How to write a profile essay

A profile essay is when you 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. 

Choosing a profile essay topic

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 these steps, we are going to be writing a profile essay on the former United States President Barack Obama.

Researching and 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 isn’t possible. In this case:

Profile essay introduction

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:

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.

Add your thesis statement to the last sentence of your introduction to explain the main argument of your essay. 

Additionally, the introduction of a profile essay should be short. If you are unable to write a introduction concisely, you can make use of a text summarizer. Using a summarizer will benefit in saving your time/effort, engaging readers, as well and covering all the key terms.

Writing 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.

Profile essay conclusion paragraph

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.

Final tips on profile essays

5-Paragraph Profile Essay Example

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: A Profile of a Nation-Building Leader

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, is a historical figure who has left an indelible mark on the nation and the world. Introduce the profile Here, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Born in 1881 in the Ottoman Empire, he rose to prominence during World War I as a brilliant military commander and emerged as the nation's leader in the aftermath of the war. In his role as President of the Republic of Turkey, Atatürk led a profound social, cultural, and political revolution that transformed the country into a modern and secular nation-state. Highlight his impact on the nation and the world This essay will explore the life, achievements, and legacy of Atatürk, the visionary leader who guided Turkey into a new era of progress and prosperity. Provide a strong thesis statement

Body Paragraphs

Before his political career, Atatürk was a decorated military commander who played a critical role in the Gallipoli Campaign, a World War I battle that shaped Turkey's future. Discuss Atatürk's rise as a military commander during World War I His strategic brilliance and determination earned him the title of "Atatürk," meaning "Father of the Turks." Following the war, Atatürk assumed the leadership of the Turkish War of Independence and led the nation to victory against occupying forces. Describe his role in the Gallipoli Campaign and his success in leading the Turkish War of Independence This military experience gave him the confidence and skill set to navigate the complex political landscape of post-war Turkey. Explain how his military experience influenced his later political career

As Turkey's first President, Atatürk envisioned a modern, secular, and democratic society that would be free from the influences of religion and tradition Discuss Atatürk's vision for a modern, secular, and democratic Turkey He instituted sweeping reforms that included abolishing the caliphate, adopting a new legal system, and modernizing the educational system. Describe the sweeping reforms he instituted, including abolishing the caliphate and modernizing education Atatürk's goal was to create a new Turkey that would be aligned with Western values and standards of progress, which would serve as a model for other Muslim countries. His legacy as a nation-building leader remains strong to this day. Discuss his goal of creating a new Turkey aligned with Western values and standards

Atatürk's legacy has been both praised and criticized, but there is no denying that he played a pivotal role in the formation of modern Turkey. His achievements include laying the foundation for a democratic and secular government, empowering women's rights, promoting education and science, and industrializing the nation's economy. Discuss Atatürk's impact on Turkey's democracy, education, women's rights, and industrialization Atatürk's legacy has also been the subject of controversy, particularly regarding his treatment of minorities and the suppression of political opposition. Acknowledge controversy surrounding his legacy, including his treatment of minorities and political opposition However, his contributions to the nation are widely acknowledged, and his impact on Turkish society continues to be felt to this day. Explain how Atatürk's contributions to Turkey continue to be felt today


Afterall, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's leadership has left an enduring mark on Turkish history and the world. Reiterate the importance of his contributions to Turkish history and society While his legacy is still debated, his contributions to Turkey's democracy, education, women's rights, and industrialization cannot be ignored. Atatürk remains an inspirational figure, whose principles and values have guided Turkey's path towards progress and development. Summarize Atatürk's life, achievements, and legacy As a military commander, political visionary, and nation-builder, he transformed Turkey from a backward Ottoman Empire into a modern and progressive nation-state. Restate the thesis statement.

Key takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a profile essay?

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.

Who should be the subject of the profile essay?

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.  

How do I choose a specific topic or angle for the profile essay?

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

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