A motivation letter is used to introduce yourself to a hiring manager or educational program. Here’s what you need to know to put together a strong motivation letter.
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Sometimes when applying for a job you really want, you have to give the hiring manager a bit more of a personal approach, especially if it’s your first job or you don’t have a lot of direct experience. This is where a motivation letter comes in. A motivation letter focuses on your future goals, current motivations, and past achievements. This one-page document can help convince a recruiter or hiring manager that you are the perfect candidate for the role they need to fill.
Unlike a cover letter, which discusses your skill set, qualifications, and years of experience, a good motivation letter will discuss your interests and personal achievements in order to give the recruiter an idea of what kind of person you are. Below you’ll find information on when the best time to use a motivation letter would be, how to craft a great one, and which template would help you make the best impression.
If you are applying to work with a prestigious non-profit or other volunteer organization, providing a motivation letter with your application could be helpful in securing you a place on the team.
While internships are often unpaid, they are still highly competitive. This is especially true if the position is with a major company like Google or Microsoft. Providing a motivation letter when applying for an internship can help you to stand out from other candidates.
If you lack the kind of professional experience that would be showcased in a cover letter, providing a motivation letter with your resume could increase your chances of securing a job interview.
While you may already have to write a personal statement as a part of the admissions process, a motivation letter may give you an edge. While a personal statement is about convincing the admissions team you are the best candidate for their institution, a motivation letter can focus on what you intend to do after you accomplished your academic goals. For example, if you intend to continue your education to obtain a master’s degree, you could include this goal in your motivation letter.
In order to create the best motivation letter for your situation, you may need to write more than one draft. Remember to give yourself enough time to perfect your letter before you send it, and be sure to proofread the finished copy in order to make a great impression.
Your phone number, email and LinkedIn or professional job networking links should be included in the letter’s header. Start with an appropriate salutation. Address the person by name rather than the more impersonal, “Dear Sir/Dear Madam.” Introduce yourself with your full name, the company name, the job title you are applying to and the reason for your application (otherwise called a statement of purpose).
You can use a three-paragraph letter format or a five to seven-paragraph letter format where the paragraphs are one to three sentences long. Whichever you choose, your first paragraph should hook the attention of the recruiter or admissions committee. If you have five to seven short paragraphs, focusing each one on a different point can be beneficial. Whatever you choose, your letter’s main body should be factual, and concise. Remember to provide examples of your hard work and focus on your greatest strengths and achievements.
Your provided call to action should be motivating the recipient to want to contact you back so indicate that you’re interested in discussing the role further. The goal is to make a good first impression and convince them to follow up with you.
Your closing paragraph should briefly summarize the contents of your letter and reiterate your enthusiasm for the role while tying together the things you have talked about in your letter and thanking the admissions committee or hiring managers for their consideration.
If you want inspiration and guidance for writing motivational letters and other forms of business correspondence, ResumeHelp has informative articles that could be helpful. Also, consider using a letter template. When you combine a well-written motivation letter with the right layout, you have a greater chance to make a good impression on a hiring manager.
Using an easy-to-read font is a must. The standard is Times New Roman but you can use fonts in a similar family like Arial, Georgia or Calibri. It’s also important to keep the font size of your letter between 11 and 12 points. A font size of 10 or lower will be challenging to read.
It’s important to format your letter to business standard or ‘block’ formation, which draws the eye to content over white space. A standard letter is left-justified and single-spaced with a double space between paragraphs. Keep your motivation letter positive and personal, while it is important to include correct industry terms, these should be used sparingly. Recruiters notice formulaic language and if popular terms are thrown in without consideration for the context of your letter.
The side, top, and bottom margins should be one inch all the way around. This spacing and readability doesn’t just translate to visual importance, it also can help you pass established keyword assessments by applicant tracking systems as they are done on letters sent to a company as well as your resume. A standardized template design can also help you maintain standard margins and shows that you can visually reflect the culture of each company.
Once again, the layout of the whole letter should be formatted to the convenience of the recipient. Follow standard business letter format, as even a motivation letter is still a business style letter. Use double-spacing between paragraphs, with a clean, readable in 10 to 12-point font, and a one-inch margin all the way around. Also, make sure to download it in the same format as your cover letters and resume along with matching the fonts and styles. Letters are most commonly submitted as PDFs, but hiring managers may request it in a Word document, plain text, or another format; check the requirements in the posting to make sure.
Check out these resources if you are looking for just the right way to impress a hiring manager with your enthusiasm about a position:
While a motivation letter focuses on your future goals, current motivations, and past achievements, a cover letter is a document attached to your resume to provide extra information about your work experience and skills. Consider these cover letter templates if you need inspiration for a cover letter.
Yes, you should tailor your letter of motivation to each job application. This will increase your chances of success greatly. Look over the job description and the company website, and gear your letter to emphasize aspects of the company that excites you, and ways in which you can contribute.
Yes, when effectively deployed and well written, a motivation letter can help you secure a new job similar to how a cover letter would. However, the motivation letter is best used when you want to make a more personal connection with a potential employer without necessarily having the direct experience they’re looking for.
Sometimes the candidacy for a scholarship, academic program, or even certain company positions have such a wealth of qualified applicants that you may have to submit supplementary material to really show your interest in the particular school or company that you want to be a part of. This is where the motivation letter comes into play as its purpose is to express your interest and what particular skill and qualifications you possess that would benefit the institution. This can be an especially important tool if you don’t have a lot of direct experience in your field but meet and exceed the education requirements or have a strong network connection, as your motivation letter will be able to express more interest than just sending a resume.
A motivation letter offers you the chance to demonstrate your uniqueness and what drives you and acts as a way to demonstrate your commitment. To do this, you need to use a less formal style of writing and outline your personal ambitions in an engaging and creative way. This is where you need to make a personal connection to the reader by discussing what the opportunity at this company would mean for your career progress, as well as how aligned you are with the company or organization’s values.
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