How to Start an Essay about Yourself

‘Tell us about yourself’ is one of the most common introductory phrases that we hear whenever we start something new in life: applying to a college, starting a training course, entering a new sports club, applying to a job, to name a few.

The skill of self-presentation is one of the most demanded, yet highly underestimated ones. In our childhood, most of us didn’t have any difficulties talking about ourselves when playing with other kids. We didn’t have to pause to find the right words, didn’t struggle to find motivation, nor lingered to start the talking…

As we grow, though, we find speaking and writing about ourselves more difficult, while the most difficult part is, of course, how to begin the self-presentation speech or how to start essay about yourself.

An essay about yourself is a wonderful training tool to build and develop that self-presentation skill, and a good sample, which is hard to find. In this article, we’ll tell you how to start an essay about yourself, and give a few examples of effective writing strategies, including essay format and common mistakes.

Essay about Yourself writing

How to Approach Writing an Essay about Yourself

Despite the seeming ease of the task in the style of ‘Won’t I tell you about myself?’, writing an essay about yourself is very difficult. After all, it is necessary not only to pick up interesting and relevant facts, but also to state them logically.

Never begin writing an essay about yourself without proper planning. It is not one of those writing assignments when writing at will is a good strategy. Instead, approach this exercise with a cool mind and open heart. It is OK to be personal and brief. The more you’ll emphasize unique character traits and examples of your previous achievements (hardships, challenges, etc.), the better. 

How to Start Essay About Yourself

This question arises as soon as a blank sheet appears before your eyes. Take it easy. There is no need to find examples, search for a self-presentation essay format, or to copy a good sample (never plagiarize other works!).

First, write down your hobbies, interests, and achievements on a piece of paper. Recall any significant events from your life. You can mention friends and what you value most in them. Tell the reader about your goals and dreams.

In most cases, you don’t need to lay down everything. In fact, some of the best examples of such essays are highly specialized, meaning that they focus on the topic and the target audience.

Speaking of the audience, you’ll need to study yours carefully and fine-tune your paper to meet the readers’ preferences and expectations. When doing so, consider the age, gender, interests, education, and hobbies of your readers.

Common Mistakes

Look carefully at this list and avoid the mistakes that other people make when composing self-presentation texts:

  • Use clichés and standard phrases;
  • write too much;
  • include too many details;
  • write too briefly;
  • use a chaotic essay format;
  • over spice their stories with too many examples

The Structure of an Essay about Yourself

Remember, there is no single correct essay format, but rather universal guidelines and recommendations. We recommend using the following structure when writing:

  1. Enter your name, how old are you, and where you study (‘My name is Joshua Mills, I am 19 years old. At this stage, I am mastering the profession of a hydraulic engineer’).
  2. Tell us about your family (‘I live in a hostel. But my mom and dad are waiting for me at home, as well as my little brother and beloved dog, Jack’).
  3. Tell us about your character (‘I miss home, because by nature I’m more of a homebody than a party personality, so I really appreciate my family’).
  4. Tell us about your attitudes in life (‘I like to play sports: I spend my free time on the horizontal bars in the backyard of my house. And I don’t like that my friends smoke and drink’).
  5. Describe your targets, priorities, and plans for your life (‘I dream of my home and a big, healthy family’).

The next time you’ll be wondering how to start essay about yourself, go through this checklist and pick the relevant items to begin writing.

Essay about Yourself

Brainstorming an Essay about Yourself

The brainstorming technique is widely used in academic and business environments. It is also a very useful tactic in how to start essay about yourself.

Open a laptop, take a piece of paper and briefly write your first ideas. It is less important to focus on the quality and details like correct grammar and language at this stage. Some of the best brainstorming session examples contain chaotic sketches and concise expressions. We recommend finding a sample of a good brainstorming session in your college or university and analyzing it.

Students also often use stick-it notes for brainstorming. Great if you have a whiteboard at your home, but a simple clear wall or a window class will do. Post your notes and shuffle them as you review and find the worthy ones, or see clear groups and topics.

Among the best group of notes, find the one that seems the most appropriate to you. The idea must be fruitful and innovative so that your work will positively stand out from the rest.

An Introduction is a Key

No essay format can live without an introductory part. It is the must-have element of each college essay, and especially an essay about yourself.

Use a catchy hook in the first sentences, which can be an interesting fact about yourself, a piece of good humor, or an intriguing question. Then include a thesis statement to tell your reader what the essay is going to focus on.

All in all, your introductory part should take up at least 10% of the overall essay volume. 

A Few Useful Guidelines

Nobody is expecting you to become a pro in self-presentation skills immediately. It is perfectly fine to make mistakes, find it hard to memorize the right essay format, and be guided by a wrong sample. To make your writing easier, here are several further guidelines on how to start essay about yourself:

  • Start by introducing yourself. You can even do it in a non-standard way, for example, first describe your appearance, and character, and then add that all this is you.
  • Describe positive traits such as hobbies, passions, talents, etc.
  • Don’t embellish yourself: if you love to skip classes, then don’t point out that you love to study.
  • If you are starting with an ambitious goal, justify it. Provide examples, e.g. you are learning Spanish to travel the world.
  • Do not use jargon, slang, or speech clichés.
  • Stick to a single sample structure of presentation. If you are talking about family relationships, and childhood memories, do not weave career successes into the narrative and vice versa.
  • The story about yourself should be logical. Check it for spelling, speech, and punctuation errors. Even writing an essay about yourself on a minor occasion does not eliminate the need to follow the rules of the English language.
  • To make the essay about yourself coherent, stick to the main line throughout the story. It can be your personal quality, hobbies, features of relationships with relatives, interesting life cases, or worldviews.
  • Don’t make the story too dry. Use figurative and expressive means of language (bright epithets, metaphors, comparisons), trying not to be limited to strict facts.
  • Introduce notes of humor into the text – this technique will help to capture the attention of the reader.
  • The essay should fully reveal your personality. Do not turn the text into a list of your own merits.
  • Talk about flaws too, but in such a way that they do not seem like gross flaws, but only transient imperfections that you are working hard to correct.
  • Your essay format and the main text should be original. In the introduction, interest the reader, for example, by the fact that you have an unusual hobby.
  • But do not disclose everything immediately. Throughout the story, refer to examples from personal experience; outline the formation of your own character, and only at the end reveal the whole idea.