Why you need an essay when applying for a job

An essay is a free-form essay that expresses and argues the author’s position on any issue. Although the essay is mostly associated with literature classes at school or homework at the university, some people write it when applying for a job. An essay for an employer is an additional way to evaluate a potential employee. All because of the high competition in the labor market: when there are many excellent candidates around, you need to identify the best of the best. With the help of an essay, the employer also evaluates the candidate’s communication skills: the ability to write a competent business letter, the ability to clearly express and argue their thoughts.

Essay topic

The essay topic can be free or offered by the employer. It is selected so that the candidate shows through the text his personal qualities, professional ambitions, vision of himself as a specialist, level of competence in a particular issue, creativity, if we are talking about creative professions, or other skills and abilities. For example, an employer might suggest the following topics:

  • Me and my career
  • What else should we know about you as a candidate?
  • My life goals;
  • Tell us how you overcame life’s difficulties;
  • What attracted you to work in our company?

The most important rule of an essay is to write about what is interesting to you. If the text is written through force, then it will most likely not be easy to read it. However, when the author is passionate about the topic, he selects the best wording, more convincing arguments and the most striking examples.

When choosing a topic, you can focus on:

  • Events: “A turning point in my career”, “The event that determined my professional path”;
  • Situations: “Difficulties that I had to face on my professional path”, “A situation that made me look at my profession in a new way”;
  • Experiences: “How the professional crisis affected me”, “How I experience professional victories / defeats”;
  • People: “The person who influenced my choice of profession”, “My professional idol”;
  • Dreams, aspirations: “My professional ambitions”, “How I see myself in the profession in ten years”;
  • Results: “Achievements that I am proud of”, “What benefit do I bring to the world with my work?”;
  • Values: “My professional mission”, “Why did I choose the teaching profession?”.

Essay structure

The essay consists of three parts – introduction, body and conclusion. An essay always contains a thesis – the main idea, the position of the author. The thesis can be at the beginning of the essay, if the author already has a point of view on this problem, or in the conclusion, if he comes to it as a result of reasoning. Any thesis must be supported by two or three arguments. Arguments in turn should be illustrated with two or three examples. General outline of the essay:


The task of the introduction is to capture the reader’s attention: to ask an exciting question, to confront him with a paradox, a contradiction. The introduction should intrigue the reader so that he could not resist reading the rest of the text. Consider an example of an introduction for an essay on the topic “My professional path”: “I am a hereditary lawyer with more than 10 years of experience. Advocacy is my vocation: I have devoted my whole life to improving my professional skills.” This is a trivial and flat introduction, which is built on clichés like “my vocation”, “hereditary lawyer”. In addition, it is dry – it has bare facts and general words, but there is no interesting story and “voluminous” hero.

Here is an example of a more interesting intro: “When I was celebrating a decade since the beginning of my career in the legal profession a week ago, one of my classmates remembered that after law school I wanted to become anything but a lawyer. I was surprised to realize that it was true – my parents sent me to law school to continue the family business, which did not interest me at all. I would like to see the face of that twenty-year-old guy, if he knew that all his further professional searches, full of ups and downs, would lead him exactly where he started from – to the bar.” This introduction could have been written by the same person, but it is fundamentally different from the first example: it has a story and intrigue: the secret of the hero’s professional transformation is hidden from us. The introduction should look like a puzzle, in which there is not enough detail or something does not fit, and this puzzle can be “assembled” only if you read the text to the end.

Statement of the thesis

The thesis is the main idea of ​​the author, expressed in one or more sentences. The statement of the thesis is the formulation of the main idea of ​​the text, which is consistent with the question posed or the given topic. If the verifier had asked: “What is the main idea of ​​this text?”, then the thesis would have been the answer. It is important to remember that a thesis is not an objective truth, not a proven fact, but a subjective opinion that can always be argued with. An example of a thesis for an essay on the topic “What is my professional vocation?”: “I do not believe that the vocation is given to us from above: we choose it for ourselves.”

Errors in the formulation of the thesis

Thesis in the form of a question. To put forward a thesis means to take a certain position. Without it, writing an essay is impossible.
Large volume. The thesis should be capacious, but not take up much space: any thought can be expressed briefly and in simple words. One or two sentences will be enough.
Stamps, cliches. It is necessary to remove hackneyed phrases from the text, such as: “I was born … / since childhood aspired to become …”, “My mission is to make peace in the world”, “… is my vocation” – they make the text unoriginal, stale.
Any assertion must have a basis. The basis for the thesis is the arguments. One paragraph should be devoted to one argument and examples to it. Examples include personal experience and, if appropriate, references to statistics, forecasts, studies. However, usually in an essay for a job, you need to focus on your own professional experience.

Errors in argumentation

Argument repetition. Arguments must be varied – you cannot build a proof on one argument.
Inconsistency. Only those thoughts that have already been expressed in the text should be argued, and examples should be given strictly to the corresponding arguments.
The purpose of the conclusion is to summarize the reasoning. To do this, you need to briefly reformulate the thesis if it was at the beginning of the work or put it if the author decided to place it after the arguments.

Errors in conclusion

New Arguments. The conclusion sums up the reasoning, but does not develop it. There is no place for new information in the conclusion.
Text retelling. There is no need to describe the structure of the written work and literally repeat what was written above – if the reader has reached the conclusion, then he has already read all this.