How to write a profile essay


A profile essay is a writing assignment that allows you to do what journalists do: focus your writing on a single person, location, or object.

When you need to write one of these types of essays, it’s important to keep the essay’s main objective in mind. This objective is to be enlightening.

Step 1: Before writing

When writing a profile essay, it’s better to read a few sample essays first to familiarize yourself with the general style and essential elements of an academic essay. Profile essays can be found in professional magazines.

Notice how the essay’s focus is set up early in these examples. By the second paragraph of a ten-paragraph essay, you already feel like you know the subject. Now that we have seen enough examples, let’s get to the actual writing process.

Step 2: Choose a topic and gather information

You first need to choose a topic for your profile essay. Then, you need to gather information about the topic.

Choosing the topic

Consider a person, a place, or an object when choosing a topic.

For this how-to guide, we are going to be writing a profile essay on the former United States President Barack Obama.

Gathering information

First-hand information is often preferable because it contains data that can’t be accessed somewhere else. If you are interviewing someone for information:

If you are going to write about a famous person or a place you can’t visit, receiving first-hand information is not likely. In this case:

Step 3: Write an introduction

An introduction should pique the reader’s interest. To pique their curiosity, you may ask thought-provoking questions or use unknown facts.

One of the most common characteristics of profile essays is their focus on presenting comprehensive details about the subject (Avoiding general descriptions). Therefore, in the introduction of a profile essay:

Add your thesis statement to the last sentence of your introduction to explain what topics the essay will explore.

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, making him the first African American to hold the position. Introducing the person: Portrays the occupation and the function of the person. Also shows what makes him special by stating that he was the first African American President. Barack Obama was raised in both Hawaii and Jakarta, Indonesia. His mother was from Kansas, while his father was from Kenya, Africa. Barack earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York in 1983. He quickly realized that he wanted to be a lawyer and enrolled in Harvard Law School. He began studying law after graduating in 1991. Background: Personal background that familiarizes the subject to the reader. These are essential for a profile essay. After a while, he decided to enter politics. He won the 2008 presidential race after three years in the United States Senate. He was well-known and well-liked around the country for being an outstanding communicator. Detailed information: A description of the subject that functions as a visualization for the reader. This comment sets the tone for the rest of the essay. His skills as a communicator are one of the first things one realizes about him, resulting in him being dubbed as “The Great Communicator”, particularly because of three moments where he proved his skill greatly. Thesis statement: Now we know what aspect of the subject this essay will emphasize on.

Step 4: Write the body paragraphs

It’s time to compose the body paragraphs now that you’ve finished your introduction. It’s important to:

Obama’s ability to communicate his thoughts in a manner that his intended audience would understand is part of what makes him a great communicator. Topic sentence: Presents the issues that will be talked about in the paragraph. He used this ability a lot during his days in the office. This was a reason why he was seen as an approachable president by many; he knew that the people had to understand him before supporting him. Description: Further description of the subject’s personality and public persona. These details make the readers more familiar with the subject. In order to achieve this, he tended to compare his time in the White House to celebrities. He allegedly responded to a reporter’s question by saying, “I’m so overexposed, I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse!” Quotation: Direct quotation from the subject. Sections like this are essential in a profile essay because they function as first-hand information; one of the ways you can make the reader feel like they are there with you. Moments like this one made Obama a president that many people liked and felt close to, which results from being a great communicator. Concluding sentence: Finishing sentence for the paragraph which ties with the thesis statement.

Step 5: Write a conclusion

Now it’s time to write our conclusion. Use the conclusion to:

After all, Obama earned the love and appreciation of many people by being a great communicator. Restatement: Reaffirming the thesis statement. Shows that the essay has covered the suggested claim in the introduction. People loved to see him because he did not intimidate them. He was a sympathetic, charismatic, and tall man who crafted his words accordingly to people around him. Visual description: Visual description of the subject which makes the reader feel closer to it. He related what he wanted to talk about to familiar subjects to the public, such as celebrities and pop stars. He was humble and compassionate in his acknowledgement of others’ efforts, which made him a more approachable person in the public eye. He also talked openly and passionately about the issues that his big project, “Obamacare”, would solve. This open communication with the public made him gain trust from the people. Summary: A Concise summary of the points made in the body paragraphs. Therefore, although various comments can be made about Obama’s legacy as a president, one thing everyone can agree on is that he had advanced communication skills that improved his place as a leader. Concluding sentence: Memorable ending sentence that makes the reader think.

Step 6: Things to consider

Frequently Asked Questions

A profile essay aims to provide a thorough description or analysis of a person, location, or event. The essay should include an in-depth examination of the subject's history, personality, and deeds. It should also give insight into the subject's relevance or influence.

A person, location, or event might be the subject of a profile essay. An actual person, such as a prominent personality or a fictitious character, can be used. It can also refer to a location, such as a city or a monument, or an event, such as a concert or sporting event. The most critical factor is that the topic is intriguing and has a tale to tell.

Consider the following factors when selecting a topic or viewpoint for a profile essay:

  • What piques your interest in the subject?
  • What distinguishing attributes or characteristics does the topic have?
  • What is the subject's importance to a bigger audience?
  • What story or message do you wish to communicate about the topic? 

Deniz Akcaoglu
Deniz Akcaoglu
Content editor and writer. Probably out there trying to get into an obscure band she actually hates the sound of.

Recently on Tamara Blog

Asena Kocakusak

How to write a horror story

This article will guide you on how to write a horror story. You will learn how to plan your setting, characters, and outline and see examples of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. 

Read More »
Asena Kocakusak

How to write a story

Learn how to write a story with our guide on the steps of story writing and see examples of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Read More »
Education concept. Student studying and brainstorming campus con
Asena Kocakusak

How to structure an essay

Learn how to structure an essay with our comprehensive guide. We also give tips on writing a solid thesis statement and supporting your arguments with evidence.

Read More »
Asena Kocakusak

How to write a hook sentence

Learn how to write a hook sentence that will grab your reader’s attention and keep them interested in your essay. Discover the steps and types with examples.

Read More »
How to write a profile essay
Fatih Gul

Essay Topic Ideas

Get inspiration for your essay with our list of essay topic ideas, from persuasive and argumentative to narrative and research essay topics.

Read More »