What Is a Biographical Essay?

Biographical essay tells about the nature, basic life events, and achievements of a certain person. Biographical essay is small in size and more specialized. This is a document that should provide readers with basic information about a person and their personality. The essay can be prepared for both historical people and living people. Read the following tips that will teach you how to make biographical paper to professionally characterize people.

Collecting Information

Collect all the necessary information. This step is necessary even in the preparation process, when it seems that you know everything about yourself. You will still need to write out the data that will be needed when drafting an essay. If you are writing a biographical essay about yourself, prepare the following:

  • Prepare a list of all companies and organizations where you worked. Highlight the most important ones.
  • Prepare a list of the most significant achievements in different areas (publications, completed projects, career growth, etc.).
  • Write down what you are most proud of in your life.
  • Write down the basic personal data. Sometimes it is enough to indicate the place of residence and marital status (the size of this block depends on the restrictions to the size of the paper itself).
  • Read your old cover letters. Try to see what qualities and aspects of your life you considered necessary to emphasize in the past.

Collect data about another person (subordinate, historical person, etc.) if you are composing an essay about another person. It is more difficult to find information about others than collecting information about yourself but if you write about a close person, you will get lots of fun in the course of the work and will be able to get to know the person better. To get maximum information, use the following methods:

  • Search in the internet (websites that have reliable information). If you write about some celebrity, they might have their own website.
  • If you study, you can find a teacher who is an expert on the study of a certain historical person. Ask the professor to give you a little time to answer a few questions about this person.
  • Read in the local library several biographies of the person of interest.
  • Search on different resources. Do not confine yourself to one source. The more different assessments and opinions, the more complete the picture is. When finding interesting information, find its confirmation from other authors.
  • Choose from the life of this person some event that allows you to reveal the main features of the character and qualities that you would like to emphasize. Find information about this event.
  • Make a list of the main events in the life of this person: date of birth, place of residence, basic occupations during life, place and time of death.
  • Make a list of the main events of life: where a person worked, how the interests changed, and what major achievements were achieved. To write a biographical paper about a person, one must feel the life of the person from within.

Think Over the Collected Information

  • Think about your life. After you have collected enough information about the main events and achievements in your life, you need to step aside and think about what qualities and achievements you would like to focus on. What features and events can make an impression on a potential employer? What events are not related to the achievement of your goals? Do the following:
  • Think about what qualities you would like to emphasize. If you want to emphasize the originality of thinking, focus on the original projects that you carried out. If you need to show the ability to get along with people, emphasize the ability to work in a team.
  • Think about those aspects of your life that do not need to be included in the essay. The paper can be limited to the size of 1 sheet. Get rid of all the events that are not relevant to future work.
  • Think about what anecdote can illustrate the qualities that you want to emphasize. A little brainstorm will help you find a few jokes and choose the most relevant ones from them. Do not forget that the joke is used only in biographical papers of a large size, and in a brief description it will be inappropriate.
  • Consider what achievements and experience you need to emphasize. You cannot include all your achievements so you need to select only those that are closest to the chosen area and create the greatest impression.

When you compose a biographical essay about some person, reflect on the life of the person. Once you completed the collection of information and research work, start brainstorming ideas. What do the collected data tell you about? What trends can be found on their basis? These reflections will allow you to feel the life of a person in order to find the main features in it about which you are going to write.

  • Ask yourself, what impact did the epoch and circumstances of the life of the person have on the character of this person.
  • Think about how this person affected the lives of close people, society in general, and future generations.
  • Think about which of the changes in character, achievements in work activity, and life events you would like to emphasize. When you write a biographical paper about the historical person, you may be more interested in showing the personal relationships of the person rather than work experience.
  • Decide what qualities of this person you would like to emphasize separately. Perhaps this is a moral attitude towards work, a sense of humor, determination or other quality. Whatever you choose, you need to build all further descriptions in such a way as to confirm your position with facts.
  • Find a joke or an anecdote, ideally illustrating the qualities that you would like to describe.

The Writing Process

Start with a joke. If the size of the paper allows you to use an anecdote, you should include it at the very beginning. This way you will catch the interest of readers, and also make a snapshot characterizing the person you are writing about. Always write in the third person, even if you write about yourself. An anecdote can occupy one paragraph or just a few sentences but it should fully reveal the features of the person you are writing about.

  • Explain who you are writing about. It is more difficult to write about historical characters than to prepare an autobiography. You can start from childhood, telling a joke about the childhood of Abraham Lincoln. Then surprise readers by telling them who you are really talking about.
  • Show the person’s character. If you want to show honesty and reliability, make sure that the joke you choose illustrates these qualities.
  • Show what qualities distinguish this person from others. Use the details of the qualities and imaginative turns of speech to demonstrate the difference of this person from others.

Provide basic information about the person. When you interest the reader and tell them about the main quality of a person, give basic information about the person to create a three-dimensional impression of the life. When pointing out the main events, achievements and passions, pay attention to the following points:

  • Be honest. Do not misinterpret or embellish to impress the reader. Your goal is to tell how the events really happened.
  • Write creatively. Do not retell a story that everyone has heard for 100 times already. Find new ways to convey the same data that is already known to the reader. Use originality of expression and unusual ways of tell the facts.
  • If you are preparing a biographical essay about a historical person, tell the readers where this person was born and died, what passions they had, what they achieved, and how they influenced society. You can also add any external information relevant to the person described.
  • Do not forget that the description of events must correspond to the chronology. Do not mislead the readers.

Finish your essay with a strong ending. Once you hooked the readers’ interest and told them enough about the person, you need to find a clear and confident conclusion to the essay. Try to put your ideas into 1–2 sentences. You can use the following tips:

  • If it an autobiographical essay, you can finish it with personal information. For example, you can specify where you currently live, with whom you live, and what you do.
  • If you are finishing the biographical information about the historical person, tell the readers what impact this person had on a society.

Checking of an Essay

Check the prepared essay. When you’re finished, check to see if the biographical paper matches the prescribed size. Make sure the material reveals your main idea and is laid out sequentially. The time spent for checking will pay off because you can emphasize the most important traits of character and more clearly convey the main idea. After that, edit your work, and hand it in to your professor