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How to Write an Essay for a Prospective Employer

by Oubria Tronshaw

If you're on the lookout for a new job, research the most common employment essay application topics and start practicing. Many employers now require applicants to hand over a writing sample or themed essay to prove they have the right communication skills. Of course the essay is in addition to submitting an application, cover letter and resume. Prove to prospective employers -- and yourself -- that you're up to the challenge.

Topic

When writing an essay for a prospective employer, study the topic carefully before you begin. While some employers will assign general essay topics like, “Why do you want to work here?” or “What are your career goals?", others will ask for answers to very specific questions, like “Tell me about your management style,” or “How do you deal with conflict?” Keep in mind that potential employers are not simply investigating your writing style or skill level, they are also trying to find out whether you’d make a suitable employee -- which often depends on your ability to follow instructions. Pay close attention to formatting and length requirements as well.

Plan Your Essay

Potential employers want polished essays, not the first paragraphs that fly off the top of your head. Organize and structure your ideas first before putting them in essay form. Remember, this is a formal essay, not a stream of consciousness on paper. Since jobs typically require you to communicate regularly through writing, use your essay to prove that can express yourself in an articulate, careful, professional manner. Follow the format of a formal essay as closely as possible -- that means an introductory paragraph, three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion.

Use Examples

Throughout your essay, use the advice of your middle school math teacher -- always show your work. It’s not enough to say, “I’m a hard worker with a stellar record and I’m excited about possibly working for this company.” Back up each of your statements with hard evidence. Each sentence that introduces new information should be followed by a clearly illustrated example.

Too Much Information

As much as possible, keep your essay focused on your professional experiences. Although you may be a better person for some of the hardships you’ve endured, your prospective employer doesn’t want your life story. If it isn’t about professional or educational experiences -- as touching as the tale might be -- leave it out.

Proofread

Before handing in your essay, proofread it for grammar, spelling, structure and content to double-check that you’ve actually said what you meant to say. Turing in an essay full of errors will reflect poorly on your prospective potential as an employee.

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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