Halfway through the semester – it’s time to apply for another internship! (you may refer to a previous article of ours: Everything you need to know about Online Internships for our guide for online internships) Are you confused as to what is the difference between a Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and Statement of Purpose (SOP)? They all have a similar purpose – to help you highlight your skills to get an internship, but there is a slight difference in terms of how you frame your accomplishments.
A CV is the overview of your education and experience, a Cover Letter is an eye-catcher, which makes the recruiter look at your CV. On the other hand, an SOP is looked at by the recruiter once you’re shortlisted for the position. While a Cover Letter helps you sell yourself, an SOP expresses your goals, desires, and value.
Now that you know the difference between the three, let’s dive in on how to dazzle your interviewers with a neat and attractive SOP:
Format your SOP properly
Start with the firm or organisation’s address at the top left corner and introduce yourself with your Name, Year, Course, University, Residential Address, etc.
Do not repeat the contents of your CV
They ask for both CV and SOP separately for a reason. The reviewer will think you are unprofessional if you repeat the same things. Remember that they already know what is written in your CV since they are asking you for an SOP after shortlisting you after going through your CV.
Highlight special skills
Similar to our article on internship applications (click here!) tailor your SOP to fit the internship. Don’t ramble on about public policy research experience for a tax law internship. If you are applying to a legal NGO, make sure you mention social service initiatives you’ve taken up and if it’s a firm, mention the types of cases you’ve worked on.
Do not use bullet points
Listing out your achievements one after the other defeats the purpose of an SOP. You need to highlight your achievements using attractive language, and let your grammar and vocabulary skills shine through the page.
Mention what you have learnt from past internships
This helps show that you can fulfil the internship’s responsibilities and manage various responsibilities. Example: With this internship at XYZ, I learnt trademark reporting and other IPR skills. This would help me assist in the tasks this firm has.
Bonus: To stand out from the rest, mention courses you’ve completed in the area of the firm’s specialisation.
Don’t waste time beating around the bush
After introducing yourself, start with all you have achieved. Stating university events you’ve organised and participated in, catches the attention of the reader. They have so many applications to review. Don’t wait till the 3rd or 4th paragraph to talk about your accomplishments.
Add a lot of contact information
The more, the better. Provide your phone number, address, e-mail address, Linkedin profile URL, and WhatsApp number if different from your phone number. This helps the firm contact you faster. If their email is not working by any chance, they could at least quickly call you. Remain reachable as much as possible, otherwise, they’ll move on to the next candidate.
Take your time, review your draft before sending it
The first version usually is not free from errors. If you feel it is satisfactory, and can’t find any mistakes, ask a senior or a friend to review it. An outside eye helps catch mistakes you would miss out on your own.
Likewise, with your internship application, proofread before sending it. Remain confident, but humble. You are not the worst candidate, but not the best either. You might not be the best, but are willing to become the best by improve constantly. (You may see: Tips For Writing An Effective Internship Application)
Less is more
Remember to keep it about 500 words only, unless the word limit is specifically given. It is advisable to keep your statement for about 3-4 paragraphs. No reviewer has the time to read pages and pages of stories. Keep it precise, sharp, and to the point.
End with a closing remark
After highlighting your accomplishments, end it with a hopeful but appropriate greeting. Example: “I am excited about the possibility of speaking with you further about this outstanding opportunity with your organisation. Thank you for your time and consideration. Yours Sincerely, XYZ.”
Imbibe the above-mentioned tips, and you shall surely stand out. All the best!
About the Author: Anjali Baskar is from School of Law, Christ University. Her interests in law include Public Policy, ADR/ODR, Criminal Law, IPR/Entertainment Law, etc.