Last Updated on January 7, 2021
Writing the perfect Motivation Letter, whether it’s for a job application, scholarship or University admission, can be challenging.
That’s why I created this, as sort of a reference guide, for you to use when wondering, “How do I write the perfect motivational letter?” Please refer back to this guide for the best tips and advice when writing your professional motivation letter.
What is the Motivation Letter?
The letter of motivation is your introductory one-page document attached to your resume. A motivation letter is considered as a 20 seconds read which introduces you to the recruiters and convince them to look further into your documents for consideration of a job or scholarship or admission.
It’s important to keep your motivation letter within one page (unless requirements state otherwise). Recruiters, university admission officials, and managers only spend about 20 seconds to assess each motivation letter on an average.
With only 20 seconds to impress, you must keep your motivation letter short and direct. There are templates that can be found and used to help you write your motivation letter for scholarship/Job but remember that recruiters/managers want to know that their job/company is of high importance to you.
Therefore, use caution when using guides or motivation letter templates, these give off the impression that you copy and pasted the same letter to multiple entries/openings.
Your motivational letter is your only chance to show skills you’ve got what it takes to be accepted for a job or to be awarded a scholarship.
The motivational letter is your only chance to prove yourself. You need to highlight your strengths, present yourself as a highly motivated and capable applicant.
A professional Motivation letter must include the following 7 things:
- Your name and contact details (best way to get a hold of you)
- The name of the company or University you are applying to and its address
- The date
- Dear Sir/Madam (directly address the person/manager/hiring director if it’s known)
- The body of the paper
- Signature (signed with a pen, not typed format)
How to write a Motivation Letter?
There are 2 ways in which you can structure the content in your motivational letter:
- You can write it with three paragraphs (an introduction, a body, and a conclusion)
- You can write up to seven paragraphs, each around 3 sentences, that contain clear and concise information regarding the position you are applying for.
Whether you chose the first structure, or the second structure mentioned above, you will use the same 3 steps to focus and direct your letter. Using these 3 steps will increase your chances of getting an interview.
Step #1: Identify, what an ideal candidate be like as their criteria
As I mentioned earlier, it is important to make the recruiter, company or admission office feel highly important.
Research the company or position you are applying to. Find out why they need the position filled. What problem or issue is the company facing?
What are they trying to fix by having the position filled? Knowing this information allows you to express your awareness of their problem, gaining the recruiter’s and any reader’s attention immediately.
Step #2: Offer the solution
No matter what challenge you discover they are having, the answer to their problem is always the same. And that answer is and must be YOU.
Elaborating on why you are the solution to their current problem is the most effective way to be selected or awarded for the position.
State all of the relevant information you can think of – your skills, your achievements, and all of the education you’ve had – that tells them you’re the right candidate.
Tell them what they would be gaining by hiring you and what they would be missing out on if they don’t.
Step #3: Close with confidence
Up to this point, you’ve shown passion and hard work. Now, you need to end your motivational letter in confidence. Close with something similar to this:
“I know I could be of great help to your company/department. When can I start?”
Motivation Letter Writing Tips
1. The Introduction
As the famous saying goes, you don’t get two chances to make a first impression. This is why writing a great introduction to your motivation letter is important.
You should use the first paragraph of the motivation letter to introduce yourself to the recipient. It’s best to address the recipient by name, if possible because this will make your letter feel more personal and the recipient is more likely to pay attention to it.
The key to writing a successful introduction is to encourage the recipient to keep reading and stick around for the end. Therefore, you should mention some of your achievements.
2. Be Professional
While you are encouraged to add a personal touch to the motivational letter, you should remember that this is a professional writer.
And a very important one that determines your future. This is not a quick e-mail back to an old friend, signed with your first name. This writing requires a business format.
3. Do Your Research
Research the university you’re interested in. What are the core values of the university? What is its mission and vision statement?
What’s their graduation rate? If you’re writing a motivational letter for entrance into a certain program, then research that program in depth.
After you’ve researched, incorporate some of the information you found into your motivational letter. Showing that you’ve put the time in to do some research is impressive and it goes a long way in the acceptance process.
4. Promote Yourself
Sit down with a pen and notepad and try to come up with a list of things that make you unique. Why should you be accepted?
What makes you stand out? How are you different from everyone else? It’s crucial that you mention you’re a fast learner and a hard worker.
Tell them about your great work ethics. Say that you’re a positive and upbeat person. Go ahead and let them know the last time you helped out in the community or did some volunteer work.
The Admission’s Board is reading and filtering through hundreds, or maybe even thousands of these letters, so you want them to read everything they can about you before moving on to the next letter.
5. Outline First
Before writing your first draft, create a detailed outline for your motivational letter to follow. Include the research section (mentioned above) and the list that makes you unique (also mentioned above), but also include answers to important questions that are specific to your motivational letter.
The questions listed below are the most commonly used and answered when writing a motivational letter.
A Motivation Letter outline includes the following questions while writing a draft:
- Who are you and what are you applying for?
- Why did you choose this University/degree/program?
- How did you hear about this University/degree/program?
- Why should you be accepted/considered to this University and/or program?
- What makes you a good candidate?
- What life experiences have prepared you for this University/degree/program?
- What work experiences have prepared you for this University /degree/program?
- What qualities do you have? What skills or qualifications do you have?
6. Stretch It Out
After writing your first Motivation Letter Draft, get up and stretch. Make a pot of coffee. Turn on some music and forget about writing for a minute. The purpose of this is to re-direct your mind and let it recalibrate.
A good rule of thumb is to break for a couple of minutes, every thirty minutes to an hour of working. Not giving your mind a much-needed break is just setting yourself up for writer’s block.
7. Proofread It
I can’t stress enough how important proofreading is. You should try and implement proofreading in any official document that you write, especially a motivation letter that is going to play an important role in helping you get successfully accepted into the scholarship program that you always dreamed about.
Proofreading your motivation letter will make it look concise and professional. The recipient is more than likely going to be annoyed if he/she notices grammar mistakes and here is where proofreading comes in to save the day.
A useful tip here is to ask a trusted friend or colleague to proofread the motivation letter because they will have an easier time spotting mistakes because they weren’t the ones who wrote it.
8. Do Not Force Humor
Even though it may seem like a good idea to try and write a funny joke in your motivation letter because it’s going to bring a smile on the recipient’s face, this is not a good idea.
The whole purpose of a motivation letter is to be professional and to show the recipient what makes you stand out from all the other applicants.
Trying to be humorous in your motivation letter can go bad because you can never know how well the recipient will react to the jokes.
People don’t find funny the same things and this is why it’s always best to be professional and stick to the point.
Instead of forcing humor, you should try and keep things positive and interesting all throughout the letter so that the recipient is hooked.
9. Spruce It Up
Nobody gets the first rough draft perfect, think again. Look over your rough draft multiple times. Once you’re truly satisfied, make sure it looks professional.
What font and size are you using? Is it easy to read? Make sure the font is a universal used font, like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.
Don’t write in a size smaller than 12. Does your letter fit on one page? Having your motivational letter as one page (unless requirements state otherwise) is extremely important.
It makes reading your letter easier. And having more than one page makes your letter seem and feel overwhelming to applicant readers.
We scholarship fellow mentors always recommend you to write Motivation letter or letter of interest by yourself but for some students who still face stumbling blocks in writing it can use below Motivational Letter Template:
Example of Motivation Letter for Scholarship
Download: Motivation Letter sample