How to Write a Motivation Letter in 2023: Full Guide, Tips & Template
A perfectly written resume is enhanced with an articulate and personalized motivation letter. While some call this document a cover letter, its true intent is indeed to motivate the recipient into the action of contacting you for a job interview. This makes it different from a cover letter.
While a well-written letter of motivation can positively impact your job-seeking opportunities, a poorly written one can instantly disqualify you from candidacy. In the information below, we're going to teach you how to write a motivational letter. Our team of professional writers has drafted a motivation letter example for a job application for you to review.
So – if you're curious to discover what is a motivational letter and how to write them correctly, this article will serve as your guide. Let's get started.
What is a Motivational Letter?
There are many ways of articulating your qualifications for a job in your resume and in person. However, many professional positions and continuing education admissions are improved when the candidate submits a motivational letter.
The motivational letter is a single-page document drafted to serve as a closing argument or your opportunity to prove why you are the best candidate for a specific position. It's often submitted in conjunction with an application and/or resume. However, some situations will require an application letter to be submitted.
- Most letters of this sort are submitted to decision-makers vs. recruiters and support the following situations.
- You are applying for admission to a higher education program (including bachelor’s, master’s degree, graduate, and postgraduate).
- You are applying to work for a company serving in a leadership role.
- You are applying to work as a volunteer or intern for a non-profit, company, or other organization.
Why Motivation Letter Matters for Your Application
Here is an interesting question that many job or educational candidates ponder. What is the intent of the resume and cover letter? It's often assumed that these two documents are submitted as a requirement typically tossed out by the employer. And in some cases, they would be correct.
Suppose the information on your application does not improve their interest. In that case, a generic resume and cover letter without any supporting evidence or enhancements to your application will be useless.
On the other hand, the best motivational letter can be the game-changer you need to nudge your candidacy or college application by receiving that critical interview. Some of the key benefits of writing a motivational letter include:
- Helps You Stand Out: When your motivational letter is personalized, passionate, and convincing, it displays dedication, enthusiasm, attention to detail, and your personality.
- Improves The Decision-Making Process: When you are among a smaller pool of final candidates, the individual with a convincing motivational letter may head to the top of the list.
- Teaches You How to Communicate Effectively: Leaders in all industries are those who can clearly articulate their vision and direction. Learning to write a convincing motivation letter for a job or entrance to college provides an invaluable experience you'll use throughout your career.
What to Include in Your Letter of Motivation?
A solid motivation letter is accomplished through organization, format, and using the appropriate language. While choosing the right descriptive and convincing words to use in any letter is a challenge for most, one item that anyone can accomplish is ensuring all required elements are included.
Your primary goal is to capture the reader’s attention while explaining why you’re the perfect candidate. As such, a successful motivation letter will include five sections.
The Greeting: Attention to detail is a vital skill that can make or break your application. As the letter of motivation is a personalized and convincing cover letter, you should always know the company name or title of your recipient. The generic Dear Sir/Madam should be used in a cover letter – not a motivational one.
*Tip – if you don't know the recipient's name, address their job titles, such as Dear Admissions Director or Dear Hiring Manager.
Introduction: This will be the first paragraph of your letter – and the best shot you have at capturing their attention. In the introduction, your primary goal is to introduce your candidacy, some of your key attributes, and what you will accomplish in the body of the letter. Consider this your opening argument if you were a lawyer in a courtroom.
Body: This section allows you to sell the sizzle, not the steak. The body paragraph or multiple paragraphs is your chance to highlight your key work experience, accomplishments, skills, and interpersonal abilities that separate you from other candidates.
While you want to sound knowledgeable, confident, and able to eclipse any hurdle, you also have an excellent opportunity to showcase humility. In the body, be transparent about some of the common hurdles you may encounter – and how your skills and experience prepare you to accomplish career goals.
Closing: This is your chance to seal the deal. In the final paragraph, reinforce your desire to retain the position you're applying for – mentioning it by name and specifically with the organization you are contacting. Express your gratitude for having the opportunity to apply, and finally, close it with a powerful and confident statement, such as "I look forward to working with you soon."
Signature: Keep this simple – but it's always great to end a motivational letter with a potent closure. Most people will use the common phrase Sincerely Yours. While this will' work' – try to stand out by using the closing phrase, Kindest Regards – followed by your full legal name.
How to Write a Motivation Letter in 5 Simple Steps: Full 2022 Motivational Letter Guide
Like a strong resume, a good motivation letter takes time to craft. However, by following a proven process, you can mitigate several common mistakes found in most cover or motivational letters of interest.
Noted below is our five-step process that will save you time, ensure quality, and allow you to drive your message home. For purposes of demonstrations, we're going to assume that this candidate is writing these motivational or cover letter samples.
Step #1 – Create an Outline
The best way to ensure all your essential items are included in your letter is to create an outline first. The outline should be formatted by section or broken down into a few primary sections. Here is what we'd recommend for an outline structure for a motivational letter.
Introduction: In this section, list the key items you want to address, including the name of the position you're looking to retain, the name of the organization or company you're applying to, and a long-term goal that you hope to obtain after being accepted.
Body: The body of your letter should be three distinct paragraphs. As such, we recommend creating three bullet points to help structure the flow of your letter. Here are a few points we think you should address in a motivational letter.
- The education or job experience you've completed to help prepare you for this application.
- What skills do you have that will permit you to succeed in this position.
- The hard work, life lessons, or interpersonal skills allow you to excel in this industry or combat any objectives.
Conclusion: The final section of the outline is the conclusion. For the outline, make sure to include the following.
- Thank them for the opportunity to apply for the position (by name).
- Final point as to why you want this position.
- Remind them to contact you with any questions.
Step #2 – Create the Introduction Section
Once you have an outline and you've structured it in such a way to make the letter flow and tell a story from start to finish, it's time to start writing the letter. We'd recommend starting at the top. Take the information or bullet points you've mentioned in the outline, and simply write them in order. Don't focus too hard on picking the perfect words.
Step #3 – Create Each Paragraph of The Body and Conclusion
After you have a rough introduction draft:
- Continue with the body of the letter.
- Again, use those specifics in the bullet points, and write them in an order that helps elevate the story.
- Complete this for each of the three paragraphs in the body of your letter.
- When you've finished the body, do the same with the conclusion.
By the end of this step, you should have a solid rough draft.
Step #4 – Start to Edit the Entire Document
Editing is not as complex as most assume. The key to editing any written piece of content is first defining the audience. What do they want to read, and how do they want those words structured? One way to start the editing process is to double-check to see if there are any required formatting elements that candidates for your position are supposed to follow.
Some organizations, especially professional educators and scholarships, often have a recommended template they want candidates to follow. Other businesses are open to creativity.
For example, suppose you're writing a letter to a hiring manager who was forwarded your resume and application by an assistant who perhaps pre-qualified you as a good candidate. In that case, you can assume they want to know why you're the best among others. This same concept applies to applying for college entrance or a scholarship.
The second step of editing is choosing the right action verbs and adjectives. An excellent resource for this is a thesaurus. If your initial edit includes multiple versions of the same word, use the thesaurus to select a different word that may amplify the point. A great tool that will help you with this is Grammarly.com. The tool will recommend more powerful replacement words if you upgrade to their premium membership.
Finally, once you've proofread your entire letter, are satisfied with its flow structure, and believe it proves a point, edit the complete document through Grammarly. Read the entire letter aloud multiple times – or have the word document read it.
Step 5 – Use a Cover Letter Template to Format the Document
The final step is to ensure that the letter is properly formatted. You can review samples and replicate them with standard word documents, but this is often more challenging than using a professional template.
When your letter is 100% ready to go, use the cover letter template and paste the information into the recommended sections. If you submit your resume along with this motivational letter, choose a template that matches the resume for the letter. This type of attention to detail showcases professionalism.
Motivation Letter vs. Personal Statement: What's the Difference?
A personal statement is essentially an introduction to yourself, skills, education, and interpersonal traits. A motivation latter takes those basics and explains how they are used to receive the position you're applying for and how that opportunity will elevate your career.
A motivation letter is very much recommended for candidates who are looking to enter a college or a specific program, such as an internship, graduate program, or entry-level leadership position. Your letter aims to explain how you'll use this entry position to elevate your career.
Motivation letter vs. cover letter: What's the difference?
It's easy to confuse this document with a standard cover letter. However, while the structure and format are essentially the same, the intent and content within are different in several ways.
- A cover letter is a simple introduction to your candidacy.
- A motivational letter makes an argument and introduces the resume as supporting evidence to prove your point.
- A cover letter is written with a matter-of-fact tone – while a motivational letter infuses passion, confidence, and a call to action.
3 Extra Tips for a Successful Letter of Motivation to Keep in Mind
Writing a motivational letter is challenging, even for a professional writer. However, by following the tips above, we firmly believe you'll have a better chance of creating an engaging and convincing document.
With that said, here are three extra tips to consider.
Tip #1 – Research Your Audience
Suppose you're going to stand out among the competition. In that case, you need to complete the due diligence to understand some facts about your intended audience. Find out who the decision-maker is and personalize the letter to them directly.
Tip #2 – Never Send a Generic Motivational Letter
This type of letter MUST be personalized for specific applications. Even if you're applying for the same position at multiple locations, take time to personalize some sections of the letter, such as contact information, details about their business, and why you'll fit in with their culture.
Tip #3 – Don't Be Afraid to Seek Help
When you're in the position to submit a motivational letter, it might be an excellent investment to have a professional writer help you with picking the proper phrasing, words, and structure. A professional resume writer and motivational letter writer can also infuse keywords, action verbs, and convincing descriptive terms.
Motivation Letter Template
A motivation letter template makes it easy to format the document professionally and quickly. We've created a downloadable and edible template that you can simply copy and paste your edited content into – to streamline the process of creating an engaging letter.
Insert Downloadable Editable Template
Need Help with Your Motivation Letter? Contact Us!
The team at CVMaker.com is staffed by experts in human resources with years of experience in reviewing and writing resumes, cover letters, and motivational content. Contact us today if you have read the article above and believe it makes sense to have a professional writer help create an engaging and convincing motivational letter. We'd be happy to help.
Final points on writing a motivation statement
As you're preparing to apply for scholarships, entrance into college, or that perfect internship and job, having an engaging and captivating letter of interest is a must-have – especially among a talented pool of other candidates.
- Always remember these necessary steps for writing a motivation statement or letter.
- Define your target audience. Make sure you know who will be reading your letter and write it to them.
- Create an outline to structure your letter into five paragraphs.
- Make sure to use the same font throughout the letter.
- Write the letter on plain white paper with black ink.
- Run your letter through Grammarly.com to ensure it's 100% accurate.
If you follow these tips above, you'll be better prepared to write a powerful motivation letter to help you gain that important interview and hopefully land that scholarship, program entrance, or job.
How long should a motivation letter be for a job?
Best practices for writing motivation letters suggest that it should be a single page. It should include five paragraphs, with a dedicated introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. If possible, you should format it like a professional letter and address it to the intended audience by name or title. Finally, a motivation letter should always be customized for each recipient.
What should you not write in a motivational letter?
Several items should not be included in a motivational letter. For starters, keep personal information out of your motivational letters – such as stories about medical conditions, legal issues, or other potentially uncomfortable topics of discussion. You should also emit too many examples of the same supporting argument. Make sure to also keep the content professional and on topic.
How do I write a motivation letter for a university admissions?
A motivation letter for a University admission should be written in a similar five-paragraph format. However, it's a good idea to contact the admissions office to ask them if they have requirements for submitting cover letters, resumes, or supporting documentation. Reviewing previous examples of University admission letters is strongly recommended.
How do I write a motivation letter for a scholarship?
A scholarship is often rewarded to a candidate with the best criteria but also showcases a spirit that the scholarship is targeted to reward. For example, some scholarships are awarded to candidates who have faced personal struggles or certain personal hurdles. As such, always write a scholarship letter to address the qualifications they are seeking.
Is a motivation letter an essay?
No. An essay is typically a longer formatted article that provides the journalistic who, what, where, why, and what format to answer a question or formulate an opinion. A motivation letter is closer to a cover letter for a resume. It explains who you are, what you're applying for, and why you're the best candidate for that job or position.
Is a motivational letter formal or informal?
Both. A motivational letter should be written with a professional – yet conversational tone that showcases some of your interpersonal skills or ability to communicate effectively. It should be written to tell a story, so the article 'reads' well. Using highly complex words might seem 'stuffy.' However, the best advice we can offer here is to write the letter to fit the recipient's tone.
How to start a motivation letter?
A motivational letter should always begin with addressing the letter to the recipient. It should follow a professional letter writing format, where you list the recipient's name and title, address, and location. You should then introduce the letter through a personal notation, such as Dear Dr. Jones vs. the standard To Whom it May Concern.
How long should a Ph.D. motivation letter be?
A Ph.D. motivation letter should follow the required standards the admissions office recommends. In most cases, they will provide an example of what they're looking for from applicants. However, if the school does not provide this information, it's best to use the five-paragraph methodology.
How do I write a motivation letter for an internship with no experience?
A motivation letter or an internship should focus on your skills, abilities, and extra-curricular activities. It's always a great idea to follow a similar introduction, body, and conclusion format for writing any letter of interest where you are seeking an internship. This is applicable whether you have experience or not. For those with experience, expand the letter to four or five paragraphs vs. three.
How to write a motivation letter for Study Abroad?
As you're looking to write a motivation letter to attend a study abroad program, consider the following tips. First, why are you wanting to study in another country? Second, what qualities do you have that will permit you to learn from this experience. Third, what do you hope to gain by studying abroad? And finally, is there any personal reason for choosing this particular country?
How to write a motivation letter for volunteer work?
A volunteer position is sometimes rewarded to limited candidates who fit the mold, culture, and climate of the organization seeking Help. As such, it's always recommended to write the letter in a way that matches the organization's language, keywords, and phrases often used.
META: A motivation letter helps convince decision makers to reward you that job, college entrance, or scholarship interview. Learn how to write one here.