How many times are you expected to or do you wish to write something really good? May it be documentation of a technical process, inviting colleagues for a fun event, dropping a mail for a leave or articulation in the form of a blog post! Writing is really an inevitable part of our life.
Now, the thing is that we have Google! This real and virtual world where everyone is helpful and gives us data to conveniently copy-paste! So, we can do the same when it comes to copying an invitation or in any other such circumstance.
However, what happens when you are asked to write about yourself? Err, how many have you been asked to? Or let’s take an interview. Academic or professional, there must have been one statement that must have been posed for sure: “Tell me about yourself.”
Where it started for me to think about writing is my current pursuit. I am trying to get an admission in a university to pursue my M.S. in the United States. There, one of the most important documents is the Statement of Purpose, more commonly known by the abbreviated term, SOP!
Now the SOP is a really important document to understand you. Now what I have generally observed in most samples lying around is that a student has facts. Facts about academics, achievements, and aspirations. These facts are put together in the SOP. Then what it becomes is just a collaboration of all the important information in one’s life. It, therefore, lacks flow!
Not only that! SOP is the most time taking document of all. Self-analysis, ironically, takes more time than any other research in the entire world, studies say! And so I have observed. It may be the most interesting and the most tiring process of all. And for a few souls out there, it never ceases to be clueless!
Write about me? Ah, that’s simple!
For a toastmaster, it pretty much feels like the Ice breaker speech of his journey.
However, the thing is that it is way beyond a general introduction. Your readers may remember your name and a few key facts you’ve mentioned if you capture their eye. But if you succeed in engrossing and captivating their senses, you’re sold.
I’ll be honest. I am still in the process of writing and re-writing my SOP. But, I’ve observed certain catches there are to writing about yourself! Read them and the better you write, the more confident you would be, even while speaking about them.
Think about the qualities in you that makes you most interesting and appealing to yourself! No, really do. It is the most important. Pen down these thoughts. These are your strengths, the characteristics in you that make you, shape you! All these when combined, becomes your Unique Selling Point.
Think about each strength and try to remember an incident, a sort of proof, that backs it up. This definitely is an original piece.
2. Questions, Questions, Questions!
When you meet someone new, you’d have a few questions. You’d want to know what that person really is. Taking it a step further, put yourself in the person’s shoes to whom you’re writing the statement/document about yourself. If you were to recruit someone in your organisation or academic institution, what would you want to know about that person?
Note these questions. Give them priority. For example, the question about hobbies might be one of the most important questions that can be asked to know a person. This can be prioritised on the top. Among other questions relevant to your purpose, of course.
Finally, you can prune away the questions which are not very relevant to the reason to this whole meet. When you have the questions, start answering them! These answers will shape your personality which, if written in an organised manner, can make most of it.
3. Tell a story!
I’ve come to know that story telling is one of the 3 most captivating ways to engage a reader; others being posing a strong statement and asking a question. When you write about yourself, asking a question doesn’t really have a relevance and posing a strong statement won’t help because conviction during vocal delivery needs to bolster the strength and that just can’t be done when you write. So, keeping the emotions out of the picture, the best way to make the readers really want to continue is to start by a story about yourself.
It may be an incident, a conversation, your thought-process or anything! Tell a story with a twisty start and have a moral to the story. This moral should be relevant to what you are going to say about yourself. An incident that made you fall in love with reading books, due to which you feel you’re good at researching with a lot of data or retaining information on your head for a long time! This way, the chain of facts of your write-up will be started. And a start is definitely half job done!
4. Make it personal.
Yes, a write-up about you is the most personal document that can be publicly displayed. It portrays your character, your inner-self. It might be the only medium to show a certain set of people who you really are!
So, rather than looking for what information people put on their SOPs or other write-ups, make yours personal. Get an idea, an outline. And finally, put your personal touch to it. While there might be a format such as Introduction, Body, Conclusion; no personal statement such as SOP has a format of what aspect of a person’s life is to be focused at. Therefore, be free. Write as you wish!
While Euphemism may be looked at as diplomacy, it is an essential aspect of articulating negative or not-so-healthy thoughts and statements. When someone reads about you, you definitely do not want the other person to flow into his/her emotions. Euphemism can keep harshness out of the content and negative emotions of readers in check.
Do not use direct statements. Check whether a polite manner of putting the same is possible. It will make a huge difference.
6. Proof read – 1, 2,.. a number of times
Ask your friends, colleagues, family members, with different backgrounds and different age groups to read what you have written. A diverse set of perspectives will enhance your content. Your eye can only see 270 degrees of things around you, that includes peripheral vision. No matter how much you try, getting a holistic view is difficult. Therefore, take help from experts and from layman people.
Your statement should be readable by all, understandable by any and appreciated by many.
7. Don’t overthink.
You’ve started your SOP with a quote that inspires you. Now, in the course of time, there is another quote that does the same job. Thinking and trying to fit something better in place of a thing is alright. However, investing too much time unnecessarily and modifying the entire content based on it is not so wise. The two quotations might give two totally different morales, thereby revealing two different aspects about your life.
Never take the risk of just replacing one quote by other. It will be easily caught and undoubtedly repelled.
8. Read, Like and Re-write!
You have a document on yourself now. Now the most important question you ask yourself is this:
Is this document interesting to me?
Most likely, the answer would be a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ or that few parts are interesting in the document. That means that you need to work on it again and again. Trust me, it is not an easy process.
And finally when the answer is yes, well done! Pat yourself on your back and celebrate. You deserve it! 🙂