality profile essay.

So, research and analysis are essential parts of any profile essay. After all, to present enough details for a convincing paper, you’ll have to find and analyze information on a given subject — and we’ll tell you how in paragraphs below.

Profile Essay Structure

On the other hand, people who believe that essay logic can be hacked, have one simple fact right. Absolutely all essays, regardless of a particular type, will consist of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. But that's as long as the similarities go.

In particular, profile essays often deal with people, which means that writers should be very careful with their tone. Writing in a diminishing or condescending manner is a huge flaw that can negatively affect your final grade. Remember, you will probably be writing about important figures — politics, rulers, activists, etc. All of them have major achievements, so it’s unwise to underestimate them.

Getting Started with a Profile Essay

Beginnings are tough, so pay attention to the following tips. This is the basic information you’ll need to come up with an impressive profile essay.

  •  Use reliable materials for the research

As we’ve already mentioned, proper research is essential for a quality profile essay. If you want to nail this part, make sure you choose reliable sources. Besides, since you’re working on an academic paper, you may have to reference some of the sources you’ve used. So, forum threads and entertaining blogs are not a good option. Use professional articles, scientific research, and reputable online journals.

  •  Use the latest materials

Even when profiling historic events and figures, we still recommend to use the latest research material. Online sources have a time stamp on them, and when working with in-folio, library books, you always have the year of publication. Your work, even if based on historical facts, should have at least 30% of the latest, recently updated material.

  •  Write an outline

Many students believe they’re good at improvising, and some of them are even right to think so. Still, a profile essay is not an impromptu speech. If you want to do it right, you’ll need an outline of your work. Arrange all of your findings logically, think of the main points you are going to describe, of the evidence you’re going to use — and draft it all down.

Comprehensive Profiling: What You Need to Know

One more important thing you’ll need to understand about profiling is that it does not work the same for people, events, and places. So, once again the ‘one fits all’ approach will not help you when writing a profile essay.

When profiling a person, the easiest way is to start is with appearance. Here, every detail matters, so after giving the person’s age and name, you can safely move on to ethnicity, height, even skin shade, and weight. After that, you could move on to background information — for example, education. That’s already a good start for a quality profile.

When describing a place — usually, a city — you have to mention its population, geolocation, founding date. You should also mention the city's ‘neighbors’ and give some info about their relationship — cultural, economic, political.

Another suggestion that may come in handy is to check out other writers’ work before getting started with your own profile essay. You do not even have to read profiles of the same people and places (even though this may prove useful for your research). But, even reading a profile essay that deals with a different subject may help you wrap your head about this paper’s logic and structure.

Next, try to see your profile essay as a literary work. In a way, it already is; after all, it deals with a description, and a description is, by default, a work of art. Besides, a good profile will feature elements of persuasive and expository writing. Your creativity also plays a part in this process — to make the description vivid and convincing, you’ll have to walk in your character’s shoes.

At the same time, don’t get carried away with literary elements. You will still have to base this paper on data and scientific proof. Use the latter as the skeleton of your work and add creative touches in the process. The following tips should help with that part:

  •  Keep your subject in mind

Since profile essay presupposes a great degree of creativity, some students forget the initial subject they were supposed to be dealing with. Don’t make this mistake and always return to the topic you’re writing about. Understanding why a particular person or event is important should keep you on the right track.

  •  Mind your tone

We already mentioned that you should not sound condescending. Still, there is more. For example, the second person is to be avoided in academic writing, so out with the ‘you’s. The first person may or may not be acceptable for essays. When profiling, it’s safer to stay away from ‘I’s as well.

  •  Choosing the right format

There are two main approaches to organize your profile essay: chronological and thematic ones. The first type is easier; you just go over the main milestones in a person’s life in chronological order. A thematic approach is a bit tougher, but if you do it right, the paper will be more impressive and interesting to read. Here, the trick is to thematically organize important events that prove your point of view or add to your perception of the person/event. Also, don’t forget that each paragraph is to deal with a separate issue or milestone — but they all should be logically connected.

Final Tips on Writing a Profile Essay

Some of the other tips that will prove useful for any essay, regardless of its type, is to carefully proofread every paper once you’re done. You can make use of online grammar and spelling checkers; however, remember to pay attention to your writing logic as well. An online plagiarism checker is another useful tool to get rid of incidental borrowings.

As you proofread, pay attention to your language: avoid cliches, slang phrases and stick to neutral expressions. Make sure paragraphs are logically divided — this makes your ideas easy to follow and understand.


These tips should help you come up with a truly impressive profile essay. If however, you lack time for writing or simply can't get your head around the whole thing, do not forget that professional writing services are ready to chip in. With custom essays from our team, you always get high quality, original papers that land students high grades.

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