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College students, job seekers or professionals looking to advance their careers may be called upon at some point to write a self-assessment and reflection paper. This type of essay poses a challenge, as the point is for the potential employer or professor both to critique your writing skill as well as to get a feel for how you see yourself. When writing this type of essay, be honest and critical, but also showcase your strengths and assert confidence in yourself.
Write a list of personal questions you would ask a potential employee if you were on the hiring committee. A few examples include: "what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses," "describe an event at work where you faced a particularly difficult task and how you handled it," or "looking back on your previous job, what would you do differently now?" Aim to have the "employee" both critique his own performance and reflect on changes he would make.
Answer the questions you wrote in Step 1. Be as honest and thorough as possible; not everything you write here must make it into your paper. This will serve as a reference and source of ideas for you as you write the essay.
Write an outline for your self-assessment paper. Include an introduction, one main point for each paragraph, and a conclusion. The main points can be based on your questions divided in any other way you see fit so long as they have a logical flow. Write a short list beneath each main point with a few ideas on expanding that point. Write an anecdote or anything that will help elaborate and explain your point using thoughts you wrote in Step 2.
Write the introduction of your self-assessment paper and explain who you are and what the intent of your essay is. Based on your outline, you may have discovered something about yourself, such as how you get better results when under pressure or work harder when the project involves a bit of creative license. Describe this as the main theme of your assessment in the introduction.
Write a paragraph for each main point in your outline. Your essay should be written in a professional tone that is still your own voice and should be in the first person. Keep the main theme you stated in your introduction in mind as you write.
Write the conclusion and restate your main theme again and why you believe your essay supports that realization about yourself. Add a sentence or two that looks to your future, indicating how you will use this newfound knowledge of yourself as you move forward in your career.
Revise and edit your paper as necessary. Read the essay out loud to be sure it sounds natural and flows well, and make any changes necessary.
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.