How To Write a Profile (With Template and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for a job as a writer, some recruiters might ask you to share examples of your work on personal profiles. This is an important document that emphasises your writing skills to potential employers. Understanding how to write a profile can help you share more interesting insights about your career background, interests and ambitions. In this article, we discuss what a personal profile is and how to write a profile with a template and example for your reference.

Related: Why Writing Skills Are Important and How To Improve Them

What is a profile?

A profile is a professional document about a person's background, skills and experiences. You can think of it as a personal story, whereby people share what interests them about their profession, their future ambitions and their journey so far. In a job application, this writing exercise can help recruiters get to know you on a personal level.

Sometimes companies may hire a professional to write a profile piece about them for a magazine, newspaper or relevant publication. Usually, journalists select inspiring leaders to interview because they have interesting stories that could motivate their readers. In this type of profile, the writer conducts a one-on-one interview with the candidate and creates a factual profile based on solid research.

Related: How To Write a CV Profile

How to write a profile

When you write a profile, it's important to consider the requirements of your recruiter and to introspect on your goals. Since this document can significantly influence an employer's impression of you, it's best to take time out to think through your points. The following is a guide on how to write a personal profile:

1. Review other profiles for inspiration

Before attempting to write your own profile, research in-depth interviews and profile pieces online to gain a deeper understanding of this style of writing. Identify pieces that touch you on a personal level. Analyse them with a detailed eye to determine what the writer or interviewer does correctly. Notice how they're able to make their subject feel comfortable and open up to them about intimate details. Put together a list of your learning outcomes you can refer to regularly. This technique can help you enhance your writing skills and improve your interview skills.

2. Determine your primary objectives

Establish the purpose of your profile so that you can brainstorm relevant people to interview. Think about a subject matter that interests you and the current affairs topics that your readers want to know more about. Based on this information, think about relevant industry leaders that you can interview. Contact them personally to schedule an interview with them. Remember to gather some research on your candidate and plan a few key interview questions before you meet them.

3. Interview your subject

The key to a good interview is your ability to build a rapport with your subject so that they feel comfortable opening up to you. Begin your interview with a few friendly questions to get to know them in greater detail. Starting with simple and easy question also helps your interviewee relax. Once you establish trust and respect with your subject, you can begin to ask more challenging questions. However, always remember to be polite and patient with them.

Employing good listening skills, such as summarising sentences and maintaining eye-contact ensures that you don't misinterpret their answers. Avoid interrupting your subject and give them time to formulate their answers so that they feel heard and appreciated. At the end of the interview, express your gratitude and answer questions they may have.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

4. Select the most interesting quotes

After your interview, transcribe your conversation into a script so that you can select the most interesting quotes. These quotes will form the basic structure of your profile. Reflect on your conversation with your subject to remind yourself about the stories that surprised or intrigued you. Often, these stories are the ones that may appeal most to your readership. If you need to edit your interviewee's answers to improve their clarity, make sure you represent them accurately.

5. Create an outline

Structure your quotes so that it tells an interesting yet logical story. Think about an inverted pyramid structure, that highlights the most interesting points at the beginning of your profile and places the minor details towards the end. This outline can act as a guide as you write. It ensures you include all the relevant information and can help you stay on track.

6. Write an engaging introduction

It's important to engage the reader from the start with a compelling introduction. Your first few sentences should establish your story angle. This way, readers can decide whether to continue reading your profile. Usually, profiles have a flexible writing style. This means you can employ narrative techniques, such as metaphors and similes, to intrigue the reader. It's a great way to show your creative skills, especially if you intend to include your profile stories in your work portfolio.

7. Tell a story

Good profiles have a beginning, middle and end. A narrative writing style can help connect the points in your article. Employing descriptive writing techniques can further enhance its readability and intrigue. You can think of your subject as the main character of your story and allow their journey to unfold through your prose. This way, you can illustrate their challenges, successes and motivations.

8. Remember show, don't tell

An important writing technique is to rely on your words to describe a scene using sensory details. Your intention should be to immerse your audience within the scene. This way, they can feel more connected to your story, especially the person whose profile it's about. You can also use a first-person narrative voice to further build this relationship.

Personal profile template

A personal profile template is a useful tool that you can use when writing out your job applications. Here's a basic template that you can use as a reference:

[Headline: a captivating title that establishes the story angle of your profile in 12 words or less]

[Introduction: a paragraph that introduces your subject and puts your story angle in context]

[Main body: discuss a new point for each new paragraph using quotes as evidence for your argument and a concluding sentence that links back to your story angle]

[Conclusion: explain how the topic relates back to the reader and conclude with an interesting observation that makes the reader ponder further on the subject]

Personal profile example

The following are an example of an impactful personal profile for a professional with a mathematics background you can use to improve your writing skills:

Dr Tracy Lam on the mystery that's mathematics

"One good way to create a bit of drama at the dinner party table is to say that I'm a math professor. If anyone responds at all, you can guarantee it's to say, 'I hated math.' Then silence follows until someone attempts to change the subject.” Dr Tracy Lam, Professor of Mathematics at Hong Kong University, laughs as she shares her observation. She goes on to stress that she loves teaching and research, despite the lack of enthusiasm she encounters from her friends. Discussing it with students is another matter and she strives to stay “aware of which points in a discussion are going to be hard for the students to understand.”

Prof. Lam brought an impressive educational history with her when he joined the HKU faculty in the early 2000s. After graduating as valedictorian from her high school in Kowloon, she attended the Baptist University of Hong Kong. Before graduating with honours from BUHK, she was accepted at Harvard University, the foremost place in the world for research into Prof. Lam's area of interest: partial differential equations. Here she worked under the award-winning mathematician, Prof. Ruby Chan. After obtaining her Ph.D. from BUHK, she returned to Hong Kong to pursue post-doctoral work at HKU with Prof. John Yip, a world-renowned applied mathematician.

Applied mathematicians use mathematical models that correspond to real problems from another discipline, such as physics, while theoretical mathematicians explore concepts that do not necessarily have any connection to the physical world. Prof. Lam, for example, uses partial differential equations to study how magnetic fields affect superconductors. Unlike most professors, who clearly align themselves in one speciality, Prof. Lam “enjoys exploring the link” between applied work and theory. While she uses applications to help propel her research, she feels drawn to the theoretical side. “For me, the aesthetic is important. I put a really high premium on elegance.”

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