Is this really just a formality – an autobiography essay of a candidate for a vacant position in a company? It turns out that it solves three problems at once.
First of all, from the candidate’s autobiography, the employer will learn the basic data required by the personnel department to fill in the employee’s personal card.
Please note that the autobiography contains your personal data, which is protected by law. Even if you do not pass the interview and do not take a vacancy, the HR department must obtain your consent to process and store your personal data.
Secondly, an autobiography in a free form and an autobiography essay allow you to find out the level of your knowledge of the language.
Will the future employee be able to compose a business letter, a service note, or an order in a logical manner? Or will every document written to your boss need to be checked and returned to correct the errors?
Thirdly, the autobiography will tell the potential employer what the resume will not say, namely: in what environment the employee grew up, was brought up, and formed both as a person and as a professional. Far from being superfluous information, but asking about this in an interview is not always appropriate.
Pick an exciting story. It is best to tell the story that is unforgettable to you. Keep in mind that you need to talk about a special moment of your life, and not about all the years. To describe your entire life, you might need a book for more than one hundred pages. Instead, select a topic for which a detailed coverage will be sufficient for the size of the essay. In addition, you can take into the account the following:
- Achievements – winning a contest, getting a job, or leaving high school
- A test – a difficult subject, a trauma, or loss of someone you loved
- Essential experience – the appearance of a hobby, getting to know a best friend, or relaxing in the camp
The objective of paper. Why do you write an autobiographical essay? Why do you want to tell this story? What purpose do you pursue?
- If your essay is an attachment to the resume, then carefully read all the specifications. If the statement has an indication or a question that needs an answer, then your essay must include a comprehensive answer to it.
- If it is a part of your homework, then read its specifications. Ensure that the chosen story matches the assignment. If you are not sure about something, ask the questions that you are interested in.
The target readers. Consider those who will read your essay, as well as the expectations and needs of your readers before writing. Do a summary sketch of the facts about readers who should be kept in mind while writing the essay.
- In the case of the appendix to the application, think about what it is important to know about you to the potential reader.
- In the case of homework, try to anticipate the expectations of the teacher.
Consider the possible ideas. Before writing an essay, you should consider possible arguments and make notes. This will assist you to compose a list of arguments, writing style, grouping, and listing questions.
- List of statements. Make a list of available ideas on your essay, then browse the list, and combine similar arguments. Then extend the list by supplementing new opinions or through other options.
- Free writing style. For 10 minutes, write down whatever comes to mind without changing anything in the text. Reread the written. Highlight or emphasize the most useful information for your autobiography. Repeat the procedure, using as a starting point the passages that you emphasized. Repeat as many times as necessary to get to the right ideas.
- Grouping. Briefly write down the explanation of the topic of your essay in the center of the sheet of paper and circle it. Draw three or more arrows from the circle. Near each arrow write companion ideas. Continue expanding your group until you create as many connections as possible.
- A list of questions. On a piece of paper, write “Who? What? When? Where? What for? How?” Between the questions, leave a gap of a couple of lines to fit the answers. Try to give a detailed answer to each of the questions.
Create a plan. Transferring some ideas to paper, try to organize them into a plan for a future essay. The essay plan will assist shaping the organization of the entire paper, build existing positions, and recall what you might have missed.
This is the simplest kind of an autobiography. The applicant (often, a new employee of a company) receives sheets with questions to be answered. You do not have to invent anything, you just need to fill in the boxes.
An Autobiography Written in a Free Style
Unlike the questionnaire, an autobiography in a free style leaves you some room for improvisation. Of course, lying in an autobiography, as in a resume, is strictly prohibited. But you can put accents in different ways.
The autobiography, like the resume, is each time re-created for a specific vacancy. And its purpose is to show that you are the best candidate for a vacant position.
The structure of an autobiography in a free style can include the following:
- Place and date of birth (you should start with this).
- The family you grew up in. It will be enough to indicate the names of the parents (or those who brought you up), their professions, special merits, and the place of residence.
- School. As a rule, you don’t need to write a lot here. It is enough to indicate the school number and profile of the training.
- College and university. You should dwell on this information in more detail, if they were the starting point of your profession. You should write the name of the institution, faculty, and specialty. Theme of the thesis is relevant if you work in your specialty.
- Complete trainings, seminars, and courses in chronological order.
- Service in the army is relevant for men.
- Career. Unlike the resume, where it is customary to report the last three jobs you had, starting with the last one, the autobiography will have to describe your entire professional path from the very beginning. Think thoroughly about where and what accents to place and what achievements to indicate.
- Your family. It will be enough to have the surname and name of the husband (wife), the date of his (her) birth and profession, the number of children and their age.
- Your social life and hobbies.
In most cases (unless you are applying to be a journalist, copywriter or art director), the requirement to write an autobiographical essay is often the whim of a HR. However, while looking for a job, even engineers, methodologists, and sales managers might be asked to write an essay. A copywriter or a journalist can easily cope with this task, it is their profession. For everyone else, writing an essay becomes a long and painful procedure.
Topics for essay applicants usually do not differ in variety and are mostly about the following:
- Why did I choose this profession?
- Why am I more qualified for this position than other candidates?
- What do I want to achieve when working in this company?
Structure of the Autobiographical Essay
- Option number 1. You write a standard autobiography in a free style, at the end decorating it with a small composition.
- Option number 2. You write an autobiography essay, placing elements of the essay throughout the text, tying this or that thesis to the main events of your life.
The text itself should be constructed according to the following scheme:
- Your statement, the main idea.
- Argumentation of the main idea. Ideally, you should give three arguments, arranging them in order of the greatest importance.
- Confirmation of the main idea.
As you can see, the structure of the autobiography, composed in a free style, and the autobiographical essay, as a rule, is chronological. Its size is relatively free, but do not be too zealous: if the text takes more than two pages, think about whether you can remove something.
The Main Mistakes in Writing Autobiographies
- The discrepancy with the resume. This is the most common mistake. Such unpleasant nuances do not adorn the future candidate at all and force one to excuse themselves, instead of conducting a constructive professional dialogue at the interview.
- Lies. You can’t lie neither in the resume, nor in the autobiography.
- Too much specifics. It is not necessary to include in the autobiography topics of essays and courseworks your wrote, your sports achievements, biographies of pets, and the like. Include only what matters to your future work.
- Philosophy. Don’t turn your autobiography into a philosophical treatise.
- Confession. Do not turn the soul inside out and report too personal information about yourself. Autobiography is not a document where intimate confessions are appropriate.
Remember that your autobiography is your advertising material, your presentation.