Updated: Mar 1
What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP) ?
Before we hop onto the tips and tricks to writing an SOP, let us first understand what it precisely means. A Statement of Purpose simply is a document comprising of instructions as to how a particular task has to be approached and completed. It could be for any given task, for a recipe, for reaching a particular destination, for corporate projects etc. now, since it is a set of directions, it is presumed that it is usually issued for the purpose of achieving perfection in the stipulated task. Writing an SOP can be a strenuous task. But, here are certain tips you can include in your writing to make it a cakewalk!
Certain Tips For Writing Stellar SOP -
1. Precision is the key -
Any set of instructions requires rapt attention. But, unnecessary including in words in between sentences distracts the mind from the actual meaning of the SOP. Thus, using simple language and small, concise stets would make the instructions seem easy and doable.
2. Mention the purpose in the very beginning -
It so happens that at times, people who read the SOP, might not have an idea of what it is about primarily, this might lead to confusion and doubt. It is therefore absolutely important that the main purpose of the SOP is mentioned ether as the header or in the initial lines itself. It would create a rough framework in the mind of the reader, making things clear and intelligible.
3. Table of contents -
Now, the same SOP might be read by different groups of people, some of them might know the purpose and some other nuances beforehand, and thus reading the entire SOP would take-in inessential time and labour. Listing down an index or table of contents would be useful. The reader would have the ease of turning back and reading a certain part again, without much difficulty, so, table of contents is a must.
4. Empathy makes it better -
Writing an SOP, with lots of jargon might make it look formal and professional, but, as mentioned above, many might be new to the entire concept. An SOP must be accommodative, it must be easy to understand for as many people as possible. Placing yourself in the shoes of the reader while composing the document would give you an idea of how the words, sentences and chalk - talk should be.
5. The simpler, the better-
Ensure that while writing an SOP, you have a rough draft at hand. Jotting down the main instructions in the draft would be great. But, the actual SOP, should have both the main pointers as well as sub-pointers. Breaking down one big step further into smaller points is a practice that would make the SOP detailed and comprehensible and would also reduce the scope of any misunderstandings and confusion. The beauty of an SOP lies in its simplicity.
6. Word play -
Using the right words that fit a particular space is of utmost importance. When giving someone instructions, the tone of the writing must be affirmative. Try to avoid using words like “may”, “can” and “could”, unless an instruction is avoidable. These portray a sense of “optional” instruction, additionally, these words also create confusion with regard to the task at hand. Instead, use confirmative words such as “should” and “must”.
7. Chalk out the responsibilities -
There’s a single SOP for everyone, which usually creates ambiguity about responsibilities, many instructions, in that case, get relegated. Mentioning the deputation of responsibilities is a prudent step. Mentioning it under a separate header along with the relevant pages is one of the most important things to keep in mind.
Along with the aforementioned instructions, you can always go through a model SOP for better clarity and understanding. With so many start-ups and corporates popping-up, SOP writing is a skill that has become an integral part of day-to-day procedures. Keeping these pointers in mind while writing it, would definitely give you an edge over others.