HomeEssayProfile Essay | Definition, Outline and Example

Profile Essay | Definition, Outline and Example


What is a Profile Essay?

A profile essay is a type of descriptive writing focused on a person, place, event, or organization. It aims to provide a comprehensive and engaging portrait of its subject. This essay offers insights into the subject’s characteristics, background, and impact.

Unlike straightforward biographies or expository essays, profile essays incorporate the writer’s observations and experiences. This approach adds depth and a personal touch to the narrative.

Key elements of a profile essay include:

  1. Introduction: This section starts with a hook to grab attention. It is followed by a thesis statement that outlines the essay’s focus.
  2. Body Paragraphs: These sections delve into the details of the subject. They describe physical appearances, actions, behaviors, and other relevant aspects. The writer may also include interviews or personal anecdotes to enrich the narrative.
  3. Conclusion: This part summarizes the key points made throughout the essay. It reflects on the subject’s significance and leaves the reader with a final thought or question.

Profile essays require thorough research and observation. They aim to not only inform but also to evoke a deeper understanding and appreciation of the subject.

Purposes and Goals of a Profile Essay

  • To Inform and Educate: The essay aims to provide detailed and factual information about its subject, helping readers understand who or what the subject is and why it is significant.
  • To Engage and Entertain: By weaving narrative elements and personal observations into the essay, the writer seeks to capture the reader’s interest and keep them engaged throughout the piece.
  • To Provide Insight: The essay offers insights into the subject’s personality, life, achievements, or the essence of a place or event, giving readers a deeper understanding of the subject beyond surface-level facts.
  • To Inspire or Persuade: Through the portrayal of the subject’s challenges, successes, or unique qualities, the essay may aim to inspire readers or persuade them to view the subject in a certain light.

How Profile Essay Writing is different from other forms of Essays?

Feature Profile Essay Narrative Essay Expository Essay Persuasive Essay Pictorial Essay
Purpose To present a detailed portrayal of a subject. To tell a story or recount events. To explain or inform about a topic. To persuade the reader of a viewpoint. To tell a story or convey themes through photographs or images.
Focus On a person, place, event, or organization. On a specific event or series of events. On facts and objective information. On arguments to support a stance. On visual storytelling, using images to explore a subject or theme.
Structure Descriptive and narrative elements with personal insights. Chronological or thematic organization. Logical organization around main points. Argumentative, addressing counterarguments. Sequential or thematic arrangement of images, sometimes accompanied by captions or brief text.
Style Descriptive and immersive, with personal observations. Storytelling, with plot, character, and setting. Explanatory and neutral, focusing on clarity. Persuasive and argumentative. Visual and artistic, focusing on composition, lighting, and perspective.
Research Involves research and personal observation/interviews. May include research but focuses on personal experience. Based on research and factual information. Based on research to support arguments. May involve research for context, but heavily relies on visual documentation and artistic expression.

This table illustrates the unique characteristics and approaches of each essay type, highlighting how each serves its specific purpose through different focuses, structures, styles, and research requirements.

Outline of a Profile Essay

Creating an outline for a profile essay helps organize thoughts and ensures that the essay covers all necessary aspects of the subject. Here’s a basic structure for a profile essay outline:

I. Introduction

  • Hook: Start with an interesting fact, quote, or anecdote about the subject to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Background Information: Provide some background information about the subject to set the context for the reader.
  • Thesis Statement: Present a concise statement that outlines the focus of the essay and what the reader can expect to learn about the subject.

II. Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should focus on a different aspect or theme related to the subject.

A. Early Life/History

  • Background: Discuss the subject’s early life, upbringing, or history if it’s a place or organization.
  • Significant Events: Highlight any significant events or influences that shaped the subject.

B. Achievements/Contributions

  • Major Achievements: Outline the subject’s major achievements or contributions.
  • Impact: Discuss the impact of these achievements on their field, community, or the world.

C. Personal Qualities/Characteristics

  • Character Traits: Describe the subject’s key character traits or qualities.
  • Anecdotes: Include anecdotes or stories that illustrate these traits.

D. Challenges/Obstacles

  • Challenges Faced: Detail any significant challenges or obstacles the subject has encountered.
  • Overcoming Challenges: Explain how the subject overcame these challenges and what can be learned from their experience.

III. Conclusion

  • Summary: Summarize the key points made in the essay, reinforcing the significance of the subject.
  • Reflection: Offer a personal reflection on what makes the subject interesting or inspirational.
  • Closing Thought: End with a final thought or question that leaves the reader pondering the subject’s impact or legacy.

This outline serves as a guide and can be adjusted based on the specific requirements of the assignment or the unique aspects of the subject being profiled.

How to write a Profile Essay

Writing a profile essay involves several steps, from choosing a subject to conducting research and weaving the narrative. Here’s a guide to help you craft an engaging and insightful profile essay:

Choose Your Subject

Select a subject that interests you and has enough depth to explore in an essay. Ensure the subject has unique qualities, achievements, or challenges that will capture the reader’s interest. It could be someone you know, a place you’ve visited, or an event that has significance in your community.

Check out our sample essays to get more understanding on how to write an essay.

Research Your Subject

Conduct thorough research to gather as much information as possible about your subject. This can include online research, interviews, visiting locations, or attending events. Take detailed notes on your findings, focusing on the most compelling aspects of your subject.

Create an Outline

Organize your notes and plan the structure of your essay. An effective outline includes an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, body paragraphs that delve into different aspects of your subject, and a conclusion that ties everything together and reflects on the subject’s significance.

Write the Introduction

Begin with a hook to engage your readers, such as an intriguing fact, a quote, or a vivid description. Provide background information to introduce your subject and end the introduction with a thesis statement that outlines the focus of your essay.

Develop the Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of your subject, such as their background, achievements, personal qualities, or challenges they’ve faced. Use descriptive language to bring your subject to life and include quotes or anecdotes to add depth and authenticity to your portrayal.

Conclude Your Essay

Summarize the key points you’ve made throughout the essay and reflect on the subject’s overall impact or significance. Offer a final thought or question to leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Edit and Revise

Review your essay for any errors or inconsistencies. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and style. Ensure that your essay flows smoothly and that each paragraph supports your thesis statement. Consider getting feedback from peers or instructors to further refine your essay.

Writing a profile essay is an opportunity to explore and share the stories of interesting subjects, offering readers a window into their lives, experiences, or environments. By following these steps, you can create a compelling and insightful profile essay that captivates your audience.

Example of a Profile Essay

A Portrait of Resilience: The Story of Maria

In the heart of a bustling city, amidst the cacophony of daily life, stands a small, unassuming bakery known as “Maria’s Delights.” The aroma of freshly baked bread and the sweet scent of pastries fill the air, drawing in locals and tourists alike. At the helm of this culinary haven is Maria Gonzalez, a woman whose hands have shaped more than just dough. Her journey, marked by resilience and passion, offers a compelling narrative of triumph over adversity.

Maria’s story begins in a small village in Mexico, where she was born into a family of farmers. Life was a constant struggle, with resources scarce and opportunities even scarcer. Yet, Maria’s early years were rich in love and tradition, elements that would later become the foundation of her success. From a young age, she was drawn to the kitchen, where her mother and grandmother passed down the recipes and techniques that had been in their family for generations.

However, Maria’s dreams extended beyond the confines of her village. At the age of twenty, she made the bold decision to move to the United States, armed with nothing but a suitcase and a heart full of hope. The transition was fraught with challenges. Language barriers and financial hardships tested her resolve, but Maria’s determination never wavered. She took on multiple jobs, from cleaning houses to working in restaurants, each step bringing her closer to her dream.

The turning point came when Maria inherited a small sum of money from a distant relative. With every penny she had saved, she took a leap of faith and opened “Maria’s Delights.” The early days were a test of endurance. Long hours, financial instability, and the daunting task of building a customer base from scratch could have deterred a lesser spirit. But Maria’s resilience shone through. She infused every dish with the flavors of her heritage, creating a menu that was a tribute to her roots and a testament to her journey.

Today, “Maria’s Delights” is more than just a bakery. It is a community hub, a place where people from all walks of life come together over the universal language of food. Maria’s warm smile and open heart have made her a beloved figure in the neighborhood. But her impact extends beyond the walls of her bakery. She mentors young immigrants, sharing her story as a beacon of hope and a reminder that with hard work and perseverance, dreams can become reality.

Reflecting on her journey, Maria often says, “The secret ingredient is always love.” This simple philosophy encapsulates her approach to both baking and life. Despite the hardships she has faced, her spirit remains unbroken, her generosity boundless. Maria’s story is not just one of success; it is a narrative of resilience, a reminder that the path to achieving our dreams is often paved with challenges, but it is how we overcome these obstacles that defines us.

As the sun sets on another day, the lights of “Maria’s Delights” continue to shine bright, a beacon of warmth in the city’s landscape. Maria’s journey from a small village in Mexico to the heart of a bustling city is a testament to the power of resilience. Her story inspires not just those who dream of a better life but anyone who faces adversity. In the face of challenges, Maria’s story whispers a powerful message: with resilience, passion, and a dash of love, anything is possible.


How do I choose a topic for a profile essay?

Choose a topic that interests you and has enough depth to explore in an essay. It could be someone you admire, a place you love, an event that impacted you, or a phenomenon you find fascinating. Ensure there’s enough information available to research and present a comprehensive profile.

How can I improve my writing skills?

Improve your writing skills by practicing regularly, reading widely, seeking feedback from others, and revising your work based on that feedback. Also, studying grammar, punctuation, and style guides can be very helpful.

What is the difference between expository and narrative essays?

Expository essays aim to inform or explain a topic using facts, statistics, and examples without the author’s personal opinion. Narrative essays tell a story or recount experiences, focusing on a sequence of events and including elements like plot, character, and setting.

How do I cite sources in my essay?

Cite sources by following the specific guidelines of the citation style you are using, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. These guidelines will dictate how to format in-text citations and the reference list or bibliography at the end of your essay.

Summer Leonard
Summer Leonardhttps://studentsnews.co.uk
Summer Leonard writes about students and school life. She shares practical advice and understanding based on her own experiences. Her writing aims to create a supportive community among students, helping them navigate the challenges of academics. Through simple and thoughtful words, she inspires and guides those on the educational journey.

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