An Easy Guide to MLA Format for Comparison Essays

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An Easy Guide to MLA Format for Comparison Essays

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Setting up the Format in MLA Format
  3. Creating the Title and Introductory Paragraph
  4. Outlining the Thesis Statement and Main Ideas
    • 4.1 Aspect 1: Education
    • 4.2 Aspect 2: Income
    • 4.3 Aspect 3: Work Environment
  5. Writing the Conclusion
  6. Formatting the Works Cited Page

Setting up an Outline for a Career Comparison Essay

In order to get started with your career comparison essay, you need to open a standard Word document and set up the format in MLA format. This article will guide you through the process step by step, ensuring that you have a well-structured and organized essay. Let's dive in!

1. Introduction

The introduction sets the tone for your essay and captures the reader's attention. It consists of the hook, background information, and the thesis statement. The hook should be an interesting statement related to the two careers you'll be comparing. It can be a personal anecdote or a thought-provoking question. The background information provides context and sets the stage for the thesis statement, which states the purpose of the essay and the three aspects you'll be comparing.

2. Setting up the Format in MLA Format

Before diving into the outline, it's important to ensure that your document is formatted correctly in MLA style. Use Times New Roman 12-point font and double spacing. Remove any extra line spaces and set the paragraph settings to zero. These formatting guidelines are essential for a professional-looking essay.

3. Creating the Title and Introductory Paragraph

The title of your essay is the first opportunity you have to grab the reader's attention. Make it creative, original, and compelling. The introductory paragraph should start with a gentle and general sentence, followed by the hook. Bridge the hook to the thesis statement by providing some context or background information. Finally, state your thesis, which should explain why you chose to compare these two careers and what three aspects you'll be focusing on.

4. Outlining the Thesis Statement and Main Ideas

Now it's time to create the outline for your essay. Start with the thesis statement and then move on to the main ideas that correspond to the three aspects you mentioned in the thesis. Each main idea should have a topic sentence that introduces the aspect and briefly explains how it will be compared. Provide details, such as quotations from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, to support your comparison. Remember to transition smoothly from one career to the next.

4.1 Aspect 1: Education

In this section, delve into the educational requirements and opportunities for both careers. Highlight any similarities or differences between the two careers in terms of the education needed to succeed. Provide specific examples and evidence to back up your claims. Discuss the significance of education in the respective fields and how it shapes the path to success.

4.2 Aspect 2: Income

The second aspect to be compared is the income potential of the two careers. Explore the average salaries, growth opportunities, and factors that may affect earning potential in each field. Discuss whether the two careers have similar income prospects or if there are significant differences. Analyze the importance of income when choosing a career and how it can impact one's overall job satisfaction.

4.3 Aspect 3: Work Environment

Next, focus on the work environment of the two careers. Discuss the physical and social aspects of each work setting. Are they similar or distinct? Consider factors such as job flexibility, work-life balance, and the overall atmosphere in each profession. Highlight any unique attributes that make one career more appealing in terms of work environment.

5. Writing the Conclusion

The concluding paragraph provides closure to your essay and reinforces your thesis statement. Restate your thesis in a reworded form and briefly summarize the main points you made throughout the essay. Emphasize the significance of the three aspects you compared and their relevance to choosing a career. Finally, address the "so what" question by explaining the overall importance or implications of your findings.

6. Formatting the Works Cited Page

To complete your essay, include a works cited page that follows MLA formatting guidelines. List all the sources you referenced in your essay, including the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Ensure that all citations are properly formatted, including the article title, publisher (U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics), date of publication, and URL if applicable. Use hanging indentations for each citation to maintain consistency.

By following this outline and incorporating your research and insights, you'll be able to create an informative and well-structured career comparison essay that engages your reader and showcases your analytical skills. Good luck!


  • Learn how to set up your career comparison essay in MLA format
  • Create a captivating title and introductory paragraph that grabs the reader's attention
  • Outline the thesis statement and main ideas to provide a clear structure for your essay
  • Explore three important aspects of the careers you're comparing: education, income, and work environment
  • Use evidence, such as quotations from reputable sources like the Occupational Outlook Handbook, to support your comparisons
  • Write a compelling conclusion that summarizes your findings and addresses the overall importance of your research
  • Follow MLA guidelines for formatting your works cited page to provide proper credit to your sources


Q: How do I choose the two careers to compare in my essay?

A: When selecting the two careers, consider your personal interests, future goals, and areas of curiosity. Choose careers that you find compelling and would like to gain a deeper understanding of.

Q: Can I use personal experiences in my essay?

A: Absolutely! Personal experiences can add depth and relevance to your essay. Feel free to incorporate anecdotes or examples from your own life that demonstrate your connection to the careers being compared.

Q: How should I gather information for the essay?

A: Start by conducting research on the two careers using reputable sources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, industry publications, and professional websites. Take notes and gather statistics, facts, and insights to support your comparisons.

Q: Are there any other formatting requirements besides MLA style?

A: While MLA style is primarily used for the text and citation formatting, ensure that your essay is well-organized with clear headings and subheadings. Use appropriate font styles and sizes for readability, and proofread thoroughly for any grammar or spelling errors.

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