How to Write 'Describe yourself essay’ Without Sounding Egocentric

Posted on: 26th May 2020

Writing about yourself may be one of the most natural forms of writing you get to do, but then the word ‘essay’ gets thrown in there, and all the fun seems drained out, doesn’t it? 

Now that you are here, how about we change that outlook by guiding you through writing an amazing ‘How to Write a Describe yourself essay’? 

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Occasions Where You are asked to write a ‘Describe yourself essay’

  • For a college application
  • In a school report
  • While writing a biography or autobiography
  • For a personal narrative essay
  • In job application cover letters
  • As part of a job interview process
  • For an office project
  • A SWOT analysis
  • For therapy

Choose a Style

Choosing a style is determined by the instructions you have been given (if any). If there are no instructions, then you will go right ahead to a form you feel suits you best. Which of these do you think will best aid you in writing your essay.


This one comes in handy when you really can’t get over talking about other people even when the essay is a ‘describe yourself essay.’ All you have to do here is pretend that you are talking about someone else, that is, describing yourself in the third person.


If you have no trouble at all talking about yourself, this would be a friendly style to go with, having that you write all things self here. Here are a few questions to consider to guide you in making the autobiography more focused and less general or all over the place.

  • Who are you?
  • What is your background?
  • Are there any interests you would like to share?
  • What challenges have you faced over time?
  • What are your achievements?

Personal Essay

This style requires that you tell a story about yourself using real-life details. It is best to focus on a single theme, for instance, how you overcame a particular obstacle or what you have learned over time from your failures.

Cover Letter

A cover letter is one of the more formal styles of essays to describe yourself, seeing as it introduces you as a candidate for employment or internship. Here you will need to:

  • Outline your qualifications
  • Describe who you are
  • Say how your background education and experience qualify you for the position
  • State how this opportunity will benefit you
  • Include what value you will add to the company if given the opportunity

Note: If instructions come with the ‘Describe yourself essay,’ then you will have to look out for the essay prompts to guide you in writing it. Here are a few classic examples of personal essay prompts:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Write about a time you failed at something?
  • How have your failures made you who you are today?
  • What are your long term goals, and how do you plan on achieving them?
  • What is your dream job?
  • Which books have made a great impression on you?
  • Where would you like to live for the rest of your life?
  • What is your biggest disappointment?
  • Do you remember your first bike ride?
  • What is your opinion on distance learning and online education?

See Sample: Describe yourself essay sample: Good personal reflection

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience helps you determine what content to put in your essay. The best way to know your audience is to do your research. For example, when writing college applications. You want to make sure the reader gets a sense of who you are in the few words you will use, so always keep them in mind. Here are a few places you can check for information to determine your audience:

  • The school’s catalog
  • The school’s website
  • Asking your friends
  • If you have the contact of anyone in the school you are hoping to enroll in, you can enquire from them about the school’s board.
  • From your professors.

Know your own life

Without taking a moment to look at your life from an observer’s point of view, all these tips will be inapplicable. This helps a lot to make your article objective and not subjective and, in that case, sounding less self-absorbed, so take that moment. As you do, note down the most significant events in your life that you would like to talk about, think of the best and also the not so good qualities you possess. With these running in mind, apply the tips we have already gone through and make your outline.

Make an Outline

An outline saves you a lot of time, given that you are working with a deadline. It also makes your work look neat and organized, which could be a perk of yourself to the reader. Use the following guideline to help you structure your essay:


The best way to keep the reader hooked to your essay is to have a compelling introduction, one that will leave them wanting to know what will happen next, on and on to the end. Perhaps the instruction that goes in line with the ‘Describe yourself essay’ is to mark up a vacation trip, in this trip, you survived the Titanic. You can begin by telling the reader a fact about how many people survive a cruise ship. You can also use a hooker that describes the ending like this one, ‘I might have lost a limb, but I survived.’ These will arouse questions from your reader, making him read further along to have the questions answered.

It is in the introduction as well that you set the scene. Give the reader a general idea of the when and where of the experiences you will be referencing. Using the same example from above, you may generally describe when it is that you boarded the cruise ship and where it was headed to or when the mishap came about.

You can choose a different approach in the introduction by making a thesis statement instead. Let us say your essay talks about growing up in poverty; in that cases, your thesis statement may read, “They say that necessity is the mother of invention, that is perhaps why hardships make us all creators of sorts.”


The body paragraphs typically tell the story. Remember to provide examples when describing an occasion. You also need to show more than tell the reader your story by including introducing actual conversations to describe a person. Avoid dry statements. Use descriptions and imagery to create the picture for the reader as well.


The conclusion involves the reflection of your story. For example:

  • What have you learned from the experience?
  • How has your life been impacted?
  • What would you do differently in the future?

Asking yourself such questions will help you understand why you chose to write about that particular topic and determine the impact it has had in your life to make you who you are today. 

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What to Avoid When Writing a ‘Describe yourself essay.’

You know yourself better than anyone else. The most crucial point to hold in your mind from the beginning to the end of your essay is honesty. It is hard to be vulnerable sometimes, especially if the person you are to share this information with is not very close to you. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should be honest to the point of being negative about yourself. Here are a few things to avoid when writing a ‘describe yourself’ essay:

Talking about other people

This article is about yourself. It is a way of selling yourself. I know that you are selfless and prefer when all the attention is not on you; this, however, is not one of those times. The limelight is on you, therefore avoid talking excessively about other people.

Using complex words

It is best to avoid fancy words while writing this type of essay because you want to come out precise for the reader. Simple is good, especially where clarity is needed. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to using difficult words in your essay:


  1. Know your audience, as it will help to know whether that particular group of people can understand the words you want to use.
  2. Define complex words in brackets, where you have used them in a sentence for the first time in the essay.
  3. Avoid repeating the word because this will lessen its impact on your essay.


  1. Don’t use too many of these terms unless you want your reader at best to sit with a dictionary while reading your piece or, at worst, do away with it altogether.
  2. Avoid using slang. It will NOT pass for a jargon; it is informal and may be considered offensive in some instances.
  3. Do not use complicated words to meet your word count. It will only make things worse.


Even in other words, the reader is smart enough to see that the point you are now making is similar to the one you made earlier on. You are not boring; therefore, do not make the reader conclude that you are by repeating a point, more so about yourself. I believe you are more than meets the eye, with a lot to say about yourself, so make it so in your writing.

Being negative about yourself

We all have our shortcomings, some more distressing than others. Here is a way you can talk about yours by bringing a positive vibe into them:

Instead of pointing out how much people suck and you prefer to just keep to yourself, you can say something like, “I could use more experience in”:

  • Being a team player
  • Verbal communication
  • Team  building activities

Instead of pointing out how sarcastic you can get, you may point out that you are working on:

  • Providing constructive criticism

Make sure to brainstorm on how some of your weaknesses have made you improvise positively in life, perhaps you prefer to write more than talk, so point out how this has sharpened your writing skills and provided you with a hobby, even a possible career choice.

In short, focus more on how your shortcomings have impacted you and others positively.

Ignoring the rules

Make sure to listen in or check for any instructions given before concluding that a ‘describe yourself essay’ is a free flow type of essay. Having done this will save you a lot of time when you know which side you are leaning on. We shall discuss this further below on the methods to take up while writing this type of essay.

Additional Tips

  • A describe yourself essay is typically written in the first person so the letter ‘I’ will be in abundance, therefore, as you go through your work, you can replace these I’s by restructuring your sentence by:
  • Using continuous prose, for example, I am a student at this university, taking a bachelor’s degree in this course, scheduled to graduate on this date
  • Beginning with a verb, for instance, Planting trees is very important to me
  • As you move from past to present and possible future events while writing your article, be careful to do it in a way that will not confuse your reader.
  • Revise your work as many times as possible to edit the grammatical and spelling errors in your article. It will serve as an appeal to your reader when he is going through your work, and it is neat and attractive at sight.
  1. Time to Create your Essay!

With this information now at your fingertips, you are ready to get started. We are all uniquely different, so as you set out on this journey to self-discovery and what will turn out to be a fantastic ‘Describe yourself essay,’ do not lose that fact about yourself by trying to sound like someone else. Time to get started!

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