How to Sell Yourself in an Essay

Your essay should list your strengths.

The ability to sell yourself in an essay is a skill frequently called upon in the professional world. Whether in a cover letter or a college entrance statement, a compelling essay requires you to identify the skills or experiences that are valuable to your audience. Invest some time in brainstorming your unique attributes; your essay might leave your reader sold.

Identify your audience, or whom you will be selling yourself to in the essay. The content of the essay will depend on the audience. If writing a cover letter for a business management job application, the audience likely is a recruiter with a business background, for example. A diverse panel that also includes readers not in the engineering profession likely will read an essay for entrance to a university engineering program,

Identify at least three characteristics that the reader of the essay will want to see. For a college entrance essay, the audience is most likely interested in seeing qualities such as leadership, academic excellence or extracurricular experiences. A corporate recruiter will look for experiences that are relevant to the position you seek. The ability to identify how the audience will see your statements will increase the chances of making a connection.

Jot down your relevant experiences, skills and characteristics. Select three of the most compelling items that you brainstormed and support these characteristics with convincing, concrete examples that will inform your audience of your abilities. If you are trying to sell yourself in a college entrance essay, highlight your leadership skills by citing a time you excelled in a leadership position, such as when you took initiative to start a club or help organize a community event.

Write a strong introductory sentence to get the reader's attention and make him want to continue reading the essay. For a cover letter, simply state which positions you are applying for to make it clear for the recruiter. However, for a personal statement for college entrance, try to pull the reader in with a "hook" such as a humorous anecdote, a quote or an interesting fact. For example, "To be successful you must risk failure. The summer before graduating high school, I made a commitment run the New York City Marathon."

List at least three selling points in your introductory paragraph.

List the three key attributes or selling points after the attention-grabbing introduction sentence. It is not necessary to expand these statements here; you will write more about these in the body of the essay.

  • Avoid the use of imprecise language in your essay. The use of such words may dilute your essay's argument. Have someone else proofread your essay. You do not want any typographical or grammatical errors.
  • Be careful to not come off as arrogant in the essay. Since you are trying to sell yourself, you must sound confident in your statements, but be careful to not offend the reader.
  • Research your audience before writing your essay. This will help you to craft statements that highlight the key interests of your audience and therefore build a more compelling essay.

John Lee is a writer with several years of expertise in technical subjects, including mechanical engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He is currently based in Asia.