Not just a Fashion Accessory for your CV: Writing a Motivation Letter
A lot has been written about motivation letters and how to write them. All this attention is certainly due to the fact that a motivation letter is your personal presentation about why an employer should hire exactly you. The motivation letter is not just a fashion accessory for your CV, it is your chance to stand out from the crowd.
While you are reading the tips and hints given here or at other sources, just keep in mind that there isn’t such a thing as a perfect template. A motivation letter should be authentic and highlight your personal skills and strengths relevant for the position you are applying for.
How to start?
Before you even start with the writing process, read the job post carefully. You should be aware of the job requirements and how you want to convince the reader that you fulfill them. What kind of knowledge and experience do you already have in order to meet the indicated expectations? You certainly have a lot of strengths but which are relevant for this particular role?
After you have an idea of the things you want to stress in your letter, make sure that your motivation letter has the correct format. The preferred format might differ slightly from country to country, so try to look for some samples online – there are plenty of them.
What should be included?
While writing the motivation letter you should keep the employers perspective in mind. In the letter itself you should always include the following information:
1) Your Contact information (name, address, telephone number, email address) as well as the recipient’s contact information (if known) and organizations name and address
3) The date
4) Reference Line: indicating the purpose of the letter
5) Salutation: If you know the name of the person hiring you, then address the letter directly to this person. Otherwise you may address your letter using “Dear Sir or Madam”
6) Content: usually 3 paragraphs – find more information below
7) Closing and Signature: Use “Sincerely” to close your letter.
8) Enclosure: Indicate any enclosures such as CV and certificates, and/or reference letters by writing “Encl.” and the name/type of document attached.
What to write?
A motivation letter usually includes three to four paragraphs:
1) Introduction: Make clear who you are and why you are sending this letter. You should also refer to the position you are applying for – this can be the specific job title or – in case you send a letter of inquiry – the position/department you are interested in.
2) Main part: This part consists of either one or 2 paragraphs indicating why you are the best fit for the position. Why do you want to work for the employer and what benefits will the employer gain from hiring you? You should clearly describe your strengths, skills and experience and relate them to the job description. It’s very important that you do not just repeat what is already on your CV. Be specific and emphasize the most relevant information.
3) Conclusion: In the last paragraph you should express your willingness to be interviewed and thank the reader for his/her consideration.
The Guardian provides some examples of letters from various fields of work. Never copy a motivation letter. The title already tells us what it actually is about: the reader wants to hear/read about your personal motivation. Stay authentic – people will notice and reward it.