Personal Reflection Essay

Display your power base through personal achievements    

One of the main purposes of a portfolio is to communicate to others (college admissions counselors, prospective employers, etc.) who you are and why you would be a good fit for their school or workplace. A great way to do this is to write a personal reflection essay or personal statement in which you write about who you are and why you have chosen this career path. (If your desired career is different from your HCC program, write about that. The purpose of the portfolio is to help you land your dream job, not graduate from a program.)


Please write a 1-2 page essay in which you address the following: 

      ● Your background (experience in the field, what made you want to do this, what you  would bring to the job) 

● Your career goals 

● What is interesting or unique about you and your story? 

● Details of your life that will influence your career path 

Most importantly, be honest but tactful. Really think about why you want to do what you want to  do and then express it in a mature way. Your audience isn’t your instructor, it is the admissions  counselors or prospective employers mentioned above.  

Here are some guidelines that might help you as you write your personal essay. Remember that  your writing should be concise (short and to the point) and specific. Try to avoid generalizations  and cliches. 

I. Introduction – Past 

How did you become interested in this field?  

Try starting by describing an early memory which shows this interest. (For example, I might  start by describing how much I enjoyed a miniature classroom chalkboard that I was given  as a birthday gift when I was 5 and how I immediately began “teaching” my stuffed animals,  pets and little brother.) 

Who supported you in pursuing this goal? (Who was your strongest supporter? Why? Is  there a connection?) 

II. Body paragraph – Present 

How are you pursuing this interest now? 

What have you done inside and outside of school to increase your knowledge and skills in  this area?

What have you learned? 

Is there a particular area of this field that you enjoy most? What is it? 

III. Conclusion – Future 

What are your goals for the future?  

How do you plan to further your involvement in this specialty? 

Reflect back on your time at the Hannaford Career Center. What activities, events, and  learning experiences were most influential in setting your future goals? How has your experience at the Hannaford Career Center affected/changed you?

Pro Tips

I. Introduction: Start with a quote or a joke.  

        Here's a fun essay launch with Culinary Arts jokes:

        Begin in the middle of action, with a quote or or bit of dialogue.  Bring the reader into the essay by letting the viewer ¨see" what you are talking about.  

        Is there something someone has said to you that started or influenced this journey?

II. Body Paragraph (s) Take five! (Bring in the five Wś and the Five senses)

        Where can you bring the reader into the action?  How can the reader ¨see¨ the essay? 

        Incorporate the five senses: Sight, Taste, Smell, Touch, Sound  
        Can you use the STAR (situation/task/action/result) method for recounting a story?  

        Use the five Ws to tell the story: Who, What, Where, When, Why

        If it is hard to recall something you HAVE done in the program, pick a STAR from this week as a typical ´day in the life' of your program.

III.  Conclusion Write to potential audiences: your future self, a future employer, your parents, your peers, a college counselor, younger siblings, future students in the program, etc.  Connect yourself to your audience, the topic, the larger scheme of things, the industry, your future, etc.  Write a ta-duh! sentence.  

Helpful Links:
OWL at Purdue

Penelope Wade,
Feb 28, 2022, 11:05 AM
Penelope Wade,
Feb 28, 2022, 11:05 AM
May 30, 2012, 10:09 AM